Sealing joints fills and secures gaps or cracks in concrete, providing protection through a weather-tight seal. This prevents damage from moisture, freeze/thaw cycles, and weed growth. In some cases, it can also help prevent further settling of the concrete slab, depending on if there are underlying factors.
When to Use Sealant Repairs
- Structural repairs – Some structural damages can be repaired with quality sealing. If a crack occurs and it’s the result of non-recurrent stresses, a sealant can be applied often making the concrete even stronger than before. The keyword here is non-recurrent. Active stresses may require a different approach.
- Structural reinforcement – Sealants can offer additional strength to a concrete structure. A common situation for this application is when repairing concrete columns that sustained damage from weather impacts or corrosion. Sometimes synthetic fabrics, carbon fiber fabrics, or structural reinforcing wraps may be needed as well.
- Stopping a water leak – You can seal and repairs cracks when its crucial to quickly stop a water leaking through the crack. Of course, proper repairs of the leak will also need to happen in these cases. If there is an ongoing leak, the seal can only hold it back for so long.
- Control joint sealant – Control joints are placed horizontally or vertically and are used to control where cracks appear in the concrete. They are flexible and are used to tackle water, frost, debris, and recurrent movement (mentioned next).
- Recurrent movement – Use of a flexible sealant can help mitigate movement of a slab that may be considered normal, such as high traffic areas, expected and consistent temperature fluctuations, and other movements that are non-threatening to the structure.
When Sealing Doesn’t Cut It
Some situations require more than a sealant. If you are suspicious of active movement in the foundation or structure, pushing a flexible sealant into cracks and hoping it will stop the damage is not the best solution. This will not address the core of the problem. Sealants can hide ongoing movement and can tolerate small increases of cracking, but it will not withstand major issues underneath. If a concrete area has had sealant applied before and the cracking continues, it makes an assessment of the area much more difficult. Only a professional will be able to address these situations and understand what else may be going on. Sealant does not fix a structural problem, and it’s critical you address the underlying issues rather than attempt to cover a big problem with a sealant. If a foundation is settling actively or there is frost heaving present, call in a professional to help. In many cases, sealing cracks and joint sealing can mitigate the problem, but soil issues such as poor drainage will need further repair. If you’re concerned about your concrete, Lift Right Concrete is Utah’s professional expert ready to tackle any problem. We know when sealing is best and when there needs to be additional repairs to ensure the job is done right.