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CHAPTER 9:
PRINCIPLES OF JOINTS AND
SEALANTS
Expansion and Contraction Control
Expansion & Contraction Control Introduction
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Joints in Buildings
(a) Joints are a common feature in buildings, particularly on building facades. Some of
these joints are aesthetic joints to provide surface relief, rhythm, patterns, and so on,
while others are provided for performance reasons related to building design and (or)
construction. (b) The fasteners used in the joint in the copper cladding of Burton Barr
Central Library, Phoenix, Arizona, contribute to the rhythm and pattern in the cladding.
(c) The textured surface and the bold horizontal lines in the exterior concrete walls of
the same library building relieve the monotony of a large concrete surface.
Static and Movement Joints
Static joint a nonmoving joint (connection) between
the components.
In the case of the window glass and frame, a static joint
would most likely result in broken glass, broken frame,
or both.
Dynamic joint or movement joint a connection that
allows both materials to move independently and at
the same time hold the window glass securely in the
frame.
Expansion & Contraction Control Types of
Movement Joints
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Types of Movement Joints
Based on the purpose they serve, movement joints
are classified as
Building joints joints between different parts of the
building as a whole
Component joints joints between individual
components of an assembly
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Types of Movement Joints contd
A building joint divides the entire building into two
or more separate buildings.
Based on the purpose for which it is provided, it is
classified as either a building separation joint or a
seismic joint .
A joint between two adjacent building components
can be an expansion joint , a contraction joint
(commonly called a control joint), or an isolation
joint .
Types of movement joints in a building.
Expansion & Contraction Control Building
Separation Joints and Seismic Joints
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Building Separation Joints
A building separation joint prevents the stresses created in one
part of the building from affecting the integrity of the other
part.
Needed in large buildings.
Rough guide:
Provided at 250-ft (75-m) intervals
Provide building separation joints at the following discontinuities:
Where a low building mass meets a tall mass.
Where the building changes direction, such as in an L-shaped or T-
shaped building.
Where the buildings structural material changes, such as where a
steel frame building meets a concrete frame.
Building Separation Joints contd
A building separation joint should divide the building into smaller, structurally
independent sections (as if they are separate buildings) so that each section is
geometrically simple.
Building Separation Joints contd
A building separation joint runs through the entire building from the ground floor (or the
basement, if provided) up to the roof. Two columns are often used at the separation
joint. However, a combined footing may be used for the two adjacent columns.
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Building Separation Joints contd
Building separation joint with two columns in a reinforced concrete building. Because
the building is under construction, daylight is showing through the joint between the
columns. In a completed building, the joint is sealed and covered with a joint cover, as
is the case here for the separation joint in the floor.
Building Separation Joints contd
Building separation joint with two columns and two beams in a steel frame building.
Because the building is under construction, daylight is showing through the joint between
the columns. In a completed building, the joint is sealed and covered with a joint cover.
Building Separation Joints contd
Building separation joint using a single column in a reinforced concrete building.
Observe the provision of a beam on each side of the separation joint.
Building Separation Joints contd
Building separation joint in a steel frame building using a single column. Because the
building is under construction, daylight is showing through the separation joint. In a
completed building, the joint is sealed and covered with a joint cover. Observe the
provision of a steel joist on each side of the separation joint.
Seismic Joints vs. Building Separation
Joints
A seismic joint is similar to but also different from a
building separation joint.
Building separation joints accommodate moderate building
movements caused by temperature and moisture changes,
creep, and foundation settlements.
Building separation joints are designed to accommodate
mainly horizontal movement, that is, in the direction
perpendicular to the joint.
Seismic Joints
The purpose of seismic joints is to ensure that one
section of the building does not collide with the
adjacent section during an earthquake.
A seismic joint must accommodate simultaneous
movements in horizontal as well as vertical directions,
that is, in all three principal directions.
A seismic joint is generally much wider than a building
separation joint.
