What You Need to Know About Expansion Joints

Expansion joints are used for many reasons, but most importantly they help to ease the pressure on building materials. They can be found in a wide variety of structures, including airport runways, bridges, piping systems, railway tracks, walkways, and more.

The first thing you need to know about expansion joints is that they are flexible, simple devices that allow two pieces of material to move relative to each other without breaking or cracking. They are used to connect two parts of a construction or industrial structure, such as a concrete slab or a piping system, so that they can be moved freely and without risk of cracking.

There are several types of expansion joints, some of which are shaped differently than others. The most common are single and double variants.

Single joint expansion joints have one end connected to a pipe support, and the other to another anchor point. These are used for applications where axial movement would be too much for a double expansion joint, and can handle the thermal expansion of materials like oil, gasoline, and de-icing salts, as well as high pressures.

When compared to metal, rubber and elastomer based expansion joints are extremely resilient and have the ability to take extreme pressures. They are also highly durable and provide a long maintenance-free service life.

Other types of expansion joints include fabric, steel, and braided materials. Braided materials, for example, are made of intertwined yarns. This enables them to hold together while they move, which makes them very efficient.

These joints are also extremely adaptable, which allows them to be used for a variety of different applications. They can be manufactured in different shapes, sizes, and materials to accommodate specific needs.

In the past, expansion joints were typically made of fiberboard or felt, but now a new solution has been developed called FillPro(r) Flat Backer Rod. This is a expansion joint rubber filler that is moisture-resistant and will not swell or absorb water in the winter, as fiberboard does.

This product is lightweight and sold in rolls that are 4″ wide and 50′ long. Its rounded shape and semi-rigidity make it very easy to slide into the joints.

After the expansion joints are properly installed, you need to seal them to keep dirt and debris from entering and affecting the integrity of the concrete. Use QUIKRETE Non-Sag Polyurethane Sealant, which is designed to be tack-free within a couple of hours. Apply the sealant by using a nozzle to apply a small amount and then smoothing it out.

Then, you need to check the position of the joint. This can be done by measuring the height and length of each joint. You may need to add an additional joint if the distance between the two is too great for the design.

Once you have the size and location of each expansion joint figured out, you can begin to install them. This is best done with a crew of trained professionals. They have experience identifying the exact shape and depth of the expansion joints needed, as well as knowing how to safely and efficiently install them.