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Rebar Installation Cost Guide

Though it's far more common at large industrial projects, steel reinforcing bar, also known as rebar, plays an important role in residential construction. It’s used to provide secondary structural support and prevent breakdown in concrete applications such as patios and walkways and provide primary support for the overall load in larger structures like retaining walls and foundations. Whether you’re building a new home, putting on an addition or adding an exterior feature to your home, understanding the costs associated with using rebar, including raw materials and installation expenses, is important.

If you just bought new land and are considering rebar, let us help you find a masonry pro near you.

Table of Contents

  1. Rebar Prices
  2. Rebar Cost Factors
  3. Rebar Cost Per Pound
  4. Rebar Cost Per Ton
  5. When to Use Rebar
  6. Types of Steel Bars
  7. How Pros Install Rebar
  8. Find A Pro

Rebar Prices

Rebar prices are subject to the fluctuations of the steel market, which means there is no such thing as an "average" rebar price. The best homeowners can do is look at the historical trends of rebar as a commodity and then get an exact quote from a supplier. Ever since the market crash of 2008 when steel prices skyrocketed, the trend has been downward, with 2016 steel prices at historic lows. For example, the March 2016 average of $409 per metric ton isn’t only far below the record high July 2008 price of $1,203 per metric ton, but it’s also $100 less than it was in April 2015 when the price was $509.

Rebar Cost Factors

Rebar Cost Factors

In addition to market conditions affecting the raw price of steel, other factors specific to a project or a steel reinforcement contractor can impact the final price any homeowner pays for rebar installation. Location of a job, contractor experience and project complexity all increase and decrease prices accordingly.

It’s also important to note that traditional reinforcement contractors’ estimates are based on three factors: man hours needed to install the rebar (calculated using hours needed per pound of material), plus overhead and profit. However, with competition for reinforcement steel jobs increasing, many contractors are also using additional factors to lower a bid and decrease their time on a job. This includes seeking out ways to improve labor productivity such as coordinated hoisting, the strictness of construction timetables and using rebar terminators, which further reinforce steel on their own rather than require additional rebar placement.

Rebar Cost Per Pound

Because of market fluctuations, it’s impossible to give a solid or even average cost of rebar per pound. In fact, during some more competitive periods, price quotes on rebar were so varied that they only lasted an hour before resetting with the market. Furthermore, typically, sellers package rebar by the stick for small residential jobs or by the ton for larger industrial ones. Finally, it’s important to note that different sizes of rebar may weigh more per linear foot than others, making a per-pound estimate misleading because thicker, heavier rebar sticks have prices skewed much higher than thinner, lighter ones even if they’re the same length.

Still, some suppliers will estimate costs-per-pound according to current market conditions. As of July 2016, the price per pound for #3, #4 and #5 rebar from Pacific Industrial was $0.80.

Rebar Cost Per Ton

Rebar Cost Per Ton

Purchasing rebar by the ton is much more common than purchasing it by the pound, but still uncommon in the residential construction business. This is because the most common rebar sizes, #3, #4 and #5, come in bundles of 266, 149.7 and 95.9 20-foot sticks per ton, respectively, which is more than most residential jobs require. Also, like the price per pound, fluctuations in the steel market impact the price of a ton of rebar daily, if not more frequently. Still, the average price contractors pay for a ton of rebar is worth mentioning. For example, in July of 2016, the price per ton of rebar was $648.

When to Use Rebar

For residential construction, rebar is primarily used as structural support and tension in concrete applications. This includes its use as a primary load-bearing support in features such as foundations and retaining walls where it supports steel beams to hold the structure of the wall together. It’s also used as a secondary support source in concrete slabs including patios, foundations and driveways. Here, rebar provides additional support to prevent cracking and caving due to stress, wear and settling over time.

Types of Steel Bars

There are two main types of rebar used in construction: black rebar and epoxy-coated rebar. Black rebar is the more common type used in residential construction because the epoxy coating on the alternate type of rebar is used to make the metal resistant to corrosion in marine-condition structures, such as bridge pillars.

There are also different grades and lengths of rebar, each of which has a different thickness and weight per linear foot. The following table displays the most common rebar grades and the details associated with each:

Rebar Grade

Thickness (inches)

Weight per linear foot (pounds)













How Pros Install Rebar

Rebar installation is an incredibly exact science that should be left to professional steel reinforcement contractors. They have a multi-step process of installation, which includes:

  • Checking for proper bar placement, which includes considering factors such as alignment, ties, ground clearance, supports and more.
  • Reinforcing the bars with welding where necessary.
  • Monitoring concrete placement to make sure the support structure stays in place.
  • Checking all embedded items for legal and safety compliance.
  • Verifying that all rebar is properly cast after concrete placement. 

All of these steps follow a particular formula and require exact measurements and tools. As such, rebar installation isn’t a safe project for the DIYer.

Find A Pro

Find a pro near you who can install and properly oversee the use of rebar in your driveway, foundation, patio or other setting. We can provide you with free quotes from qualified pros located close to home. Click here to get started today.

Last updated on Aug 8, 2016

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