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Why Maintaining Concrete Floor Joints Is Crucial for Your Facility

Concrete floor joint. Why Maintaining Concrete Floor Joints Is Crucial for Your Facility

As a facil­i­ty man­ag­er or own­er, you sure­ly know that floor main­te­nance is vital for safe­ty, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, and legal rea­sons (i.e., com­pli­ance). For facil­i­ties with con­crete floors, tak­ing care of all the joints, includ­ing con­trol joints, is an essen­tial step in pre­vent­ing cost­ly repairs and ensur­ing the over­all health of the flooring.

In this arti­cle, you’ll learn what con­crete floor joints mean, their impor­tance, and com­mon issues with these parts of your con­crete floor. We’ll also cov­er main­te­nance tips, the con­se­quences of neglect­ing joint main­te­nance, and how Kaloutas can help your facility. 

Con­crete Floor Joints and Their Importance

Many indus­tri­al facil­i­ties, com­mer­cial build­ings, and ware­hous­es choose con­crete floor­ing because of its dura­bil­i­ty. How­ev­er, as durable as con­crete may be, it is not inde­struc­tible. It can still suc­cumb to pres­sure and oth­er fac­tors, result­ing in cracks.

Con­trac­tors usu­al­ly sug­gest adding joints when installing con­crete floor­ing. These joints come in dif­fer­ent types, such as expan­sion and con­trol joints. The con­trol joints in con­crete are the most com­mon type of joint. For those ask­ing, What is the pur­pose of con­trol joints in con­crete?” they are designed to con­trol ran­dom crack­ing due to reg­u­lar wear and tear, tem­per­a­ture changes, and shifts in the earth, to name a few. On the oth­er hand, an expan­sion joint enables the con­crete to expand and con­tract with­out affect­ing the flooring. 

By cre­at­ing delib­er­ate spaces between con­crete slabs, con­trac­tors can help ensure the longevi­ty and dura­bil­i­ty of the floor­ing. Hence, the floor is guar­an­teed safe to use in com­mer­cial, indus­tri­al, and res­i­den­tial set­tings. With­out these joints, con­crete floor­ing would be prone to struc­tur­al fail­ure and could require cost­ly repairs or even replacement.

How to Main­tain Con­crete Floor Joints

Con­crete joints serve as a buffer that absorbs the move­ment of the con­crete and pre­vents the for­ma­tion of cracks that may com­pro­mise the integri­ty of the entire struc­ture. Prop­er main­te­nance of con­crete joints is essen­tial to ensure your con­crete floors’ long-term use and durability.

Here are some essen­tial tips on how to main­tain your con­crete joints:

Reg­u­lar Cleaning

Dirt and debris can accu­mu­late in the joints and cause them to clog, pos­si­bly lead­ing to water seep­age and mold growth. Use a stiff-bris­tled brush or a pres­sure wash­er to remove debris or dirt from the joints. Addi­tion­al­ly, make sure that the joints are com­plete­ly dry before seal­ing them.

Caulk the Joints

Caulk­ing con­crete floor joints is an essen­tial part of con­crete floor­ing main­te­nance. It helps elim­i­nate or at least reduce any gaps in the con­crete while retain­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty. Caulk­ing the floor con­trol joint may also help pre­vent water pen­e­tra­tion, which can make the floor sink and become unlev­el. It can help extend the life of the con­crete floor. Sev­er­al sealants are avail­able, includ­ing sil­i­cone, poly­mer, and butyl caulk. Choose one that is appro­pri­ate for your con­crete floor­ing system.

Inspect for Damage

Check­ing your expan­sion and con­trol joint reg­u­lar­ly for any signs of wear and tear helps pre­vent fur­ther dam­age to your floor­ing. Look for spalling or oth­er signs of dam­age at least once a month for heav­i­ly traf­ficked floors with joints in unreg­u­lat­ed tem­per­a­ture areas. For joints in tem­per­a­ture-reg­u­lat­ed areas, a visu­al inspec­tion can be done quar­ter­ly. If you notice any dam­age, call Kaloutas to repair it imme­di­ate­ly to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age to the con­crete floor. Repair­ing con­crete joints typ­i­cal­ly involves fill­ing in the cracks or replac­ing the dam­aged joint entirely.

