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What Are Cold Joints?

concrete slab floor in garage

Homes built on expansive clay soils face unique foundation challenges. To address these issues, builders often use multiple concrete pours during construction. However, this process can introduce weak points, known as cold joints, compromising your foundation’s strength and water resistance.

This page explores cold joints and provides valuable tips on protecting your foundation.

Cold Joints: What Are They?

crew member pouring dry concrete into wheelbarrow

A cold joint is a visible seam that forms when fresh concrete is poured onto hardened concrete due to a delay between pours caused by mixing times. Cold joints look like large cracks, but their impact on foundations varies. Over time, the bond between the two pours may weaken, creating a frail zone along the cold joint.

Let’s explore the potential risks and how to protect your foundation.

Problems Associated with Cold Joints

Cold joints may cause concrete problems, including:

concrete slab crack gap
  • Reduced Strength: Cold joints can weaken concrete’s ability to resist tension, compromising structural elements that experience these forces.
  • Leaks: Cold joints can allow water seepage, leading to crawl space and basement water damage.
  • Concrete Cracks: Over time, with movement or additional stress, cold joints can cause concrete cracks, leading to more severe foundation issues.

If you suspect your concrete has cold joints, contact a foundation repair expert. Professionals will accurately identify cold joints by examining the concrete pour position, pattern, and slope to determine whether further action is necessary.

How to Address Cold Joint Damage  

Qualified foundation repair experts provide inspections to diagnose and remedy cold joint damage. They may recommend an approach, such as:

Joint Sealant

Non-structural cold joints can be remedied with a high-quality joint sealant to prevent water leaks. A professional determines whether the cold joints are structural and require additional reinforcement or if a sealant application is a sufficient solution.

Epoxy Injection

Cold joint cracks and gaps often respond well to high-pressure epoxy injection, which can fill the voids and strengthen the bond, restoring much of the original concrete strength.

Polyurethane Injection

Polyurethane injections fill large concrete voids and cracks from beneath the slab. The concrete lifting foam expands as it cures, creating a watertight seal as it lifts uneven slabs. It is waterproof, environmentally friendly, and efficient, working well in most conditions.

Foundation Underpinning

If cold joints have significantly compromised the foundation’s structural integrity, underpinning techniques may be necessary for foundation reinforcement. This approach involves strategically installing foundation piers deep into the soil beneath the home to transfer the home’s weight to a more stable load-bearing soil layer.

Understanding cold joints and proactively addressing them ensures your foundation’s long-term stability and water resistance.

Is it Necessary to Repair Cold Joints?

inspector meeting with homeowner in front yard of residence

Addressing cold joints is crucial for protecting your foundation from water-related damage, including mold growth and wood rot. Proper maintenance ensures your home remains safe and dry and retains its value.

If you need help determining whether your home has cold joints, schedule a free foundation inspection with JES Foundation Repair. We diagnose problems and create tailored repair plans specific to your home.

Contact JES Foundation Repair for a Free Inspection

JES work truck

Cold joints create weak zones that can affect your home’s foundation. Identifying and addressing these problems promptly helps maintain your home’s integrity and health.

Contact JES Foundation Repair for a free inspection and no-obligation quote today! With over 30 years of serving homeowners in Virginia, DC, Maryland, and North Carolina, we are ready to help you, too.

    Contact Us For Your Free Inspection

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    Foundation Repair FAQs

    It is generally recommended to have your foundation inspected at least once every few years, especially if you notice any signs of foundation problems such as cracks in the walls, uneven floors, or doors and windows that stick. Regular inspections can help identify any potential issues early on and prevent them from escalating into more significant problems. Additionally, if you live in an area with unstable soil or experience extreme weather conditions, more frequent inspections may be necessary. 

    JES Foundation Repair offers a range of foundation repair solutions tailored to different types of foundation issues. Some of the solutions they provide include helical piers, slab piers, carbon fiber repairs, crawl space encapsulation, and basement waterproofing. Their team of experts will assess the specific needs of your foundation and recommend the most suitable solution. 

    Cracked concrete may indicate underlying foundation problems, which should be inspected and assessed by a professional. JES Foundation Repair provides free home inspections, obligation-free estimates, no hidden costs, financing opportunities, comprehensive repair solutions, and long-term warranties for your peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more

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    Shaye Glisson

    Shaye Glisson

    Shaye is an SEO Content Writer for Groundworks with over twelve years of experience creating helpful content across various industries, including home services and retail. She is a Gulf Coast native and writes from her firsthand knowledge of the area's hurricane and flood impacts on the local community. In her free time, Shaye enjoys exploring the local food and music scenes.

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