Concrete Slab with Fiber Mesh or Wire Mesh Reinforcement []


I enjoy your show. I am planing on having a patio put in. I want to do all that I can to help it not crack. The installer said he would use Fiber mesh cement. Would it be a good idea to also use that reinforceing wire along with this Fiber mesh cement and should he also put what they call those soft cuttings in it too? The patio would be approximately 11 by 12 in size. Will appreciate your answer.


I advise welded wire fabric (6x6x10x10 mesh – 6″x6″ pattern with #10 gauge wire both directions), low slump concrete which means poured pretty dry (not a lot of water mixed in), 3,000 psi concrete, air entrained (little air bubbles in the cured concrete allowing water freeze expansion to fill the air bubbles instead of expanding inside the concrete causing stress), and soft cuttings (meaning weakening the concrete with tools in a straight line inviting the concrete to crack in a predetermined, usually straight, line when it cracks.

Better yet is to use both the steel rebar with the fiber mesh. The rebar is placed where loads are heavy like at the drive curb near the street where heavy trucks might turn into your drive. also put the rebar in the other heavy load areas like down the driveway for extra support. The fiber mesh strengthens the concrete and the steel rebar reinforces the extra load areas.

All concrete cracks. All concrete shrinks. Soft cuts allow the installer to plan the event rather than have some random, angled crack which looks like a mistake. You can add the fiber mesh too for added insurance and it will strengthen the slab. I would rather you use the wire mesh, low slump concrete, and soft cuts. Your 12×12 is pretty small for more than this.

Fiber mesh can adversely affect the finish depending on whether you want a swirl finish, boom finish or exposed aggregate stone finish. The fiber mesh is good stuff but can stick up above the concrete surface and look fuzzy. This causes the finisher to try to finish a fuzzy blanket and makes the finish more difficult to achieve.

I suggest you invest in a 4″ crushed stone, compacted base under the slab. This is the true strength of any pavement. If the sub-grade or rock under the slab is done correctly … then the concrete behaves solidly. Many homeowners worry about the concrete, which is the skin, and miss the opportunity to make the crushed stone base (structure) the solid structure beneath the slab (skin).

It sounds like you have some pretty good advise coming from your concrete installer. Ask about these things and I believe you will come to a good result. Remember … all concrete cracks …. soft cuts define where they crack. For a 12×12 exterior slab …I advise 4″ of compacted stone sub-grade, wire mesh, no fiber, low slump concrete, air entrained, 3,000 psi mix, and soft cuts creating a four-square pattern. The slab will definitely crack on the four-square lines but you will have done all you could. The rest is up to mother nature. Good luck. I wish you many wonderful times enjoying your new concrete space.

  • Olubusayo

    a tennis court was made and it is cracking, and it was undulating, kindly give information on what to do. Thanks

    • The failure of the surface usually indicates there’s a failure under it. Removing it entirely and starting over with a properly compacted base may be, in the long run, the most cost-effective solution, for any surface corrections will ultimately fail. Please have a concrete professional analyze the tennis court for the best solution.

  • Craig

    I have a guy who is looking to install concrete in my 18×18 garage/shed. I will be used as my work shed and no cars will be parked in it. Maybe 2 motorcycles down the road. He said he would use fiber mesh and not wire mesh or rebar. Is this safe to do or should I tell him I want more reinforcement?

    • Fiber Mesh helps keep the concrete from cracking while it’s curing. is ok but does more to help when curing. We would recommend having welded wire reinforcement grid along with the fiber mesh for your best long-term strength.

  • Bill

    I have similar project and my contractor gives me 2 option. Since our budget is limited. He will do the concrete ee have to choose: 3000psi with no wire mesh. Or wire mesh but with regular concrete. He said the 3000psi much stronger and better option for the long run. What do you take on this? If we do both wire mesh and 3000psi like you had explained as the best solution. Unfortunately our budget cant do it. Please help. Thank you very much

  • Dave

    @ Bill- I’d suggest calling around and getting quotes from other contractors, so you can get better prices for both the wire mesh and 3000psi concrete. Also, like he mentioned above, the base below the concrete, should be properly prepared as well…

  • Paul Bieber

    The best solution is the use of Fibermesh!!! There are several variations of fibers to choose from depending on your desired finish and intended use. Fact is WWF is good if properly positioned in the slab, but Fibermesh fibers are placed in the mix throughout the entire slab to ensure proper placement, reduce plastic shrinkage cracking and provide some residual strength and impact resistance. Check out the website at for more information.

  • Bob

    If you use 6×6 6/6 WWF mesh , which means the wire is size six, a heavier wire and they are spaced six inches apart each way, which means you have a lot of strength from the steel to help keep the concrete from cracking and if it does crack, it won’t come part or separate as the steel will hold it together. Place the steel mesh low in the concrete and if a load is applied to the slab, the steel will be in tension, and the top of the slab will be in compression. The mesh will add a cost of .37 cents a square foot for material but it is worth it.

  • Georgia Boothe

    I found this advice to be very helpful as I get ready to install my own patio. I like your suggestion of using both mesh and rebar. That sounds like it would make for a pretty sturdy base.