Concrete joints are the pieces that help your concrete stay durable and free from cracks during its lifetime. Fresh concrete is a viscous mixture that can be poured into a variety of places and left to dry, but it will reduce in size as it sits. Without the proper structure and concrete joints in place, the concrete will be very vulnerable to cracking and premature damage.
Concrete Joints 101
Concrete joints are placed throughout a concrete slab at predetermined locations so that the concrete cracks in a straight line across instead of randomly throughout. This is why typical sidewalks in neighborhoods have evenly spaced cracks between each slab! Since the crack in the concrete is located in a place that seems right, the concrete appears beautifully installed and has proper stability. Concrete joints prevent the concrete from getting random cracks throughout.
How to Place Concrete Joints
Placing concrete joints can be simple if you follow the following suggestions:
- The area supporting the slab should be undisturbed soil or very well compacted soil
- Contraction joints should make concrete panels that are square, if possible, and follow a maximum length to width ratio of 1.5 to 1
- Space your concrete joints in increments equal to 24-30 times the thickness of the slab itself
Once those requirements are met, you can do one of the two following concrete joint methods:
- Tool the Concrete Joints into the Surface: Before bleeding begins, you can tool the concrete joints into the surface of the concrete
- Saw the Concrete Joints: Once the concrete has begun to harden, you can saw joints into it. Keep in mind that the more time you allow to pass, the more likely the concrete will crack during the sawing process. You should always saw concrete joints the moment that the concrete can stand it (typically in the first 6-18 hours after pouring)
Concrete and Concrete Joints from Del Prete Masonry
If you are ready to upgrade your landscaping and hardscaping, Del Prete Masonry has the experience and expertise to get the job done right for the right price. To explore our residential and commercial services and set up a consultation, please give us a call at 410-683-0650 or contact us online. We currently serve Baltimore City and County, Harford County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County. To see examples of our work and get more updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.