3 Tips for Sealing Concrete Joints in a Driveway at Home

Joints in a driveway are those small trenches between sections of concrete. These need to be sealed to keep water from pooling underneath the concrete and in turn, causing the material to get soft. This excess water can also cause the soil to become soft so that the driveway shifts and buckles and even cracks. Sealing those joints is not difficult, but when a homeowner tries this job on their own, they often overlook a few simple tips and in turn, the seal is not watertight or doesn't last. Note the following.

1. Sealant and filler are not the same

A common mistake made by homeowners is to assume that joint sealant and joint filler are the same; this is not accurate. Filler is rigid and meant to support the weight of a vehicle as it drives over the concrete. Edges may be weaker and more likely to break under the weight of a car or truck, so filler is used in larger joints to disperse that vehicle's weight.

Sealant is softer and meant to expand and contract as concrete moves. It's main purpose is to keep water, snow, and ice from forming under and around the concrete. Be sure you choose the right material and don't assume that filler will do the job of keeping out water and moisture from under your concrete.

2. Sealant cannot adhere to dust and debris

It may not be enough to actually just sweep out the trenches or joints of your driveway's concrete. Rent a shop vacuum and give it a thorough cleaning. At the very least, get a shop broom with stiff bristles and be sure you clean out the trenches, or use a wire brush that you would use to remove rust. The more dust and debris left behind, the less likely the sealant will adhere to the actual concrete, so be sure it's thoroughly cleaned.

3. Support the sealer

Because of its soft nature, sealer can settle into the joint or trench and begin to sag. A backer rod or what is called a bond breaker can prevent this. Backer rods and bond breakers are long, thin rods that you cut to size and nestle into the trench or joint, underneath the sealer. Be sure you use these and especially so if the trench or joint is very large, as the larger the joint, the more likely the sealer will soften and settle into the space.

For more tips or assistance, contact companies like Allied Concrete Cutting & Drilling Pty Ltd.