Concrete floors can crack, the concrete is laid in slabs with joints to help prevent cracking. …But then what? Do you just leave the joints open once the concrete is laid? The best way to keep the slabs stable is to use a joint filler. This not only protects the joints, but also makes the floors more eye appealing. There are multiple options of joint fillers and sealants available from Zander Solutions.
First, you want to consider the specific environment for the concrete slab. For example, if concrete floor joints in industrial environments are not filled properly, heavy vehicles such as forklifts can damage the concrete. Filling the joints properly protects the edges of the joints and allows for load transfer between the slabs, otherwise, the concrete could crack or displace under the hard wheels of heavy equipment.
There are many options for joint fillers available, two types of fillers are semi-rigid polyureas and semi-rigid epoxies, which can be tinted to match any color. One of the differences between them is the amount of time they take to set. Epoxy usually takes 8 to 12 hours to set and the polyurea takes anywhere from 30 minutes to about two hours to set.
How to Protect Slab Edges
To properly protect the edges of the slabs, it is imperative to ensure that the filler is level with the surface of the floor. To do this, the joint is overfilled and allowed to harden, then the excess filler is scraped off with a scraping tool. There is a companion product available to use to prevent the surface from becoming stained from the joint filler. The product is a stain-preventing film that can be applied before using the joint filler. It is also important to keep in mind that semi-rigid epoxy joint fillers can become discolored when exposed to ultraviolet light.
Using a joint sealant is important to keep water and moisture out of the concrete. Before applying a sealant it is important to ensure that the concrete has cured entirely and is completely free of moisture. After applying the sealant it will take about seven days to cure completely. Sealants will also keep other debris out such as dirt. You definitely do not want dirt and other things building up in your concrete. It is also important to consider the size of the joints when choosing sealants. When the joint is less than ⅜ of an inch wide a single component product is ideal and if the joint is wider than that then a dual component polyurea product works well.
Matching Joint Filler with Project Conditions
It is important to consider the quality and properties of the sealants as well. Some sealants can withstand liquid better than others. If needing to seal joints near a swimming pool a two-part polysulfide joint sealant is ideal. This type of sealant will self-level and set like in a similar manner to rubber materials. It is also important to find out if a stain-preventing film is needed or not or if tape should be used to section off areas before applying the sealant. Remember to keep in mind the type of environment and traffic the surface will endure when selecting your fillers and sealants.
At Zander Solutions, we have state-of-the-art equipment and a properly trained team with years of experience to handle complex joint filling and sealers in concrete floors. Zander Solutions is the premier building envelope commercial and residential contractor serving all of Wisconsin for waterproofing, exterior coatings, EIFS, insulation, and radon mitigation. Give us a call or send us an email for your custom concrete finishing needs today!