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Advantages of Building ICF Walls With Fiberglass Rebar

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Let's explore the advantages of Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) — an alternative to steel rebar that might be able to help you build better!

If you’re an ICF builder, you already know the many advantages ICFs bring to the table, like straightforward installation and a strong, resilient, comfortable and efficient home or building.

But what if we told you that you can make your ICF buildings even stronger, more resistant to corrosive environments and even easier to erect?

In this post, we will walk you through the advantages of fiberglass rebar, Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) Rebar to be exact — which is an alternative to steel rebar that might be able to help you build better. Read on to learn more!

What Is Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer Rebar?

Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer is a type of synthetic reinforcement that has been challenging the market dominance of steel rebar since the 1990s. It’s composed of continuous glass fibers, which are encased in a polymeric resin. 

Advantages of GFRP Over Steel Rebar

Due to its composition, fiberglass rebar offers builders a number of perks. Below, we’ll discuss 3 of the most consequential advantages of GFRP — resistance to corrosion, low weight, and high strength.

1. Full Corrosion Resistance

One major advantage of GFRP reinforcement is its resistance to corrosion. Since GFRP does not contain any iron, it’s inherently corrosion-proof — there’s no possibility of a chemical reaction occurring that would degrade the rebar.

Thus, fiberglass makes an excellent reinforcement material in areas with a high risk of corrosion, such as coastal regions, which are home to over 90 million people in the US and over 11 million Canadians.

2. Lower Weight

Your crews will thank you for this one. Whereas steel rebar has a unit weight of 487 pounds per cubic foot; meanwhile, its GFRP counterpart weighs in at only 131 pounds per cubic foot.

That’s only one third of the weight of steel rebar — a notable advantage if you want your crews to move fast when they’re erecting ICF walls.

Fibers within Fiberglass Rebar (Photo Credit: ICFMA)
Fibers within Fiberglass Rebar (Photo Credit: ICFMA)

3. Greater Strength

If you think that lower unit weight has any impact on GFRP’s strength, think again. GFRP boasts higher tensile and compressive strengths, and greater fatigue strength than steel rebar.

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Tensile Strength

GFRP has a tensile strength of 1275-10,000 MPa — which is more than steel’s 450 MPa.

What’s more, GFRP doesn’t lose any of the tensile strength in extreme temperatures, whereas steel rebar can become brittle in severe cold.

Compressive Strength

GFRP has a slight edge in compressive strength over steel, boasting roughly 550MPa over steel rebar’s 400MPs. This statistic is less significant compared to tensile strength, which is the primary purpose of concrete reinforcement, but still worth mentioning.

Fatigue Strength

Fiberglass rebar has proven to outperform steel in its resistance to cyclic loading (aka fatigue strength). A cyclic load is a load that gets applied and removed over and over again; this type of load can cause rebar to fail, possibly leading to a complete failure of the structural element in which the rebar is present.

An earthquake is a great example of a cyclic load, and a notable cause for concern, since rebar provides the ductility concrete buildings need to withstand seismic forces without collapsing.

And, as tests have shown, Fiberglass rebar is a whopping 20 times more resistant to cyclic loading than steel reinforcement. This property can be a real advantage for buildings located in areas with a notable seismic hazard, like all of the US West Coast, the Pacific Northwest, the St Lawrence River basin, and parts of the US Southeast.

Wrapping It Up

Above, we’ve outlined the key benefits of using GFRP — lower weight, higher strength, and more resistance to corrosion. And there are plenty of others.

With all these benefits, you would be well advised to find a local GFRP supplier and get a Connect with the Logix team for your next ICF project.

Fiberglass rebar in transit
Fiberglass rebar in transit (Photo Credit: ICFMA)

Join the ICFMA At The Canadian Concrete Expo

Join The ICFMA during their conference session, "Fiberglass Rebar in the Insulated Concrete Form Industry", on May 19th at the Canadian Concrete Expo. The ICFMA is proud to support the Canadian Concrete Expo 2022 as a Co-Sponsor and offer you complimentary admission to the show by clicking on the below button.

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