Helix - Has anyone used it to replace rebar?


Has anyone used this product to replace or reduce the amount of rebar in poured concrete? I'm especially interested in using it in a Faswall application. Engineers from Helix say it meets code. Will the local plan checkers accept it's use without a fight? I'm waiting for structural calculations. In the meantime if you have any experience with it please let me know. Thanks!

Feb 5, 15 11:10 pm

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how do you ensure an even distribution?

Feb 5, 15 11:31 pm  · 

I wasn't familiar with either product but just looked into this - it looks like Helix is used to make a type of fiber reinforced concrete, while Faswall is a kind of masonry unit like concrete block. So essentially you're asking whether the rebar in a masonry wall can be replaced with fiber reinforced concrete. I never heard of that - but it's not something I've looked into either.

This seems like an application that the manufacturers of Helix should have tested. If they haven't, I'd be very reluctant to use it. Are they willing to warrant the whole wall assembly if you use it? That tells you whether they really know it works. Meeting code is an insufficient reassurance.

Feb 5, 15 11:33 pm  · 

Took a quick look at the products on their websites.  The Faswall product looks like it's got rebar running up through each cavity in the blocks.  This ties everything together because they don't use mortar (or lateral reinforcing) in the wall assembly.  It seems it's held together (in some fashion) like FLWs textile blocks.

The helix product seems to be just a type of fiber reinforcing for concrete.  If you used the helix product in a Faswall block,  you'd just have a pile of blocks sitting on a foundation (or a pile of blocks that IS the foundation - even scarier?). I don't think that would replace the rebar going up through the full height of the cavities.

That said, I am not an architect and only a completely insane person would give out "advice" for an untried application of building materials and/or assemblies and potentially open them selves up for liability.

Or at least that's what my dog just told me.  I'll go check to see what the toaster thinks. 

Feb 6, 15 9:32 am  · 
1  · 

I asked "has anyone used this product "? If you haven't then you're not answering my question. Anyway, it's been used before, even distribution is no problem. Never been used in Faswall, that's where I'm going with this. Faswall has space for vertical and horizontal rebar, cores are filled solid with concrete. Trying to eliminate the labor & material costs. I've been speaking with the manufacturer of Helix & they will engineer its use. Once again I was wondering " has anyone used this product"?

Feb 6, 15 10:34 pm  · 

"I'll go check to see what the toaster thinks"

I have no opinion on this product. But this is an interesting conversation.

Feb 7, 15 9:16 am  · 

I might have been misleading in my original post. I apologize. Helix meets code but the application for use in faswall has not been designed yet. Probably wouldn't work. The rebar needs to tie into the footings, otherwise there would be a cold joint. Also, the concrete fill in the Faswall blocks needs to be poured in 4 foot lifts, again, another cold joint. However, we use 4" concrete floor slabs with radiant tubing and a 3" colored topping slab. The 4" slab is where we are looking to lessen or eliminate the rebar. Awaiting Helix engineer's review and our structural engineer's review.

Feb 7, 15 12:21 pm  · 

You might want to visit this site.  Looks to me like you are still going  to need rebar. Based upon height of wall , thickness of wall, and wind speed

Feb 8, 15 10:53 am  · 
Featured Comment

I have used Helix as a replacement for my primary and secondary rebar in numerous projects. Helix micro rebar is a game changer in a litany of different cast in place concrete high performance building solutions. I am presently doing a five story Hilton Garden Inn in Pennsylvania that I was able to remove 100% of the secondary horizontal rebar's and was able to reduce the vertical rebar by two thirds using a hybrid mix of helix and conventional. This hotel I am doing is an ICF hotel, insulated concrete form. With the introduction of helix, this allows me know to pre-penalize 25' - 30 foot continuous ICF walls and set them in place. Prior to helix, you would be forced to install a horizontal rebar at every course level thus not allowing pre-panalization as an option for ICF's. See the YouTube link below, and the other videos of some other projects I am consulting on.

Mike Cleary

Feb 15, 15 10:19 am  · 

Thank you Mike. 

After consulting with the Helix rep and our structural engineer I am very encouraged. We will not be replacing the vertical rebar in the Faswall with Helix, however, we will be using Helix in the footings and poured stem walls. We will place vertical rebar @ 2' on center in the stem walls in order to accept the Faswall. We will use Helix in the concrete slab which will have an integral color and that slab will be our finished floor. We will be practicing on a small garage slab first before we do the 2600 sf residence. The challenge will be to get the local concrete company to use this product and getting the local building department to accept it. Looks like there's lots of documentation to back up our case. Still waiting to find out how much money we can save by building this way. Hoping for a 10% to 20% saving. 

Feb 15, 15 6:46 pm  · 

Got approval from the city to use Helix to replace rebar in 600 sf garage slab. Bid cost with rebar (including labor) $4,000, bid cost with Helix $3,000. Projected savings on our next project, 2600 sf slab on grade approx. $4,000. Submitted engineering calculations from Helix to the Building Department, smooth and easy, no corrections. I've heard CENTEX Builders is now using Helix for its projects. It's cost effective and greener than producing all that rebar. I am not a Helix rep, just an architect looking for better ways to build.

Mar 14, 15 12:49 pm  · 

My opinion on helix. Want it done cheap, you will get cheap. Only thing this does is help hold concrete togther. Doesn't replace rebar. I could show you 8 large slabs with helix. The saw cuts will bigger from 1/8" to 5/16" at it's weakest spot. The other cuts will stay the same. If the cuts bigger, the helix isn't holding. Rebar doesn't stretch. Rebar your slabs and you will have a great outcome.

Oct 21, 16 10:51 am  · 

 You sir are terribly miss guided on this. Helix was developed by the military and the University at Michigan as a structural rebar replacement. It is presently being used to replace rebar in slab on grade, slab on deck, vertical bearing concrete walls, ICF walls, cast in Place walls.  It is the only microfiber that has ACI approvals for structural replacement of rebar. Feel free to reach out to me to discuss if you want me to provide you projects and all  technical back up on the product itself. If you could supply me with the project and contact information of the slab you're talking about that helix is not performing on, I would really like to look into that for you. Thank you, Mike j

Oct 21, 16 11:16 am  · 

Call ACI and ask them about micro rebar and Helix, you'll get a good laugh.

The owner of Helix has been warned to stop using ACI's name to market his product. It is not a replacement for rebar as they market it. It just replaces rebar in some application just like any other fiber out there. Helix is just another steel fiber, and a low quality one.

Sep 11, 21 11:59 pm  · 

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