Reinforced concrete is mixed with steel to make it stronger, more durable and less likely to fail. The material is commonly used in buildings to make the structure able to withstand high amounts of stress and weight. Construction workers use reinforced concrete in walls, beams, foundations and columns.
Compared to regular concrete, reinforced concrete has more strength and durability. Because the concrete is fabricated with steel, it's able to withstand high pressure before it becomes damaged or weakened. Much of the stress in a building is transferred to the steel, which takes the pressure off the concrete. This allows reinforced concrete to carry much more weight than regular concrete.
In addition to having additional strength, reinforced concrete is also flexible. During the construction process, the flexibility in reinforced concrete helps the structure take shape and decreases the tension in the foundation. BuildingWithBrick.org writes that the high degree of elasticity in reinforced concrete allows the material to be deformed without worrying about any serious consequences.
One of the major disadvantages of reinforced concrete is the cost involved in the fabrication process. Incorporting steel fibers into a cement mix is very labor intensive, which makes it much more expensive than regular concrete. Workers need to mix, cast and cure the concrete, which can extend the construction process and may force a project to go over budget and behind in schedule.
When compared to steel, reinforced concrete has a low rate of compressive strength. According to AboutCivil.com, the ratio is about 1:10 for reinforced concrete compared to steel. The low rate of compressive strength may cause cracks to develop within the foundation of a building. Cracks are often caused by moisture, which causes the material to expand and shrink, and leads to major problems down the road.