How to Tie Rebars: All You Need to Know

How to Tie Rebars: All You Need to Know

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If you’re new to the construction contracting industry, you may not yet be fully familiar with the delicate processes used to set and secure rebar. While these processes may look simple on the surface, they are actually very important for creating reinforced slabs that can stand up to pressure and the test of time.

In other words, you need to know how to place rebar if you ever want to build a structurally-sound floor or wall out of concrete.

One part of the rebar placement process that is often overlooked involves rebar tying. This process involves using specialized metal wire to secure rebar poles together using a specialized tool.

This guide will cover both the primary rebar tying methods and the rebar tying tools used by professionals today.

4 Common Types of Rebar Ties

Let’s start by the common ways to tie rebars together.

Snap Tie

Snap ties are the first and most common type of “knot” used to secure rebar rods together. They’re used most often because they can be placed and tied off manually, as well as with a rebar tying tool.

Snap ties are also known as “single ties,” primarily because they consist of a single metal strand wrapped horizontally around the target rods. This provides them with a basic level of horizontal support that can be supplemented by a second snap tie in the opposite direction.

Due to their support structure, snap ties are best suited to securing rebar in horizontal structures, such as a foundation.

Rebar Snap Tie

Saddle Tie

Saddle ties also see a lot of use out in the field due to their relatively simple method of application. Specifically, saddle ties are applied by threading a rebar tie wire above and below the rods at a cross point.

This creates a saddle-like form that secures the rods in two directions. This forms also creates a series of “U’s”, which gave rise to a “U” nickname for this method.

While applying a saddle tie is fairly straight forward, it can be challenging to accomplish by hand. As such, a rebar tying tool is recommended for applying this type of tie. If one is used, you can create effective diagonal bonds between rebar rods in most vertical or horizontal structures.

Wrap and Snap Tie

As their name suggests, a wrap and snap tie is a hybrid tie that combines the supportive elements of both the snap and saddle ties.

In practice, this takes the form of a tie that is diagonally tied around one strand and then horizontally around both at once. This effectively imparts the benefits of both tie types while taking just a bit longer to properly place.

Due to their shape, wrap and snap ties can be used in vertical structures, though this is not common. Instead, they see their main use in horizontal surfaces that may be placed under excessive pressure.

In terms of placement, these ties can be applied by hand. That being said, a tying tool will always make that process go faster.

Figure Eight Tie

Figure eight ties are the most time-intensive of the bunch. That’s even the case if you use a purpose-made tie application tool.

But in exchange for your work, you’ll effectively get the most durable and secure rebar tie available to professionals. This increased strength makes it possible for these ties to be used reliably when creating vertical structures.

To a certain extent, a figure eight tie can be seen as a “double” snap tie. However, this understanding is not quite correct. Rather than being two separate ties that overlap, figure eight ties are made from a single wire piece that is wrapped twice around the rebar joint.

This creates more uniformity in the joint while also reducing bulk.

Figure Eight Rebar Tie

3 Tools You Can Use for Tying Rebars

Now that you know the basic types of ties, let’s take a look at what you can use to actually implement them.

Standard Rebar Tying Tool

Rebar Tying Tool When someone asks you for a “rebar tying tool,” they’re typically referring to a streamlined hand tool (like the Makita XRT01TK) that looks a bit like an electric drill. However, instead of an end-mounted chuck, a rebar tying tool features a claw-like end piece from which rebar tying material is extruded.

In action, this tool allows you to place the claw piece over a rebar joint, pull the trigger, and achieve a perfect tie every time.

As you can imagine, this tool has become a bit of an industry-standard because of its overall ease of use.

On its own, this tool can accomplish what a whole manual rebar tie team could do and in half the time. Better yet, it allows an apprentice to accomplish master-level ties without needing to practice endlessly on the jobsite.

These power tools don’t run cheap, but they are a wise investment for anyone who is serious about tying rebar properly.

Twister Tool

Rebar Twister A twister tool (or manual rebar tying tool) can also be useful when trying to attach just a couple of ties at a time. These tools are simply made up of a wood handle out of which an angled hook protrudes.

Using this hook, you’ll manually wrap your ties around the rebar and then cinch them down using the tool for leverage. This can be exhausting work, though, and does require a more complete understanding of tie placement to be performed properly.


Rebar Tying Pliers In a pinch, you may be able to use pliers to tighten down your rebar ties, as well.

This can be done after manually wrapping your rebar rods as desired. Then, with the two resulting loose ends, you can pinch them with the plier and begin twisting. This can add proper tension to the joint. However, much like the twister tool, this method requires a fair bit of time and effort.

If you don’t have pliers, check my recommendations before buying a pair.

How to Tie Rebars: A Step-by-Step Guide

In order to tie rebar by hand, you’ll need to learn the proper technique for application.

To do this, you’ll first want to secure a twister tool as well as a proper gauge of rebar tie wire.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to wrap your rebar using one of the patterns outlined above. With that done, you’ll want to loop the remaining wire onto your hook and begin twisting it down. This should eventually tighten the joint into place.

For a more precise demonstration of this technique, check the video below.


When you get down to it, learning to tie rebar isn’t out of a new construction worker’s grasp.

All it takes is learning the right tools and techniques to get the job done right.

Hopefully, this guide will have started you down that path so that you can be even more useful on future rebar-related projects.