How to Identify Rebar

How to Identify Rebar. Rebar, or reinforcement bar, is primarily used to reinforce structural concrete. It is most commonly used to reinforce concrete in home foundations, commercial buildings and such major structures as highway overpasses. It is relatively easy to visually identify rebar from other metal rods and to determine the type of rebar.

Rebar is used primarily to reinforce structural concrete.

Step 1

Look at the rod in question. Rebar has a distinct appearance. It usually has raised ribs that run the length of the bar to help it bond with concrete. Rebar comes in thicknesses from 3/8 to 2 1/2 inches. Identifying marks are usually stamped in the rebar, denoting the tensile strength of the metal.

Step 2

Test the rigidity of the rod by trying to bend it with your hands or a hammer, or trying to cut it with a hacksaw. Rebar is rough steel made to bend. You can bend a 5-foot length of 1/2-inch rebar with your hands. A short length of rebar sticking out of concrete can be bent with a hammer. You also can cut through rebar relatively easily with a hacksaw.

Step 3

Check for rusting. Rebar is rough steel and rusts easily.

Step 4

Look for stamped letters and numbers on the bar to determine the grade of the rebar.


  • Rebar is a rough metal and may have sharp edges when cut. Handle it with sturdy leather gloves.


  • Rebar-Design: Rebar Design Characteristics
  • Concrete Reinforcing Bar
  • Integrated Publishing: Purposes and Types of Reinforcing Steel