How Concrete Joint Repair Reduces Maintenance Costs | Kaloutas

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How Concrete Joint Repair Reduces Maintenance Costs

 How Concrete Joint Repair Reduces Maintenance Costs

Have you noticed chip­ping or spalling in your building’s con­crete joints? Rou­tine main­te­nance and time­ly repair are nec­es­sary to pre­vent the prob­lem from wors­en­ing and becom­ing more expen­sive to fix.

Types of Con­crete Joints

Before dis­cussing con­crete joint issues and the impor­tance of time­ly repair, let’s find out what con­crete joints are. 

Con­crete joints are cut in new con­crete floor­ing. In an unpol­ished con­crete floor, joints will appear like lines that sep­a­rate two con­crete slabs or a con­crete slab from sur­round­ing construction. 

For those won­der­ing what the advan­tages of joints are in con­crete, the answer is pre­vent­ing uncon­trolled con­crete crack­ing. Unlike wood, con­crete can­not bend and stretch. When the mate­r­i­al con­tracts and expands because of weath­er con­di­tions, its sur­face will crack under pres­sure. By plac­ing joints in the slab at spe­cif­ic loca­tions, the floor won’t crack eas­i­ly; put sim­ply, it has breath­ing room.

In con­crete slabs, there are sev­er­al types of joints:

  • Con­struc­tion joints, which also func­tion as con­trac­tion joints

  • Con­trac­tion joints, also called con­trol joints

  • Iso­la­tion and expan­sion joints

Con­struc­tion Joints

Con­struc­tion joints are essen­tial­ly screed rails placed dur­ing con­crete pour­ing and fin­ish­ing. They are made using met­al, wood, or plas­tic. With this joint, the con­crete won’t move, allow­ing work­ers to pour the con­crete in steps eas­i­ly and con­trol the place­ment of the slab. If you do the place­ment well, con­struc­tion joints can also serve as con­trac­tion joints.

Con­trac­tion Joints

Con­trac­tion joints are one of the most com­mon­ly used but trou­ble­some types of con­crete joints. 

Fresh con­crete will nat­u­ral­ly cre­ate its own joints or cracks after a while. How­ev­er, the con­crete may crack in areas that will com­pro­mise its struc­tur­al integri­ty. There­fore, con­trac­tors use either a saw or plas­tic strip to force a crack in con­crete at spe­cif­ic loca­tions, called con­trac­tion joints.

Iso­la­tion and Expan­sion Joints

As the name sug­gests, iso­la­tion joints iso­late” the con­crete slab from some­thing else, such as a machine that vibrates. The pur­pose is to pre­vent the slab from crack­ing when the sur­round­ing con­struc­tions move. To cre­ate iso­la­tion joints, con­trac­tors place pre­formed joint mate­r­i­al next to the sur­round­ing con­struc­tion before pour­ing the concrete.

A con­crete expan­sion joint is an extra-wide iso­la­tion joint that pro­vides addi­tion­al pro­tec­tion against blowups in long, unjoint­ed sec­tions or extreme conditions.

Under­stand­ing Con­crete Joint Problems

Con­crete joints also have their weak­ness­es. They can be dam­aged by dust, debris, and mois­ture infil­tra­tion. There­fore, con­trac­tors tend to seal and fill the joints to pro­tect them from the elements.

The seal­ers are soft enough to accom­mo­date the con­trac­tion and expan­sion of the con­crete. They don’t add pres­sure to the joint and even improve the floor’s appear­ance. Fillers are more rigid and hard to the touch but effec­tive­ly pro­vide sup­port and pre­vent debris accu­mu­la­tion in the joint.

How­ev­er, these seals can lose adhe­sion over time. As a result, the joints become more sus­cep­ti­ble to damage.

In indus­tri­al facil­i­ties where con­crete floors are unpro­tect­ed, the biggest threat to joints is impact traf­fic. The joints can also get dam­aged by mate­r­i­al han­dling equip­ment, like carts, scis­sor lifts, and tow motors. You may see the joints chip­ping away or spalling. In lab­o­ra­to­ries, chem­i­cal spills that seep into open joints are also a com­mon cause of joint problems.

The Cost of Ignor­ing Con­crete Joint Repairs

If you’ve noticed issues with your con­crete floor, it is cru­cial to act fast. Oth­er­wise, you will like­ly spend a sig­nif­i­cant amount of mon­ey restor­ing and keep­ing the floor in the best shape.

