4 Things to Expect from Your Concrete Floor Joint Fillers
Behind every durable concrete floor is a dependable system of joints and detail work designed to withstand the abuse of forklift traffic and other machinery. One of those details is concrete joint filler, which seals the joints and ensures they are protected. Ultimately, concrete joint fillers can have an effect on the lifespan of your joints and your floor overall — it’s pretty important.
So what should you expect from your joint filler? For starters, you should remember that an industrial concrete floor is not a “static” building component. It’s affected by a variety of things, some operational and some natural. Knowing what can affect it — and how to properly monitor and maintain it — can help you avoid deterioration down the road and extend its expected service life.
1. Your Day-To-Day Operations Have an Effect on Floor Joint Fillers
There are a wide variety of operational factors that can affect your concrete joint fillers and the integrity of the floor surface. After all, durable concrete floors are usually designed for high-traffic facilities. Here are some operational factors you can expect to affect your floor joint fillers:
Changes in material handling vehicle types.
Changes in MHV loading, traffic frequency or pattern.
Dragging or pushing pallets across floor.
Pallet nails/debris caught under MHV wheels.
Frequency and/or aggressiveness of floor cleaning.
In addition to operational factors, there are natural ones as well.
2. There Can Be Naturally Occurring Effects on Your Floor Joint Fillers
These effects are frankly out of your control. Whether because of Mother Nature or environmental changes, your floor (and floor joint fillers) can have its integrity compromised naturally. Here are some of those naturally occurring factors that can affect your floor joint fillers:
Ambient temperature fluctuations.
Seasonal or periodic moisture/humidity changes.
Normal concrete slab mass shrinkage (generally 1-5 years)
These are just a few of the factors that have an impact, so it’s important to be aware of any others to properly maintain your floor joint fillers and avoid deterioration.
3. Floor Joint Deterioration Should Be Expected, But Can Be Avoided
One of the keys to ensuring that an industrial concrete floor remains serviceable and durable throughout its life is to frequently monitor its condition and quickly identify joints, cracks and other signs that show premature wear and tear or deterioration. Early identification of potential deterioration spots and timely maintenance or repair of any suspect areas can mean the difference between a relatively fast, inexpensive correction and a steadily worsening condition that requires more difficult and costly repairs.
4. A Good Monitoring and Maintenance Program is Important
Once you know what operational and naturally occurring effects to expect, it’s important to implement a solid, consistent floor monitoring and maintenance program. Basically, this helps prevent small problems from developing into costly floor defects over time. While yours will be unique, some factors to consider when developing a monitoring and maintaining program would be: age of the facility, original floor design, current floor condition and any relevant construction factors.
If there’s one thing you should remember when it comes to concrete floor joint fillers, it’s that inattention can be costly. Make a point to monitor operational and naturally occurring effects, address signs of deterioration and implement a good maintenance program. Only then will you get the most out of your concrete floor joint fillers.