Should Concrete Control Joints Be Caulked?
The greatest threat to the satisfactory appearance of concrete and durability of a concrete slab is weather damage since concrete being a porous material absorbs water easily. This absorbed water can result in internal pressure and cracks by getting frozen up.
This circumstance is referred to as the freeze-thaw cycle. Concrete slabs having water under it can also get damaged with due time, as voids are formed in the weak unsupported areas of concrete which due course of time cracks.
Cleaning and then sealing of concrete is very important to preserve the beauty of the slab and resist the occurrence of cracks. But caulking control joints is similarly crucial and many times is overlooked.
Caulking the cracks and joints of your concrete is the best way to resist water from entering under the slab. It will help to prevent the entry and set of dust, organic material, and pollutants inside the joints.
Also, Read: What Is Grade Beam
Why You Should Chaulk Concrete Control Joints?
Concrete undergoes expansion and contraction due to the above-mentioned reasons which can lead to the occurrence of cracks in random areas. The control joints will release the pressure and prevent cracks.
Since the control joints are gaping between concrete sections, they are more vulnerable to a gathering of debris, growth of weeds or collect water. The control joints are the gaps that will advance to the earth, from there growth of weeds, mold, fungus, and bacteria can occur, and water will penetrate into the soil.
If joints are not sealed with caulk can result in various problems, some of which are:
The main reason by far for concrete damage is water. The damage is generated because of the freeze-thaw cycle as well as water invading under-neath the slab. If it is allowed that moisture enters control joints, then it can drain under the slab, which can with the passage of time affect the slab’s stability, resulting in heaves or crack.
Concrete being porous absorbs water, which can freeze. The water that has frozen expands resulting in immense force on concrete. If the force is large the concrete will crack.
Water invading under-neath the slab also affects the soil. It leads to erosion of the soil which is quite dangerous.
Unsealed control joints will result in the filling of debris in the gap. This can cause various problems. Organic material will cause moss, bacteria, and mold with the passage of time.
Caulking of the control joints will help prevent the entry of debris growth of dirt and other organic materials.
Weeds & Grasses are another big problems caused by unsealed control joints. A good thick base lay will also not prevent them from occurring.
Also, Read: What Is Pier and Beam Foundation
Joint Caulking Vs Filling
Joint caulking and caulking have a huge difference in them. Caulking with the use of high-quality concrete caulk is recommended rather than filling the gaps.
It is executed using self-leveling caulk. This type of caulk should be preferred use to seal control joints against moisture and other destructive materials. It is preferred for exterior concrete joints, but at the same time can also be used for interior concrete joints.
Caulk is best suited for exterior purposes, as being flexible can counteract environmental changes, and perform well in numerous conditions.
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How to Caulk Concrete Control Joints?
The right type of caulk is to be chosen for the job. One that is self-leveling and flexible is to be bought. Though it will cost a bit high the work will be quite effective. Non-self-leveling caulk can be quite messy.
The list of materials & tools that will be required is as follows:
- Cleaning Supplies.
- A Caulk Gun.
- Hose or Pressure Washer.
Silicone or polyurethane-based caulk is recommended to be used to seal the concrete control joints. Both of them are quite durable and flexible in nature.
Silicon will last for a longer time than polyurethane since silicon has a better capacity to prevent degradation. While silicon is harder to work with.
A good quality caulk gun having a pressure release button is to be used. In the absence of the release, caulk will continue to shoot out the tip of the gun after the handle has been released. This would lead to mess around the concrete and the worker.