What Are Expansion, Construction, and Control Joints And… | Kaloutas

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What Are Expansion, Construction, and Control Joints And Why Are They So Important?

Close up of an expansion joint What Are Expansion, Construction, and Control Joints And Why Are They So Important?

A building’s safe­ty and over­all struc­tur­al integri­ty large­ly depend on the resilience of its floor­ing sys­tems. Con­crete floors are com­mon­ly used in com­mer­cial and indus­tri­al set­tings pre­cise­ly because they’re high­ly durable. As durable as con­crete may be, though, it is not duc­tile — under enough pres­sure, con­crete will not bend but rather break at its weak­est points. These cracks can range in depth, length, and width, but if not prop­er­ly con­trolled or account­ed for, they can result in total con­crete failure. 

In order to pre­vent such a fail­ure from occur­ring, con­crete floor­ing sys­tems require ade­quate prepa­ra­tion and spac­ing in the form of joints, which come in three main cat­e­gories: expan­sion, con­struc­tion, and con­trol joints. Let’s break down the dif­fer­ences and impor­tance of expan­sion, con­struc­tion, and con­trol joints.

What to Know About Expan­sion, Con­struc­tion, and Con­trol Joints

Expan­sion Joints

As tem­per­a­tures fluc­tu­ate, con­crete will change in size, shrink­ing with the cold and expand­ing with the heat. A con­crete expan­sion joint is designed to allow for this ther­mal movement/​expansion. Heat exchange isn’t the only threat to con­crete slabs, how­ev­er. Con­crete may also expand and shift as the soil beneath the floor moves. Heavy loads can also put major stress on your floor­ing, forc­ing it to expand side­ways. What­ev­er the case may be, an expan­sion joint is an inten­tion­al­ly pro­duced dynam­ic crack that lets slabs move inde­pen­dent­ly to pre­vent uncon­trolled crack­ing from tak­ing place.

Con­struc­tion Joints

A con­struc­tion joint also helps pre­vent crack­ing caused by con­crete move­ment, but its main focus is on main­tain­ing struc­tur­al integri­ty. Con­struc­tion joints are placed pri­or to the pour­ing of a new con­crete slab next to an already com­plet­ed sec­tion. When sig­nif­i­cant amounts of con­crete can­not be poured at once, the engi­neer will strate­gi­cal­ly break up the pour­ing process to facil­i­tate con­struc­tion. Ulti­mate­ly, con­struc­tion joints help pre­vent pre­ma­ture struc­tur­al fail­ure by allow­ing for some hor­i­zon­tal move­ment and restrict­ing ver­ti­cal and rota­tion­al movement.

Con­trol Joints

Last­ly, a con­trol joint, also called a con­trac­tion joint, is cut into rel­a­tive­ly fresh con­crete in order to con­trol the direc­tion of crack­ing as the slab shrinks over time. By strate­gi­cal­ly plac­ing and spac­ing out these sta­t­ic cracks, the major­i­ty of crack­ing that occurs will take place inside of the con­trol joints them­selves, extend­ing the life and beau­ty of a con­crete floor and increas­ing its durability.

Mak­ing a Joint Effort

Sim­ply put, con­crete floors need to breathe — oth­er­wise, they’ll break down. With­out expan­sion joints, con­struc­tion joints, and con­trol joints, con­crete floors would much more quick­ly buck­le under the var­i­ous envi­ron­men­tal pres­sures they reg­u­lar­ly face, includ­ing changes in tem­per­a­ture and humid­i­ty, heavy machin­ery and loads, soil shift­ing, and more. Though each type of joint serves a unique pur­pose, they work togeth­er to improve the strength and sta­bil­i­ty of a con­crete floor and, as a result, a build­ing as a whole. 

Of course, even if your floors are prop­er­ly out­fit­ted with expan­sion, con­struc­tion, and con­trol joints, con­crete can still crack and expe­ri­ence oth­er forms of dam­age. Con­crete crack repair is one of the many ser­vices offered by Kaloutas, along with joint instal­la­tion and repair, mois­ture mit­i­ga­tion, con­crete pol­ish­ing and coat­ing, and much more.

To learn more about us and all that we do, con­tact us online or give us a call at 9785321414.

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