Joints: What Type are Used and Where?

A: Isolation/Expansion Joints:
Isolation joints are used to relieve
flexural stresses due to vertical
movement of slab-on-grade
applications that adjoin fixed
foundation elements such as columns,
building or machinery foundations,
etc. Expansion joints are used
primarily to relieve stress due to
confinement of a slab. If the slab is
placed adjacent to structures on more than one face of the slab an expansion joint should be
placed to relieve stress. For example, if a slab were placed between two buildings, an
expansion joint should be placed adjacent to the face of at least one of the buildings.
Confinement on three faces would normally be handled by placing expansion joint on all
three faces, and confinement on four faces should be isolated on all faces. This allows for
thermal expansion and contraction without inducing stress into the system.

Contraction (control) joints
are placed to control random
cracking. Contraction joints
should be placed at 2 times the
slab thickness in feet for a
maximum aggregate size of
less than ¾”.
For example for a 5” slab with
a ¾” coarse aggregate the
maximum joint spacing would
be 10’. When the maximum
coarse aggregate size is greater
than ¾” the spacing could be
increased to 2 ½” times the
thickness. For the prior
example this would increase to
Applications that require thick
slabs of 8" or more and good load transfer across joints, due to heavy loading, should be
limited to 15' contraction joint spacing to ensure aggregate interlock.

.Construction joints are stopping places in the process of construction. Construction-joint types (a) and (b) are also used as contraction joints.