Concreate, Inc. delivers concrete polishing and custom staining for both commercial and residential projects primarily in Virginia and Maryland (but also up and down the East Coast). We work hand in hand with with designers, architects, project managers, general contractors, tradesmen, and home owners alike from start to finish. We welcome the opportunity to serve your polished concrete needs in every way possible.

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Joint Reconstruction: Why It Matters and How to Do It

Joint Reconstruction: Why It Matters and How to Do It

Perfectly reconstructed concrete joints.

Proper joint reconstruction is crucial for concrete structures’ durability, performance, and safety. Learn everything about it here.

Key Takeaways:

  • Expansion joints can wear down over time
  • You’ll have to repair them when this occurs
  • A couple of repair methods are possible
  • Taking the time to determine the best option can make your project more efficient

Joint reconstruction is critical to maintaining the structural integrity of your concrete floor. During installation, joints are cut into the concrete to absorb vibration, relieve stress, and allow for expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes. 

Without these control joints, the concrete would crack, spall, or shatter, causing extensive and costly damage. However, these joints can fail over time due to wear and tear, damage, or poor installation. 

When this happens, joint repair becomes necessary to maintain the strength and stability of your concrete floor. Several joint repair options are available, depending on the extent of the damage. 

For small cracks and joint failure, joint sealing or joint filler replacement may be all that is needed. If the damage is more significant, joint reconstruction may be necessary. Read on to learn more about joint reconstruction and why it matters.

Why does joint reconstruction matter?

A crack or spalling on the expansion joint might not seem like a big deal, but it can cause extensive damage to your concrete floor. Once the joint fails, water and debris can enter the crack and cause the concrete to deteriorate. The damage will spread as the joint continues to fail, affecting a larger area of your concrete floor. Performing prompt joint reconstruction has several advantages, including:

1. Maintaining the structural integrity of your concrete floor

Concrete is a popular flooring option due to its energy efficiency, low maintenance, and durability. However, concrete floors can crack and deteriorate quickly without proper care and maintenance.

Joint reconstruction is a vital part of maintaining the structural integrity of your concrete floor. By repairing the joint, you can prevent further damage and extend the durability of your concrete floor.

2. Maintaining the beauty and elegance of your concrete floor

In addition to being durable, concrete floors are also stylish and elegant. They come in a variety of colors, patterns, and finishes to suit any aesthetic.

Damaged expansion joints can mar the beauty of your concrete floor. Cracks and spalls on your concrete floor can be an eyesore and make your space look unkempt. Performing joint reconstruction will help restore your concrete floor’s smooth, sleek look.

3. Improving the safety of your space

Cracks and spalls on your concrete floor can also pose a safety hazard. They can create trip hazards and increase the risk of slips and falls. Joint reconstruction eliminates these hazards and makes your space safer for everyone.

Repairing your joints as soon as possible will help save your concrete floor and save you a lot of money in the process, so it’s important to choose the best type of repair for your needs.

Types of joint reconstruction repairs

There are two joint reconstruction options. The method you choose will depend on the extent of the damage and your budget.

High-pressure flexible polyurethane injection

High-pressure flexible polyurethane injection is an immediate and long-lasting joint reconstruction solution. This method involves injecting a high-pressure stream of polyurethane into the joint through a narrow crack. 

A concrete technician drills holes along the joint and inserts a flexible hose. The polyurethane is then injected through the hose under high pressure. The polyurethane expands as it hardens, filling the joint. This method is ideal for small to medium-sized joint damage.

Elastomeric waterproofing membrane

The working principle of an elastomeric waterproofing membrane is to create a watertight joint. This method involves the installation of a sheet of rubber or other elastomeric material over the joint. The membrane is then sealed with joint sealant to create a watertight barrier. This method is ideal for water-damaged concrete floors like showers, kitchens, and bathrooms.

If you need help determining which method is right for you, reach out to concrete professionals for assistance. It’s also a good idea to have the pros handle the reconstruction itself.

How to perform joint reconstruction

Understanding how to perform joint reconstruction is key to ensuring a successful repair. Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Remove all the damaged material from the joint

Before beginning joint reconstruction, you must remove all the damaged concrete from the joint. This will expose the clean, undamaged concrete around the joint. Use a chisel and hammer or a round disc grinder to loosen and remove the damaged concrete. Wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect your eyes and nose from flying debris.

2. Remove the debris from the joint

Using a vacuum remove all the debris from the joint. Position the suction cup over the joint and move it back and forth to remove as much debris and dust as possible. This will help ensure a smooth, even surface to work with.

3. Roughen and clean the surface

Use a pole sander to roughen up the surface around the joint. This will help the joint filler or sealant adhere to the concrete. Once you’ve roughened up the surface, use a cleaner or degreaser to remove any remaining dust and debris.

4. Condition the repair surface and insert a wooden batten

Apply a conditioner to the repair surface using a brush and insert a wood batten into the joint to act as a spacer. The batten should be the same width as the joint. This will ensure that the joint filler or sealant is of the correct thickness.

5. Mix your aggregate joint filler or sealant

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix your joint filler or sealant until you obtain a consistent, smooth mixture. Use a trowel to apply the joint filler, and pack it tightly. Smooth it out with the trowel to create an even surface.

6. Remove the wood batten

After the joint filler or sealant has cured, remove the wood batten. Pound the batten lightly with a hammer to loosen it, then pull it out of the joint.

7. Insert a backer rod into the joint and condition the internal joint surfaces

To help the joint sealant last longer, insert a backer rod into the joint. A backer rod is a foam or plastic rod placed in the joint before the sealant is applied. This helps to control joint depth and width and prevents the joint sealant from bonding too strongly to the joint walls. Apply a conditioner to the internal joint surfaces using a brush. This will help the joint sealant adhere to the concrete.

8. Apply the joint sealant and smooth it out

Use a caulking gun to apply the joint sealant to the joint. Smooth the joint sealant with your finger or a putty knife leaving a concave joint profile.

9. Clean up any excess joint sealant

Use a damp rag to clean up any excess joint sealant. Clean any sealant on the joint walls or the concrete surface around the joint. Allow the joint sealant to cure for the time specified by the manufacturer.

Joint reconstruction complete! Your joint should be smooth, level, and free of cracks or debris. 

Leave joint reconstruction to the pros

Due to the delicate nature of joint reconstruction, it’s best to leave this repair to the professionals. The experts at Concreate have a decade of experience in concrete repair services and can help you repair your joints quickly and efficiently. 

We use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to repair joint damage at affordable prices. We also offer a wide range of concrete repair services, including installation, polishing, sealing, and staining. Check out our website thisisconcrete.com for more information, or contact us today to schedule a free consultation.