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Covers Over Building Separation or
Seismic Joints
A typical detail of a building separation joint cover at the floor level. Similar covers
are provided in interior and exterior walls and roofs. Joint cover manufacturers details
and specifications should be strictly followed for structural, fire rating, and other
performance reasons.
Expansion & Contraction Control Movement
Joints in Building Components
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Movement Joints in Building
Components
Movement in a building component can be caused
by several phenomena.
Factors that must be considered in sizing and
detailing movement joints in building components:
Thermal movement
Moisture movement
Elastic deformation and creep
Construction tolerances and other considerations
X indicates the presence of particular movement in the material andindicates the
absence of such movement.
Importance of Movement Joints in
Building Components
Importance of Movement Joints in
Building Components contd
(a) An acrylic sheet in an un-deformed state. (b) Deformation of the same sheet (nearly
4 ft long) shortened by approximately1/16 in. at each end by placing 25-cent coins.
Note that the (lateral) deformation of the sheet (approximately 2 in.) is much larger
than the longitudinal shortening (approximately 18 in.).
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Expansion & Contraction Control Thermal
Movement
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Thermal Movement
Eq. (1)
BuildingConstruction: Principles, Materials, &Systems, 2e
Mehta, Scarborough, and Armpriest
2013, 2010, 2008 by Pearson Higher Education,
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All Rights Reserved.
Thermal Movement contd Coefficient of Thermal Expansion ( )
Annual Temperature Change (
t
)
Annual temperature change (
t
) to which a building component is subjected in the
United States.
Estimating Thermal Movement
Example 1
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Estimating Thermal Movement
Example 1 - contd
Estimating Thermal Movement
Example 2
Expansion & Contraction Control Moisture
Movement
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Moisture Movement
Portland cementbased materials shrink due to
moisture loss.
Because the moisture loss continues for several
weeks after construction, portland cementbased
components keep shrinking long after they are
placed in a wall or slab.
Therefore, concrete slabs, concrete and concrete
masonry walls, and stucco require shrinkage joints
more commonly referred to as control joints .
Moisture Movement in Concrete and
Masonry
Clay (brick) masonry units expand on absorption of
water or water vapor. This expansion, which occurs
during and after construction, is irreversible; that is, clay
masonry does not shrink on drying.
In fact, a brick unit is smallest in size when it comes out
of the kiln, after which it grows in size.
Thus, brick masonry walls require expansion joints .
The amount of moisture movement in concrete and
masonry is given by
Eq. (2)
Moisture Movement in Concrete and
Masonry
The amount of moisture movement in concrete and
masonry is given by
= moisture expansion or contraction
of a unit of length L and is the
moisture coefficient of the material.
The values of are given in Table
9.2 . Note that has no units. It is
simply a number.
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BuildingConstruction: Principles, Materials, &Systems, 2e
Mehta, Scarborough, and Armpriest
2013, 2010, 2008 by Pearson Higher Education,
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All Rights Reserved.
Moisture Movement in Wood
The microstructure of wood
consists of hollow cellular
tubes bundled together.
The walls of the tubes shrink
and swell, depending on
the ambient airs humidity
and temperature, changing
the dimensions of a wood
member.
Estimating Moisture Movement
Example 3
Estimating Moisture Movement
Example 4
Expansion & Contraction Control Elastic
Deformation and Creep
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Elastic Deformation and Creep
Instantaneous (elastic) deflection (A) and creep (inelastic) deflection (B) of a beam. The
dashed lines show the unloaded condition of the beam. Creep is the incremental
deformation of a component caused by sustained loading.
BuildingConstruction: Principles, Materials, &Systems, 2e
Mehta, Scarborough, and Armpriest
2013, 2010, 2008 by Pearson Higher Education,
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All Rights Reserved.
Deflection of Spandrel Beam
If a non-load-bearing wall
is placed directly under a
spandrel beam, an
adequate space between
the beam and the top of
the wall should be provided
to allow the beam to
deflect under the load.
If adequate space is not
provided, the load from the
beam will be transferred to
the wall, damaging it.
The connection between the spandrel beam
and the non-load-bearing wall below must
account for the beams deflection.
