Concrete structures typically have construction joints, expansion joints, seismic joints, control joints, and settlement joints. These joints allow for some horizontal movement, including the expansion and contraction of concrete in variant temperatures. Without contraction joints, the concrete structure would crack as a result of pressure and temperature changes.
However, the joints are also an avenue for elements like ice and water to sip into the concrete. Water is particularly bad and can cause softening and erosion and widen existing gaps and cracks in the concrete. This may weaken the structure and result in costly repair costs down the line.
Incompressible materials can also cause significant damage if they find their way into the joints. These prevent the effective expansion of the concrete during high temperatures, causing cracks and fissures to develop in the structure.
Thus, concrete joints need to be sealed to prevent moisture penetration. It works even better if you let a well-trained and experienced professional, like Queensland Interior Linings, do it for you.
What is a joint
A joint sealant is a material used to seal joints in concrete and asphalt structures. The sealant blocks water and other unwanted elements from seeping into the concrete. Although protecting the joint is their main purpose, they also move with concrete or asphalt. Generally, sealants are soft and can accommodate the concrete slab’s expansion and contraction cycles.
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Materials used in joint sealing
Sealants are either preformed or liquid. Preformed/compression seals have been around since the ’60s. They don’t usually require field mixing, heating, and curing since they are manufactured in-factory and come ready for installation.
Compression seals experience compression throughout their usable life. Thus, their effectiveness depends on lateral pressure exerted by the seal. As a result principal compound of most preformed sealants is neoprene, a synthetic rubber with excellent rebound pressure under compression.
On the other hand, liquid sealers are made from various materials, including silicone, PVC, and polymeric asphalt. Generally though, they come in two forms; hot-pour liquid sealants and cold-pour liquid sealants. Hot-pour liquid sealants need to be melted on-field during application. They are usually heated to temperatures of 177-240°C for proper application.
Cold-pour liquid sealants don’t require heating during application. Most of these materials have a base ingredient of silicone polymer and come prepackaged and ready for immediate application. Also, the material automatically cures when exposed to air during the application but may present a challenge of its frosty, raining, or when the temperatures fall below the dew point.
During installation, backer rods are installed to prevent the sealant from flowing out of the bottom of a joint. It’s also crucial in determining the shape of the application and optimizing the quantity of the sealant used. Backer rods can be made from the following materials
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Queensland Interior Linings is the best joint sealing contractor serving the Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay, Townsville, Gold Coast, and Brisbane areas. Call us today to book our joint sealing services and get a free quote for your next project.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should consider the elasticity, stiffness, adhesion, cohesion, and weatherability of the sealant material.
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