Joint issues could weak­en your con­crete floor’s integri­ty. Huge cracks in con­crete floor­ing do not crop up overnight. Rather, they start with hair­line cracks that look harm­less. These tiny cracks will serve as an entry point for microor­gan­isms, mois­ture, and oth­er ele­ments that will wors­en the dam­age. Unre­paired tiny cracks will even­tu­al­ly deep­en and widen. As a result, it could threat­en the integri­ty and longevi­ty of your flooring.

Dam­aged joints can be hard on vehi­cles and may even affect your team’s pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Tires and oth­er com­po­nents of an indus­tri­al vehi­cle fre­quent­ly trav­el­ing over dam­aged joints will like­ly devel­op issues over time. Aside from that, vehi­cle oper­a­tors will have to slow down as they approach the joints, ren­der­ing them unable to oper­ate at opti­mum speed and achieve the intend­ed pro­duc­tiv­i­ty rate.

Dam­aged floor­ing can result in com­pli­ance issues. Floor­ing in facil­i­ties must meet stan­dards set by the Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Admin­is­tra­tion (OSHA). One of the gen­er­al require­ments is to keep walk­ing and work­ing sur­faces free of haz­ards. Employ­ers must also fix floor­ing prob­lems that can put employ­ees’ safe­ty at risk.

There­fore, ignor­ing con­crete joint repair may result in com­pli­ance issues. Non-com­pli­ance can dam­age your facility’s rep­u­ta­tion and may incur severe penal­ties. Facil­i­ties will like­ly have to deal with insur­ance claims and oth­er relat­ed expens­es if employ­ees have got­ten into an acci­dent because of the dam­aged flooring.

Joint prob­lems can also cause cost­ly water dam­age. Water can seep through spaces as small as a hair­line crack. Once the liq­uid enters the crack, it is only a mat­ter of time before the sit­u­a­tion becomes a night­mare. Water is one of the lead­ing caus­es of con­crete ero­sion and dete­ri­o­ra­tion. Dam­ages caused by water intru­sion are typ­i­cal­ly cost­ly to fix.

Ben­e­fits of Time­ly Con­crete Joint Repair

It’s tempt­ing to delay con­crete expan­sion joint repair if the dam­age does not seem to pose an imme­di­ate threat. But before you think about putting off the repair, con­sid­er the advan­tages you can reap from doing it now.

One major ben­e­fit of time­ly con­crete joint repair is pre­vent­ing prob­lems from wors­en­ing and sav­ing mon­ey. Minor issues are eas­i­er and cheap­er to fix. For exam­ple, con­trac­tors will like­ly only need to use an indus­tri­al prod­uct with a supe­ri­or bond to fix a minor joint spall. But if you leave it untreat­ed for a long time, the issue may become so bad that it requires a struc­tur­al rebuild.

Fur­ther­more, it’s faster to fix minor con­crete joint prob­lems, so your facil­i­ty will only have to deal with min­i­mal downtime.

Con­crete Joint Repair Techniques

The process of con­crete joint repair depends on the kind and extent of damage.

How­ev­er, con­crete joint repair gen­er­al­ly involves grind­ing the sur­face to make it even. The work­ers will also clear out debris or chipped coat­ing. After­ward, they will use a high-qual­i­ty expan­sion joint filler to recre­ate a smooth and lev­el surface.

Depend­ing on who you hire, the con­trac­tor may also repair or replace the coat­ing on the sur­round­ing floor. With a depend­able joint repair ser­vice, the floor will return to its attrac­tive, beau­ti­ful, and durable condition.

Proac­tive Main­te­nance Strategies

Here are steps your facil­i­ty can take to keep con­crete joints in tip-top shape:

Ensure you keep dirt and debris out of the joint. How­ev­er, you may skip clean­ing if the joints are filled or sealed. Anoth­er thing to do is con­duct reg­u­lar inspec­tions to check whether the exist­ing joint filler is doing its job to main­tain and pro­tect joint edges. If you have wood­en expan­sion joints, main­te­nance may be more chal­leng­ing, so it’s bet­ter to replace them with mod­ern alternatives.

Also, remove water near the joints to pre­vent water dam­age in case the con­crete cracks. If you see weeds or plants grow­ing in expan­sion joints, remove them as well.

Last­ly, if you see a prob­lem with the floor­ing joints, con­tact a trust­ed con­trac­tor to fix them imme­di­ate­ly. Time­ly con­crete joint repair will reduce the costs nec­es­sary to keep your floor­ing in pris­tine condition.

Look­ing for a Con­crete Solution?

Your facility’s con­crete floor­ing is one of its most impor­tant assets. Joints are there to pro­tect these floors, so make sure you’re pro­tect­ing those joints. Ensure com­pli­ance and keep costs low at your facil­i­ty with Kaloutas’ con­crete joint repair services.

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