Expansion Joints in Buildings: Why they are essential to keep buildings safe and free from cracks?

Why are expansion joints so crucial to the building industry? You’ll read all you need to know in our guide to expansion joints in buildings.

Most people think of buildings and other civic structures as static things that do not move, but this is incorrect. Many forces affect the dynamic movement of structures, such as thermal energy, wind, concrete expansion and contraction and seismic events. Expansion joints are a deliberate separation designed to mitigate against such movement and are a very important structural feature that makes it possible to protect the building from variations in temperature and hygrometry sustainably.

A guide to expansion joints in buildings: What exactly are they?

Also known as movement joints, expansion joints are also placed when constructing adjoining buildings: the masonry of the new construction, under the action of the expansion, would risk pushing the old construction. Therefore, to avoid this, construction workers leave a space of variable thickness depending on the considered seismic zone (2 to 4 cm) between the two structures: this is the exact definition of an expansion joint.

When are expansion joints in buildings used?

Expansion joints in buildings are used constantly. Roofs require expansion joints, as do all types of paving. Facades, walls, and ceilings all require expansion joints to allow for movement. There is a solution for each configuration from completely metal floor expansion joints suitable for a car park to lightweight’s floor expansion joints with flexible inserts.

Expansion joints are also important when concrete is used outside, especially when there are multiple applications. Concrete, in common with most materials, reacts to changes in temperature and humidity by expanding or contracting. After drying, all concrete shrinks and, afterwards, will continue to expand or contract according to the surrounding temperature. Although this movement is only minor, it will lead to unsightly and potentially dangerous cracks in the concrete. It is, therefore, imperative to compensate this movement if we want to preserve the integrity of the building.

Using the correct products

You should not underestimate the risk and the potential cost of claims being brought against a property developer for liabilities caused by faults in the movement joint design and/or sealing systems. It is always essential to avoid expansion joint problems, such as those caused by poor joint design, low-quality joint sealing system installations, or the use of inferior joint sealing materials with limited durability. The costs of not doing so can be enormous for all involved in the project if the joints are incorrectly designed and securely sealed with an adequate joint sealing system solution.

Veda France offers an extensive range of expansion joints for vertical and horizontal use. Their products can be used in all buildings.

Veda France’s range of expansion joints includes floor joints with inserts, all-metal floor joints, ceiling, wall and facade joints and much more.

Visit Vedafrance.com/en for more information.

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