What Rebar to Choose: Fiberglass Rebar vs Steel

The choice of reinforcement materials in the construction industry is crucial as it impacts the overall safety, durability, and costs of the project. The growing popularity of Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymers is down to the superior qualities of composite materials, their cost efficiency, and the sustainability of the manufacturing process.

GFRP rebar manufactured using Composite-Tech’s production lines is in great demand - composite materials continuously supplant steel, particularly in the construction sector. Understanding the differences in properties of steel and FRP rebar will help to make the right choice for specific projects. Let’s dive in.

Rebar Types

Traditionally, steel has been considered the number one choice for reinforcement of concrete structures. With advances in technology and research, new materials, such as fiber-reinforced polymers, have entered the stage. Continuous improvement of FRP characteristics led to the replacement of conventional steel bars used in construction for composite rebar. Let’s explore the properties of both rebar types.

FRP Rebar: Properties

FRP rebar composed of fibers built into a polymer matrix boasts a variety of properties that set it apart as a superior alternative to conventional steel reinforcement in concrete structures.

One of its key advantages is its high resistance to corrosion that makes it particularly suitable for environments prone to moisture, chemicals, or salt, such as coastal areas and industrial sites.

FRP rebar is also significantly lighter than steel, which not only reduces the overall weight of concrete structures but also simplifies transportation and handling.

Despite its lightness, FRP rebar offers impressive tensile strength, greatly enhancing the overall structural integrity and durability of concrete elements.

Additionally, it demonstrates excellent fatigue resistance, ensuring reliable performance under repetitive loading conditions.

Moreover, FRP rebar is non-magnetic and non-conductive, making it ideal for applications that require electromagnetic neutrality, for instance, MRI facilities or power plants.

These properties, along with easy installation and long-term durability, make FRP rebar an optimal choice for contemporary infrastructure projects focused on sustainability and longevity.

Steel Rebar: Properties

Steel rebar is commonly used in reinforced concrete construction to strengthen the integrity of buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure.

Its high tensile strength allows it to absorb and redistribute stress effectively, preventing cracks and structural failures.

Additionally, it is available in various grades and sizes, offering versatility for different engineering requirements.

The ribbed surface of steel rebar ensures a strong joint with concrete, improving the composite action of the reinforced structure.

Despite its susceptibility to corrosion, advancements in coatings and treatments have improved its resistance to environmental influence, extending its lifespan in harsh conditions.

Composite Rebar as an Alternative for Steel Rebar

Composite rebar, increasingly recognized as a viable alternative to traditional steel rebar, offers a host of advantages that address some of the inherent limitations of steel.

FRP is exceptionally resistant to corrosion; hence, it is perfect for use in corrosive environments like marine structures, chemical plants, and areas with high humidity or salt exposure.

Its lightweight nature eases handling and installation, reducing labor costs and improving site safety.

Additionally, composite rebar exhibits high tensile strength and flexibility, ensuring robust performance under load while minimizing the risk of brittle failure.

With excellent fatigue resistance and low thermal conductivity, it contributes to the long-term durability and energy efficiency of reinforced concrete structures.

As sustainability becomes a priority in construction, the use of composite rebar, with its non-corrosive and durable properties, represents a forward-thinking approach to building resilient and enduring infrastructure.

Comparative Analysis: FRP Rebar vs. Steel Rebar







Heat conductivity



Resistance to corrosion



Resistance to heavy load

Possible permanent deformation

No permanent deformation


10 mm, 0.188 kg/ft

¼ of a steel rebar

Tensile strength

450 MPa

1,275 – 10,000 MPa

Compressive strength

400 MPa

550 MPa


Lower initial costs; higher transportation, installation, and maintenance costs; higher overall long-term expenditures

Higher material costs but lower overall long-term costs due to lower transportation, installation, and maintenance costs

How to Choose the Right Rebar Type

Generally, there is no universal “fit-it-all” recommendation as projects and requirements vary significantly. Yet still, consider the following aspects to make the right choice:

Environment. If you plan a project in a marine, coastal, or any other corrosive environment, FRP rebar might be a better option.

Structural requirements. The high structural demands of a project make steel rebar the right choice.

Weight limits. Some projects might have weight limitations and require lightweight reinforcement, so composite rebar should be a preferred option.

Budget and long-term costs. Evaluate the long-term expenditures, including maintenance and replacement costs, particularly for projects in harsh environments. Despite higher upfront costs, composite materials have proved their cost-efficiency in long-term prospects.

Regulatory compliance. For every project make sure that the selected rebar type complies with state/regional/local building codes and regulations.

Benefits of Using Fiberglass Rebar in Modern Construction Projects

Construction is a fast-evolving and very competitive industry. Market participants are always on the lookout for cost- and energy-efficient alternatives to traditional materials. Fiberglass rebars have become a game-changer in the construction sector for several reasons.

First of all, superior strength characteristics. Composite materials can stand up to incredibly heavy loads with no deformation.

Second, much lighter weight facilitates transportation and installation. Savings on manpower and fuel are grand in comparison with traditional steel rebar.

Third, corrosion-resistant qualities ensure higher durability, particularly in humid environments. Add here the composite’s flexibility that allows architects to design complex structures.

And finally, sustainability is one of the crucial factors in the environment-centered world. Reduced carbon footprint, easier recycling, and low-energy consumption manufacturing process make FRP products eco-friendly.

One of the world’s leading manufacturers of FRP rebar production lines, Composite-Tech provides turn-key solutions for manufacturing FRP rebar. Continuously growing demand for composite rebars in the construction sector opens up new market opportunities. In partnership with Composite-Tech businesses can redefine the future prospects through sustainable FRP rebar manufacturing.

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