Poured concrete has what are called joints; these are open areas between sections or slabs of concrete. They are added as part of the pouring process so that concrete has room to expand and shrink according to humidity in the air, and so that it can more easily shift with the ground underneath it without cracking. These joints or crevices need to be sealed from above so that they don't allow moisture to seep underneath those slabs of concrete, and usually this sealing needs to be redone every year or so.
Most homeowners can handle their own concrete joint sealing with a few simple tools and materials. Note a few tips on how to do this on your own.
1. Remove all the old sealant first
You never want to put new sealant on top of old sealant; the entire reason that you need to reseal concrete joints is that old sealant tends to dry up and get brittle. Putting new sealant on old sealant means that your new material will just pull away from the concrete slabs with the old material, and your work is ineffective.
To remove old sealant, it can be worth it to invest in a good angle grinder, as this can actually cut away and remove the old sealant quickly and effectively. A putty knife or even a box cutter can also work to scrape away old sealant, but this is a bit more labor-intensive.
2. Choose self-leveling sealant
Self-leveling sealant will naturally fill every corner and crevice of the concrete joints. This makes it easier than having to level the sealant yourself. If you don't choose self-leveling sealant, you will need to go over it with your putty knife and push it down into the joint, and then scrape the top to keep it level. Make the job easier by asking specifically for self-leveling sealant when at the home improvement store.
3. Use backer rods
Backer rods are made specifically for sealing concrete joints. They are long rods that you cut to fit and slide into the open joint, so you don't need to use as much sealant. If you're sealing joints that are very large such as between slabs of concrete in your driveway, backer rods can make the job faster and easier.
For concrete on a walkway or other areas where the joints may not be so large, you may not need to fill them with these rods. For larger joints and crevices however, they can make the job faster and neater as the rod will hold the sealant more level, avoiding bumps and hills in your concrete joints.Share