Why Concrete Joints Should Be Sealed
Some hobbyists who are planning to take on a concreting project without the help of an expert may not pay attention to the necessity of sealing the joints, such as expansion or isolation joints, created in that concrete. Such people may not know why it is important to seal those joints. This article discusses some of the dangers of not sealing concrete joints. Use this information to learn why you should seal the joints quickly so that you avert those dangers.
The joints in your concrete may leave some of the steel reinforcement exposed. Such steel is likely to corrode due to the prolonged exposure to air, moisture and different chemicals. The deterioration of such reinforcement can result in the premature failure of that concrete structure once the steel has corroded to a level where the concrete structure is no longer able to perform as expected. For example, the slab can crack if a heavy load is placed upon it when the steel reinforcement has weakened.
The edges of the concrete joints can also deteriorate rapidly if those joints aren't sealed once the concrete cures. This deterioration can be due to several factors, such as the spalling that results when heavy vehicles are driven over the joints. The edges will become increasingly rough as the spalling gets worse. Such rough edges pose safety hazards, such as increasing the risk of falls as people walk over the concrete surface. Edge damage can become so extensive that major repairs may be needed to restore your concrete in that affected area.
Different kinds of concrete joints serve different purposes. For example, contraction joints allow the concrete surface to contract/expand without cracking randomly. Any cracks that eventually develop will be restricted to the area around the contraction joints designed into the concrete structure. However, these contraction joints can be filled by different forms of dirt and debris if they are not filled with a sealing product. The joint will therefore become compacted by these materials until it will no longer be able to do its work. The result is that your concrete structure will be more likely to crack uncontrollably since there will be no gaps to absorb the stresses generated as the structure contracts and expands.
As you can see, failing to seal concrete joints can open the way to many risks. Avoid those risks by working with a concrete expert to select the most appropriate concrete joint sealing product for your project. That expert will also guide you about how and when to seal the joints effectively.