Rebar-short for reinforcement bar, is used as a method of concrete construction to help increase the tensile strength of the concrete structure.  As we explain how to find rebar in concrete, you will read that avoiding damages to rebar in concrete is avoidable if the necessary precautions are taken.

Why you need to locate rebar in concrete before cutting or drilling?

Safety is everyone’s responsibility when performing construction projects of any type. Damaging rebar during core drilling or saw cutting activities can cause structural integrity problems within the concrete slab.  Damages can vary in nature depending on the number of rebar reinforcement that are damaged.  From small hair line cracks in the concrete to complete slab failures, it is a best practice to locate and miss all rebar in concrete to avoid any potential issues.

What is the best method for locating rebar in concrete?

how to find rebar in concrete

Currently there are several methods that can be used to find rebar in concrete. Concrete x-ray, Ferroscan, Metal detector, and ground penetrating radar(GPR) are the primary options.  While each of the previous methods has advantages and disadvantages, currently the most widely used option in the construction field is ground penetrating radar concrete scanning. GPR has the advantage of producing real time results, allowing a project to not be delayed as can be the case with a concrete xray. Since ground penetrating radar produces real time results, changes to a project layout of drilling or saw cutting activities can be made immediately. With the ability to provide accurate results coupled with affordability and flexibility on site, the majority of contractors are choosing GPR concrete scanning as their preferred method of rebar locating.

Can ground penetrating radar only locate rebar in concrete foundations?

No, ground penetrating radar concrete rebar scanning can be performed on CMU walls, suspended concrete slabs, concrete piers, concrete footers, as well as concrete foundations. Basically, anything made of concrete type materials can be scanned with GPR..even hollow core precast panels can be scanned for reinforcement.  The GPR technician on site may just need to make a few changes to the dielectric constant of our SIR3000 equipment to correct for the different concrete densities and varied speeds with which the radar moves through the concrete.

What information can ground penetrating radar determine about rebar in concrete? 

concrete location marking

GPR concrete imaging can reveal the number of rebar in a given area. GPR rebar scanning can also pinpoint the location of the bars within the concrete slab, and can even relay approximate depth information to the contractor. Providing approximate rebar depths can greatly aid a contractor. For example, if a concrete rebar scan reveals rebar at a depth of 5 inches for a contractor that is installing anchors that only penetrate 2 inches into the slab, the contractor can speed up their production without fear of damaging any existing rebar within the slab.

In what applications can GPR rebar scanning be used? 

Anytime a penetration is made into a concrete surface, a ground penetrating radar concrete rebar scan should be performed.  There are typically three types of concrete penetrations: coring (using circular diamond bit similar to a hole saw for a door knob), saw cutting and drilling (usually smaller hole diameters up to 1”, very similar to a regular drill bit).  GPR concrete rebar scanning can be used on commercial tenant improvement projects, residential remodeling projects, high rise hospital and office space projects, bridge inspections, verifying rebar placement for masonry walls, verifying rebar in swimming pool construction, foundation repairs, and construction deficiency cases to name a few.

What is the cost of having rebar located in concrete? 

Sunset Tunnel markout

There are several factors that go into determining pricing, you will need to know the size of the area(s) you will intend to have scanned, and the number of core drill locations needed.  Additionally, where the scanning will take place plays a role in the pricing as well. Scanning overhead on a lift can be a slower process when compared to scanning on a concrete floor. These factors, along with factoring in night or weekend work, and whether your project is in the main service city of the contractor, all contribute to determining the cost of a rebar scan. When compared to fees for correcting damages caused by rebar strikes, the cost of ground penetrating radar rebar locating will easily pay for itself on every site, not to mention the peace of mind in keeping your team safe by avoiding potential concrete slab issues. As an added bonus, we often find hidden conduits in the concrete during a rebar scan that can cause major repair costs and possible injuries if not located properly.

Looking to have a concrete rebar scan performed on an upcoming project?

Call Encompass Inspections today! Encompass Inspections offers nationwide service technicians, backed by the experience of performing thousands of GPR concrete scans each year. Trust the professionals at Encompass Inspections. Founded in 2010, our service record has stood out as industry leaders in the concrete imaging and utility locating fields.  Encompass Inspections has been entrusted to perform our services at the most high profile projects across the US, ranging from hospitals, to casinos, to major airports and government projects. Our notable clients have included projects for Disneyland, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Coca-Cola and many others.  For a complete look at our past project highlights please visit our past projects page.  If you would like to receive a price quote or to schedule a local technician in your area, please visit our contact us page.


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