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Q: Tim, I’m flummoxed. I’m about to build a large detached garage. The plans call for a 10-inch-thick by 20-inch-wide poured concrete footing with two 1/2-inch steel bars that run continuously in the concrete. One bidding contractor says this steel is a waste of time and money, while another suggests I upgrade to 5/8-inch steel reinforcing rods. Who’s right? What would you do? What does the steel do? How would you install it if this was your job? I don’t want to make a bad decision here. —Sandra P., Ann Arbor, Mich.

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