During the course of building a structure, small spaces may be left in between construction elements where building materials meet. These spaces are called expansion joints, and they are there to allow the materials to expand and contract due to environmental changes. This prevents the materials from breaking or buckling under pressure.
While expansion joints are often necessary, there are also several disadvantages to their use. The small space in the joints collects dirt, grime, and debris, and also moisture which could cause structure damage. The solution to these problems is the use of expansion joint sealant.
Joint expansion sealant is used to fill these spaces. This prevents them from collecting debris which could create structural issues, and also waterproofs the joints. At the same time, the sealant allows the joints to expand and contract as they normally would, without itself separating. These unique properties are usually accomplished with the use of silicone gels and low viscosity epoxy resins. Sometimes a backing material such as foam or rubber may be inserted into the joint before the sealant to provide additional support. Wood or cork strips are also used for sealing expansion joints in some cases. However, the drawbacks to this approach are that they are more difficult to install and maintain, and don’t have the same durability that gel sealants.
About Consolidated Coatings Inc.
Consolidated Coatings is a full service building restoration contractor operating in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Since 1979, we’ve provided professional restoration of commercial, industrial, and historic buildings across a range of disciplines. These include masonry restoration, concrete restoration, industrial and floor coatings, EIFS, and waterproofing. Follow us on our blog for weekly posts on industry-related topics. If you have any questions, please contact us at 410-574-6504.