As a building inspector I’m looking for cracking concrete and exposed rebar wire

While I’m a building inspector these days, I started my path toward this industry as a health department inspector.

I was sent to restaurants and diners in my county to look for health code violations.

While many of the food service companies in this area really care about their products and their customers who eat those products, I saw some of the most terrifying things in my life during my years as a health department inspector. You’d think that my worst stories would involve rats or cockroaches, but it’s the sort of food that people will leave in a walk-in fridge for two weeks before attempting to serve to paying customers that grossed me out the most. I became really jaded with my job one year when I made a huge fuss about a restaurant that nearly killed someone from a food poisoning incident. But that’s not what threw me over the edge, it’s that it was one of dozens of cases happening after I made my initial inspection and filed the appropriate paperwork with the county to shut them down. When they stayed open after the media frenzy, I concluded that there must be decisions being made behind closed doors for less than ethical reasons, so I joined the building inspection department as soon as an opening appeared. Now I inspect cracked concrete and exposed rebar tie wire on old condominium buildings to determine the safety levels of the structure and make recommendations afterward. I have seen some structures made with either galvanized or stainless steel rebar tie wire last much longer than they should given the salty conditions they are exposed to in this environment.

Forming wire made in USA

We’re working in the summer heat with hectic building deadlines right now

I hate working in the hot summer sun with hectic deadlines being imposed on us from upper management.

  • Before I was given a chance to work in the building department, I was on the landscape crew and we would lay sod and plant flowers and shrubs in the yards of the new houses after the building crew finished their work.

We all prefer the winter labor because the temperatures are often in the 40s and 50s during the day when we’re busy at work on the homes we’re all building together. There was a major disruption in building contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic while supply chain shortages and backups forced some contractors to put a halt to previous schedules and deadlines. My state had some pretty heavy pandemic lockdowns and restrictions so I noticed the loss of work immediately when my paycheck suddenly dropped. Thankfully that’s no longer an issue now, but it’s almost worse now that I am under these insane deadlines in the middle of the summer with 90 degree temperatures at bare minimum each day. I am a steel rebar tie wire welder and I can say that my job becomes a living nightmare when I have to do it in weather with 100-plus heat indexes each day. On top of the heat from my welding equipment, the coils of rebar tie wire absorb radiant heat from the sun while they sit out before I’m able to get to them. That means the rebar is already hot before I even get to it with my welding equipment, making the job of installing the rebar wire ties even harder than normal.
rebar tie wire certified domestic

Why use different gauges of rebar wire for different projects?

I thought that I could simply build a loft in my high-ceiling living room with little to no help, but that was a mistaken assumption.

I was told that I could get in a lot of trouble by doing any structural modifications without the proper permits and inspections to insure that the work is being up to code.

That started a discussion with my best friend about what kind of wood I’d be permitted to use if I undertook such a project myself instead of hiring a separate company to do it instead. For instance, do I have to buy expensive two-by-six or two-by-twelve inch boards to make it structurally sound, or can I get away with cheaper two-by-four wooden boards. Those are engineering questions at the end of the day and I realize that I’m definitely not an engineer. It got me thinking about the engineering questions that go into designing and building a large bridge or an apartment building. For instance, the concrete being used for these structures is held together internally by metal rebar that is strategically placed in the right places to keep everything together. If any cracking forms, the rebar tie wire will prevent it from spreading or getting worse. The reason you see these concrete causeways last for decades in coastal areas is because of the type of rebar tie wire used. It’s not just a question about using stainless steel or black annealed rebar wire versus traditional steel because there’s a question of size. There are common sizes like 14 gauge, 16 gauge, and 18 gauge rebar wire coils that can be bought and used for any number of different applications.

16 gauge rebar wire ties

The deck of my new Tiki Bar has reinforced galvanized steel rebar inside

This type of rebar tie wire is resistant to long term corrosion from both salt and moisture

As a new bartender in my early 20s, I had no ambitions to own a business, let alone a beach bar. Back then I just wanted to make enough money to both pay my bills and always have fun with my friends on the weekends and in the hours when I was away from work. My work ethic wasn’t what it is today, that is for sure. I also drank a lot of alcohol both on the job and when I got home, making things even worse for my drive and determination. At one point a friend of mine accidentally died falling asleep on his porch during subzero temperatures one night when he came home from the bar so drunk that he couldn’t manage to unlock his front door. His neighbor saw him slouched down in a ball on his front porch with his keys on the doormat next to him. I was devastated by the news and started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings the next day. While I never completely quit drinking alcohol, I stopped drinking more than a few times a month and dropped the amount of liquor I was consuming by about 90%. After forming a healthier relationship with alcohol, I noticed my work ethic naturally increase. Now I’m proud to say I own a Tiki Bar right on the beach and I just paid to build a brand new concrete deck that is reinforced with galvanized steel rebar tie wire. This type of rebar tie wire is resistant to long term corrosion from both salt and moisture. Compared to non-zinc coated rebar tie wire, the galvanized 14 gauge steel rebar tie wire is supposed to last longer with the least amount of corrosion.

Bar wire made in USA

I like to use old build materials to make new things out of them

I was happy when my uncle said I could have whatever I wanted out of his old workshop.

