Decorative Concrete Joints Are Essential To Prevent Cracks
Concrete expands and contracts as the temperature changes. Over time, this can cause it to crack if there are not joints in the surface that are designed to allow for this expansion.
With decorative concrete, the process of creating joints can be quite challenging. The pattern that is stamped on the surface of the concrete needs to be taken into account when deciding where to place the joints. In most cases, concrete installers need to get a little bit creative when it comes to placing decorative concrete joints so that they don’t ruin the look of the finished slab.
The vast majority of the time, the joints are designed to follow the stamped pattern on the surface. For instance, if the concrete is stamped with a brick pattern, the joint will be created to follow along with the edge of the bricks. This helps it blend more seamlessly into the existing pattern, making it possible to maintain a cohesive look.
Unfortunately, this method only works well with patterns that have straight edges such as bricks, pavers, or wood. Providing joints for patterns that are a little bit more abstract such as fieldstone or cobblestone usually requires a different process. It is important to remember that expansion and contraction happen in all directions with concrete – not just in the opposite direction of the joint. That means that the joint could expand apart or it could slide forward and back, depending on how the expansion occurs.
That is why the relatively jagged lines of cobblestone won’t work for creating a joint. If it were to move forward or backward, it would come in contact with the other side of the joint, potentially causing cracks to occur.
Most experts recommend using a cutoff saw to create the joints in the concrete. Although the joints don’t have to go all the way through the concrete, they do have to be deep enough in the surface to allow for proper expansion and contraction. Typically, this means cutting them to a depth that is at least 25% of the total depth of the concrete.
Stamped concrete and other types of decorative concrete can really add a lot to a property. In order to ensure that the concrete lasts for many years to come, however, it is important to think about including joints for expansion and contraction.
Because the surface is covered with a pattern, it can be a little bit more difficult to create joints for these pieces than it is when pouring standard concrete. It takes careful planning to figure out where to place the joint so that it won’t disrupt the overall look of the finished piece.
By learning as much as you can about decorative concrete joints ahead of time, you can decide which method is the best option for the piece of concrete that you are pouring. Properly creating joints in the surface will help prevent any cracks from occurring over time. This can allow the concrete to last for many years, which is why it is so important to make sure that the joints are created correctly.