Repair Dam­aged Joints Promptly

It is cru­cial to fix joint dam­age as soon as pos­si­ble to pre­vent it from caus­ing more prob­lems. Small cracks can be repaired with a joint filler, while more exten­sive dam­age may require a more sig­nif­i­cant repair. Con­sult a floor­ing pro­fes­sion­al to deter­mine the best repair method for your floor­ing system.

Main­tain Prop­er Drainage

Ensure that your facil­i­ty’s drainage sys­tems are func­tion­ing cor­rect­ly and that water drains away from the con­crete floor. If water is allowed to pool around the con­crete joints, it can cause dam­age to the joint and the sur­round­ing con­crete floor.

Floor main­te­nance is not some­thing you can just skip over. If you do, your facil­i­ty is like­ly to face not just oper­a­tional but also legal issues. 

What Hap­pens When You Neglect Joint Maintenance?

Every facil­i­ty man­ag­er and own­er should pay atten­tion to their con­crete floor­ing joints, espe­cial­ly when the floor starts crack­ing. When the con­crete floor starts to break, it indi­cates some­thing is wrong with the joints. 

Even the small­est crack should be tak­en seri­ous­ly because it is like­ly to grow into sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems in your facil­i­ty, affect­ing your oper­a­tions. For exam­ple, these super­fi­cial cracks can lead to uneven con­crete set­tle­ment. If the joints are not prop­er­ly sealed, water can seep in, caus­ing the soil under­neath the con­crete to be unsta­ble. This insta­bil­i­ty can cause the con­crete to set­tle uneven­ly, lead­ing to struc­tur­al issues. 

Anoth­er pos­si­ble prob­lem is joint spalling. This hap­pens when the edges of the joints begin to chip or peel away, expos­ing the under­ly­ing con­crete to the ele­ments. To pre­vent this issue, ensure that the joints are ade­quate­ly sealed and pro­tect­ed from the elements.

The cracks can be cost­ly to fix. But the dam­age caused by neglect­ed joint main­te­nance can go way beyond the repairs required in a facil­i­ty’s phys­i­cal infra­struc­ture. It can extend to the assets with­in the facil­i­ty. For exam­ple, if heavy machin­ery and vehi­cles like fork­lifts use the con­crete floor, the crack could dam­age the vehi­cle’s tires, com­pro­mis­ing their speed and effi­cien­cy. They will have to swerve to avoid these cracks, which can also put them in dan­ger. The fork­lift may top­ple or col­lide with oth­er fork­lifts or infra­struc­ture in the area. 

In addi­tion, bad con­crete is known to dam­age tires. Data from fork­lift deal­ers shows that 50% of tire replace­ments or repairs hap­pen because of dri­ving over dam­aged expan­sion joints in ware­house floors. Tire replace­ments and repairs aren’t cheap, and they often become inel­i­gi­ble for a war­ran­ty when dam­aged because of the above-men­tioned rea­sons. The total amount will undoubt­ed­ly be big­ger than you would pay for facil­i­ty maintenance. 

Since cracked con­crete floors aren’t safe for work­ers, your facil­i­ty may also face legal con­se­quences. The Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Admin­is­tra­tion (OSHA) requires busi­ness­es to main­tain clean and safe sur­faces. So, main­tain­ing the joints of con­crete floors is not some­thing you can choose to ignore. 

Call the Pros

Sim­ply put, con­crete floor joint main­te­nance is some­thing facil­i­ty own­ers and man­agers should nev­er neglect. It should always be a part of your facil­i­ty maintenance.

When it comes to main­tain­ing your facil­i­ty, busi­ness­es should not take any chances. It is always ben­e­fi­cial to leave the job to the experts. Hir­ing experts in con­crete floor joint main­te­nance can help ensure that your con­crete floors are prop­er­ly main­tained and free from issues, such as cracks and uneven surfaces. 

Experts have the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence to iden­ti­fy poten­tial prob­lems and pro­vide effec­tive solu­tions to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age. They can also rec­om­mend the best prod­ucts and tech­niques for main­tain­ing your con­crete floors to extend their lifes­pan and pre­vent cost­ly repairs in the future. By hir­ing experts in con­crete floor joint main­te­nance, you can have peace of mind know­ing that your floors are in good hands and will remain safe and durable for years to come. 

If you are search­ing for experts to fix your cracked con­crete floor and pre­vent the prob­lem in the future, you can count on Kaloutas. Let our experts at Kaloutas inspect, repair, and main­tain your facil­i­ty’s con­crete con­trol joints for stur­dier, safer floors. Call the team today.

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