Cold Pour Joints

Posted on: 16 September 2015

To get the full breadth of all the advantages that comes with the use of concrete, such as durability and ease of maintenance, all that one has to do is follow simple mixing, pouring, and curing instructions. Concrete can, however, be unforgiving if you take shortcuts or ignore any of the simple concrete best practices that make it tick. One of the ways it shows its displeasure is through leaving behind ugly, and potentially harmful, marks and cracks. A cold pour joint is one of these.

Cold pour joints and water leaks

Cold pour joints are visible lines that usually form on concrete work mainly because of delays in between pours. As a result, the already-poured concrete starts to cure way before they have a chance to bond with subsequent pours. This usually leads to poor bond formation between concrete layers.

While these joints don't usually pose a threat to the structural integrity of a home, they sometimes create pathways through which water can flow into a building, making them a potential cause of basement waterproofing. Their mere existence in a building therefore puts a homeowner's property under risk of extensive damage.

Preventing cold pour joint induced flooding

The best way to prevent this basement flooding risk is to make sure that there are no concrete-pouring delays during construction. This may mean ensuring that the construction crew has enough materials on the get-go, that they have well-functioning equipment and that they are experienced and skilled enough to be aware of the cold-pour joint problem and the potential dangers it presents.

And if, during construction, there are obvious signs of cold joint formation, the best thing to do is to try and fix the problem as soon as possible. If the earlier-poured concrete hasn't cured yet, simply mix the two portions of concrete. You may need the help of a concrete vibrator to do this, but if you are successful, blending the two pours will eliminate the mismatched curing process that usually leads to cold pour joint formation.

What if the concrete has already cured? A concrete crack sealant is the best remedy. It will prevent water from squeezing through the cold pour joints and thus preventing the water, when it freezes and expands, from making the joints worse. Doing so will significantly reduce the risks of basement flooding.

Also, since water leaks tend to be worse in areas that are directly exposed to flowing water, changing the location, or design, of your building's water downspouts in such a way that they direct water away from your house, will also help waterproof the basement, reducing flooding.