Concrete joint sealants and joint fillers are different in both chemical formulation and intended use. Elastomeric Joint Sealants are cold-applied elastomeric single or multi-component materials used for sealing, caulking, or glazing operations on buildings, plazas, and decks for vehicular or pedestrian use, and types of construction other than highway and airfield pavements and bridges. The primary purpose of a joint sealant is to keep water, dirt, and debris out of the joint. Designed to be able to expand and contract along with the joint, sealants are relatively soft and flexible materials, typically polyurethane, silicone, or acrylic in composition.
Hard-wheeled vehicles, carts, and pallet jacks traveling over a sealant-filled joint will cause it to deflect, leaving the edges of the joint unprotected. Leading to edge cracking and spalling. Therefore, the best use of joint sealants in an industrial floor is to fill joints not subject to traffic such as isolation joints at walls or columns and under racks.
Industrial floor joints subjected to heavy and/or hard-wheeled traffic should be filled with a semi-rigid joint filler. These are either polyurea or epoxy materials.
Semi-rigid joint fillers restore continuity to a concrete floor that was disrupted by cutting joints into the surface. Because they are hard and relatively inflexible , joint fillers protect joint edges from damage caused by hard wheel impact and heavy loads. Filling these joints allow for wheels to roll across the joint as though it was a continuous concrete surface while still allowing for the joints to continue to perform the job of relieving stress within the slab.
So, what if you need flexibility and the ability to take heavy traffic?
Let’s say you have fork truck and tractor trailer traffic outside. There are sealants that are tough enough for industrial traffic that still have enough flexibility to accommodate movement as temperatures change during the day. While these sealants won’t provide the stiffness of a joint filler, they are a good middle ground for outside joints.
Choosing the right sealant for each area is essential to ensuring longer life of your plant/mill infrastructure. Check out the chart below:
|Product||Control Joints||Expansion Joints||Outside Use||Inside Use||Forklift Traffic||Truck Traffic||Grade|
|Sika Sikasil 728||X||X||X||X||X||NS/SL|
|Sika Loadflex 524||X||X||X||X||SL|