Building solutions – expansion joints

As a building professional, making sure that any brickwork, blockwork and concrete that you lay doesn’t crack is key. Use the wrong building materials or use materials incorrectly and the customer is looking at unsightly cracks and possibly structural problems, and you’ll be facing a costly repair bill and a big hit to your reputation.

To help make sure that you use the right materials to prevent your block and brickwork and concrete from cracking, we have put together this brief guide to expansion joint products.

How to avoid movement and cracking in brick and blockwork

Bricks and blocks are rigid, but the mortar used to hold them together is more flexible and more vulnerable to the elements. Mortar naturally shrinks when it dries and it can also move as a result of thermal expansion, moisture movement, structural loading or chemical changes.

Thermal expansion causes block, brickwork and mortar joints to move and crack which can lead to costly damage to a property that you have to fix and poor reviews and ratings on trade directories.

The way to avoid these problems is to use a good quality foam expansion joint filler, such as Siteworx Foam Expansion Joint Filler. The filler should be flexible and lightweight and made from a closed-cell foam. The joint itself allows for movement through expansion and contraction and therefore the compressibility of the filler material is critical.

How to prevent movement and cracking in concrete

In common with bricks and blocks, concrete is also susceptible to cracking if the right materials aren’t used on a build. Concrete naturally shrinks as it hardens and changes in temperature can also cause it to expand and shrink.

Again, as with brickwork and blockwork, the solution to preventing cracking in concrete is the use of a quality expansion joint filler, in this case a fibreboard expansion joint filler, such as Siteworx Fibreboard Expansion Joint Filler, which is made with bitumen to aid moisture resistance.

By placing this type of expansion joint in grid form across the area you are planning to concrete, when the concrete expands and contracts due to the ambient temperatures, the joint allows for movement, reducing the risk of cracking and heave in the slab.

The importance of the right expansion joint filler on building jobs

On a building job, making sure that brickwork, blockwork and concrete doesn’t crack is critical. As a building professional, you have to use the right materials and prevent any movement and cracking-related damage to the build. Your reputation depends on it.

This post is aimed at providing the information that you need to use the right expansion joint products and prevent costly cracks and worse. With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision about planning and the materials you use on your next building job.

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