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Expansion & Contraction Control Total Joint
Dimension
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Total Joint Dimension
Factors to be considered when determining joint
dimensions include:
Thermal, moisture, elastic, and creep deformations
Material tolerances (i.e., building components vary from
their specified dimensions).
Construction tolerances
Construction tolerances are a function of quality
control during construction.
Eq. (3)
Width of joint =
with based on temperature,
moisture, and other
movements
+ tolerances
Effect of a Sealant on Joint Dimension
Most joints in building envelope components are filled with elastomeric sealants.
Sealants have a finite ability to cyclically stretch and compress, which is given as the plus-
minus movement ability of the sealant.
The plus value denotes the maximum stretch the sealant can withstand, and the minus value denotes the
maximum compression it can sustain.
Sealants are generally classified based on their movement ability.
A sealant with a movement ability of 25 is called a class 25 sealant . Such a sealant is able to stretch
and compress by 25% of its installed dimension. Similarly, a sealant with a movement ability of 50 is
called a class 50 sealant.
If the width of a joint at the time the sealant is applied to it is 1 in., a class 50 sealant will
safely stretch to 1.5 in. or compress to 0.5 in.
The movement ability of sealants must be included in determining the total joint width of a
sealed joint. Therefore, the total joint width of a sealed joint is given by
Eq. (4)
Joint width of sealed joint =
100
[joint movement] + tolerances
Sealant class
Estimating Total Joint Width Between
Components Example 5
Expansion & Contraction Control Principles of
Joint Detailing
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Principles of Joint Detailing
In detailing a movement joint in a component, it is
important to distinguish between an expansion joint
and a control (shrinkage) joint .
Because the joint width in an expansion joint will
become smaller over time, the filler in an expansion
joint (if used) must be elastomeric to allow
unrestrained movement of the components.
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Detail of an Expansion Joint
Detail of an expansion joint in a brick veneer wall. The joint is filled with a compres-
sible backer rod and an elastomeric sealant.
Detail of a Control Joint
Detail of a control joint in a concrete masonry wall.
Expansion & Contraction Control Components
of a Sealed Joint
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Components of a Sealant Joint
The primary purpose of sealing a joint is to prevent water
penetration.
However, control of air leakage, dust penetration, and noise
transmission are additional benefits of sealing a joint.
An unsealed joint may also get filled with incompressible materials
over time, resulting in joint failure.
Although joint sealant is the most important component of a sealed
joint, these other components must also be carefully selected:
Substrate
Primer
Sealant backup
Bond breaker
Un-tooled and Tooled Sealants
Un-tooled and tooled sealants in joints. Note that the depth of the sealant must be at
least half the width of the joint.
Bond Breaker
For the sealant to function effectively, it should be bonded to
only two opposite surfaces of the substrate so that it comes
under axial tension or axial compression when the joint
moves.
A bond breaker is required only if the third surface is hard
and unyielding, such as concrete, metal, masonry, or any other
inflexible backup.
A bond breaker is not required with a flexible backup that
will not significantly restrict the freedom of sealant movement.
A bond breaker is not required in a conventional joint with a
foam backer rod.
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Use of a Bond Breaker
An ideal sealed joint should only be bonded to two opposite surfaces so that the
sealant is subjected to either tension or compression. A bond between the sealant and
the third (in this case, the rear) surface may cause sealant failure, as shown in (b),
because of the adhesion of sealant to the third surface. Therefore, where a third
surface exists in a sealed joint, a bond breaker should be used, as shown in (c).
Expansion & Contraction Control Types and
Properties of Joint Sealants
Principles of Joints and Sealants
Types and Properties of Joint Sealants
Joint sealants may be divided into three categories:
Preformed tapes
Caulks
Elastomeric sealants
Types of Elastomeric Sealants
Elastomeric sealants are synthetic materials
(polymers) and are the ones most commonly used in
contemporary construction.
The five commonly used synthetic sealants are
1. Polyisobutylene
2. Acrylics
3. Polyurethane
4. Polysulfide
5. Silicone