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.

icon_widget_image Monday-Friday: 8am to 5pm; Sunday: CLOSED icon_widget_image 835 A Grove Rd. Midlothian, VA 23114 icon_widget_image 804-767-8301 icon_widget_image info@thisisconcrete.com

How to Smooth an Uneven Concrete Joint

How to Smooth an Uneven Concrete Joint

A polished concrete floor with some joints visible.

Uneven joints in your floors can become a tripping hazard or damage your equipment if you don’t address them soon enough.

Key Takeaways:

  • Uneven concrete joints are a significant problem for businesses
  • They can cause injuries or damages
  • Grinding and shot blasting might be necessary
  • Using a joint filler completes the repair process

Uneven concrete joints can cause challenges in an industrial setting. To help remedy this, your contractor will cut control and expansion joints in your floor to minimize cracking as the surface settles and shrinks. These joints take some of the pressure off the slab, minimizing damage. 

The contractor will then fill the joint with joint filler, ensuring the entire surface is even. This even surface makes it easier to use forklifts and wheeled equipment in a warehouse or other industrial setting while eliminating a tripping hazard for everyone in the building. 

However, these joints can shift over time, and you could end up with some unevenness or damage. The result is a small ridge in the concrete that will catch the wheels of your forklifts and pallet jacks and could lead to lawsuits.

The good news is that there are some steps you can take to smooth your concrete joints and return your floor to a smooth condition. Here’s a look at the process for smoothing an uneven concrete floor joint. 

Why uneven joints cause issues

An uneven joint in a concrete floor has the potential to become a significant problem for a business. For example, your warehouses are high-traffic locations that must move products all day to keep customers happy. This constant product movement involves equipment that could catch its wheels on an uneven surface, slowing it down or damaging it.

If you welcome customers to your building, taking care of an uneven concrete joint becomes even more critical. Having someone trip and hurt themselves on your concrete floor could open you up to lawsuits, damaging your company’s reputation and bottom line. You don’t want to create unnecessary risks at your place of business, so repairing an uneven joint is of the utmost importance.

Grinding the joint

The steps you’ll take to repair an uneven joint could vary depending on the floor and the size of the problem. In some cases, you can simply remove your joint filler and replace it, which could be enough to alleviate the concern if your concrete is only slightly uneven. However, the job could require multiple steps in other situations.

You may have to use a grinder when the slab is significantly uneven at the joint. Grinding the concrete ensures everything is consistent and removes any damaged concrete along the way. It can also get rid of the old joint filler, making applying a new joint filler much simpler. 

You might have to make a couple of passes with the grinder using different grits to get the smoothness you want. The second pass will be a bit wider to ensure the entire slab is now even, and you won’t experience any additional problems in the future. 

Shot blasting the area

Next, you might have to shot blast the joint to ensure the new joint filler will adhere to it. The shot blaster does an excellent job of cleaning the joint, which you’ll need to do before completing the repair process. 

Your contractor may also have other joint cleaning methods available. Once again, it all depends on the project at hand and the state of your concrete floor.

Applying a joint filler

Creating a completely smooth surface that won’t be a tripping hazard and will allow your equipment to travel freely throughout the facility involves applying a joint filler. There are two types of joint fillers your contractor might use, so it helps to learn a bit about them.

Joint fillers have their hardness measured using durometer. In short, durometer is a scale between zero and 100, with 100 being the most rigid material. Your joint filler should measure between 80 and 85 – that measure ensures it’s hard enough to withstand the abuse you’ll put it through while retaining some of its flexibility. 

Epoxy-based fillers are popular because they fall into the durometer sweet spot and are incredibly easy to pour. You’ll typically mix your epoxy filler at a one-to-one ratio, and these products have a long pot life, so you don’t have to rush them into the joints immediately. 

Once your epoxy filler cures, which typically takes about a day, you can shave it down to ensure the surface is flat. Coloring your epoxy filler is also possible if you’re seeking a slightly different look.

The other option is a polyurea, which also falls between 80 and 85 on the durometer scale, is easy to pour, and remains flexible enough to prevent the sections of the concrete slab from welding together. You can also find polyurea requiring a one-to-one mix ratio, making measurements simple. 

It’s worth noting that polyurea sets far faster than epoxy, so you’ll have to get it into the joints immediately after mixing. That feature can be a positive, though, because it means your concrete floor won’t be out of commission for long while waiting for the joint filler to harden. You can also shave the polyurea down in as little as 30 minutes, allowing your crews to quickly get back on the job once your contractor completes the repair. 

Polyurea is available in multiple colors, and you can apply it in temperatures as low as –20 degrees Fahrenheit, making it practical in freezers and other cold storage settings.

Make your concrete floor safer

Imperfections in your concrete floor are not only a potential eyesore, but they’re also potential hazards. An uneven concrete joint could cause injuries, damage equipment, and creates a frustrating work environment, so it’s best to address the issue as early as possible. 

Concreate can assist with all your concrete repairs. We’ll figure out the best way to smooth your uneven concrete joint, developing a solution in no time at all. Contact us or visit thisisconcrete.com for more information on our concrete repair techniques.