Since he was moving his equipment to a new facility, he needed to get rid of old metal fittings, piping, PVC, HVAC ducts, wood, wire, rebar, and other various building supplies.

I learned in college how to repurpose old building supplies into new things, especially now that I’m looking to do small home improvements whenever I have the time to set aside for the work. For instance, I took a pile of wood paneling and old sheets of steel sheet metal for HVAC ducts to make a new porch awning for my backyard. It was an exciting project because I wasn’t exactly sure how it would turn out until it was done. I was improvising throughout the project with a few scant ideas lifted from Youtube videos I had watched on the subject. This week I was over at my uncle’s old workshop for the last time to see what he had left, and I was surprised to simply see a few coils of galvanized steel rebar tie wire that he was using to make sidewalks and porches for his handyman side business. He thought they got accidentally thrown away and had already replaced them by the time he saw them hiding behind a large box in the corner. He said I could keep the coils of galvanized rebar tie wire as long as I took them with me that same day. Little did I know, but my uncle was getting rushed out of the old facility by his landlord and needed the space empty by the following morning. Now I can make a metal fence for my front yard like I have always wanted, especially since the galvanized steel rebar tie wire is resistant to rust and corrosion, while also being more flexible than stainless steel.


18 gauge double loop rebar ties

My brother cut corners building his large concrete front porch last year

I was instantly worried because my brother never has brilliant ideas and I knew that the concrete wouldn’t hold with this sort of setup.

My brother has always been the type of person to cut corners in the situations in life where it’s the least conducive. When he was trying to impress one of his employers in his early 20s, he tried to lie about how much work he was completing whenever management was away from the office. Little did he know but he had his computer monitored at all times, meaning they already knew exactly how much time he was spending actually working at his computer and not distracted on his phone. I told him repeatedly that there were no cheat codes to success or money in life, and that he should be really suspicious if anyone ever suggests otherwise. It’s not just with his path of employment or career that he cuts corners, he also does it at home with improvement projects. This past summer he decided that he wanted a huge concrete block front porch like the one our parents’ house had when we were growing up. He said that he came up with a “brilliant idea” to stack cinder blocks and then coat them with a thin layer of concrete on the outside surfaces. I was instantly worried because my brother never has brilliant ideas and I knew that the concrete wouldn’t hold with this sort of setup. You need steel rebar tie wire running through thick concrete structures like porches where the concrete is thicker than six inches. I told him to buy a coil of 14-gauge black annealed steel rebar and a pack of double loop wire ties. He refused and learned the lesson the hard way after his porch failed within a few months of summer rain showers.

Bar wire

Our restaurant struggled to get basic supplies during 2020 and 2021

I work at my parent’s restaurant that has been passed down in our family for three generations now. Despite being a staple of our large coastal community, we struggled like everyone else in the food service industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. At first it started with the forced lockdowns and our unexpected switch to delivery and carry-out business at a time when we had just finished expanding our large indoor dining room. The last thing on my mind in the months leading up to the first lockdown was having to rely on deliveries and take-orders to literally survive, let alone stay in the black for the ensuing 24 months, which proved to be impossible anyway. I would say that we are incredibly lucky to be in the position we are in now to say that we survived the biggest crisis this business has faced since the early 1970s, but not all of the beloved family restaurants in our community shared our fate. Many of us struggled in part from basic supply chain shortages through 2020 and 2021. My brother is a building contractor supplier and struggled to maintain stock of steel rebar tie wire, let alone keeping multiple options available for his regular clients who rely on him to supply them many different kinds and sizes of rebar tie wire. He said it was really hard to find 14 gauge black annealed rebar tie wire for eight months before he had to look at a market on the other side of the country to fulfill orders he had backed up from the year prior. Now he said that the rebar supplies have gone back to levels similar to that of before the pandemic.


Forming wire certified domestic

I’m helping my condo association president with a new concrete sidewalk project

I insisted that the type 304 stainless steel rebar tie wire will ensure the sidewalks last for the longest amount of time possible before cracking and needing to be replaced

I live in a condominium in a fairly small group of buildings. There are six units in each building and we all know each other really well. However, getting the money together for certain projects can be extremely difficult when we are already working with much fewer owners than most other condominium buildings in a five mile radius. If anyone falls behind on payments, that makes it hard to front the money for a new improvement or upgrade like the bike rack that we’ve been promised for the last three years straight. We have to pay for a new painting project and I still don’t understand why it’s supposed to cost all unit owners a thousand dollars each, but at least I don’t have to pay for the sidewalk improvements. I suppose that was covered by the previous owner who sold me this condo a few years ago. The new sidewalks will be concrete and I heard that the condo association was considering a DIY job with no steel rebar tie wire as structural support. I told them that I have a few coils of old stainless steel rebar tie wire that is type 304 and agreed to give it to them for free if they let me help them with the new concrete sidewalks. I insisted that the type 304 stainless steel rebar tie wire will ensure the sidewalks last for the longest amount of time possible before cracking and needing to be replaced. Stainless steel rebar tie wire is also extremely resistant to the corrosion from the salt that is in our oceanic air. I’m glad that they agreed to my suggestions regarding the new concrete sidewalks.

Galvanized Double loop ties