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Understanding Concrete Expansion

Understanding Concrete Expansion

Posted By:Dynamic Concrete Pumping , Date: Feb 25, 2021

Understanding Concrete Expansion

It’s difficult to find a residential or commercial structure without the presence of concrete. Construction teams and contractors rely on specific mixtures to set decorative accents, walkways, garages and more. However, it takes an experienced professional to apply concrete powders and materials in order to prepare for expansion and contraction.

Concrete changes in character and consistency within different environments. If proper methods are ignored, it’s possible for level surfaces to crack, split or break apart once the mixture starts to cure.

Why Does Concrete Expand?

Similar to other building materials, concrete is influenced by indoor and outdoor temperatures. The most common reason for concrete expansion is heating. Concrete expands under intense heat and undergoes contraction as temperatures drop. The fluctuation between hot and cold temperatures takes its toll on the structural integrity of a building over time.

It’s important to note that the amount of concrete used to make a road system, bridge or floor does not matter in the process of expansion. Any architectural project involving concrete requires careful planning for stability. Assignments taking place outdoors will call for expansion joints to help concrete adapt to conditions.

How to Control Concrete Expansion and Contraction

Poured concrete offers incredible flexibility for construction, as professionals spread mixtures to form any shape. It’s possible to plan where stress cracks will occur using concrete expansion joints. These are incisions for flat surfaces such as sidewalks and slabs that press up against one another.

Cutting into concrete at predetermined locations alleviates stress on surfaces and allows you to create straight lines across a given section. Procedures for making concrete expansion joints change based on the task, but decision-makers must make the call whether they would like to form expansion cuts while the concrete is being poured or once the curing stage begins.

Concrete grooving hand tools (wet mixture) and electrical saws (curing stage) are necessary to form expansion joints.

Placing Concrete Expansion Joints

There are a few general rules to follow when placing concrete expansion joints. Typically, cuts should be one-fourth the thickness of a concrete slab to account for contraction and expansion. You’ll want to have expansion joints running the entire width of a slab or surface to prevent cracking, and it is recommended to place incisions no more than 15 feet apart for large-scale projects.

If you are unsure how far apart to place cuts, consider the thickness of your slab and multiply by 30 for maximum spacing. Calculations that put expansion joint placement over 15 feet apart can be multiplied by a number between 24 and 29 for best results.

All poured concrete expansion joints should be made anywhere from four to twelve hours after placement when using an electric saw.

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Dynamic Concrete Pumping works with contractors across Western Canada. We draw from more than four decades of experience in the industry to pump and pour concrete for large-scale commercial assignments. Our staff utilizes cutting-edge technology for high-volume concrete deliveries, and our experts are highly trained to use Soff-Cut saws for precision. We’re your concrete cutting company that provides clean results every time.

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