Filling Repair for Control Joints vs Expansion Joints

The American Concrete Institute has published industry standards for the proper installation of joint fillers, which can significantly enhance the look and life of concrete slabs. Here are the differences between control joints and expansion joints:

Control joints

Are technically the controlled separations between concrete slabs which are intentionally made to attract cracks to follow the control line instead of breaking other areas of the concrete. If left unfilled, control joints collect dirt and debris and can harbor water, moisture, and harmful bacteria. In food processing, pharmaceutical, and medical facilities, control joint filler is ground, polished smooth, and sealed to provide a seamless floor that’s easier to clean and sanitize.

In the constant exposure of concrete surfaces to heavy-traffic in industrial, commercial, or garage floors, which must accommodate multiple vehicles and lift trucks, control joint fillers effect a smooth transition between slabs for hard-wheeled traffic with heavy loads.

Expansion joints

Also called isolation joints because they completely isolate a concrete slab from an abutting unrelated surface; for instance, a garage floor slab from a driveway slab, or a garage floor slab from the concrete garage wall. These half-inch gaps can be referred to as movement joints since they’re engineered to safely absorb any heat-induced expansion or contraction disturbances due to adverse weather conditions, settling, or seismic vibrations. When expansion joint fillers in buildings are used in these gaps, fundamentals of a structure, like fireproofing, soundproofing, and weatherproofing are also reinforced.

There are ways to realize cost savings using joint filler, but using less of it in a joint is never good economics. Remember, all concrete joint filling needs should be evaluated by a knowledgeable professional in order to avoid code violations. Contact us for an estimate.

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