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Old 08-24-2012, 08:09 PM   #1
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


I recently moved into a brand new house and noticed a crack extending the full width of the driveway right where it meets the perpendicular sidewalk at the street. While clearly the crack was not man-made, it was fairly straight all the way accross with a bit of a jagged edge about it. I asked the builder's sales agent about it during my pre-settlement inspection, and he said he thinks there is "felt" under that crack. I took that to mean an expansion joint is under that crack, but why would it be covered up! At any rate, two months later, I'm seeing bits of concrete popping up / cracking up over top of and on both sides of that crack exposing what looks to be a cork or felt expansion joint material. It appears that this material was perhaps burried 1/8" or so beneath the troweled surface. I looked around the neighborhood at several of the other new construction homes and many (not all) seem to have the concrete trowed right over that material as well; leaving an ugly cracked up joint with some exposed black cork (expansion material) coming through underneah. I was hoping a member of this forum could shed some expertise on what I'm witnessing with this crack, and will everything be OK with it- meaning, should I just not worry about it and let the concrete natually do whatever it is going to do there? Thank you in advance!

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Old 08-24-2012, 08:50 PM   #2
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


Without a picture only you know what it looks like.


Last edited by joecaption; 08-25-2012 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:47 PM   #3
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


Read on; http://www.nrmca.org/aboutconcrete/cips/06p.pdf

http://www.concretenetwork.com/concr...troljoints.htm

Click on the joint links; http://www.concretenetwork.com/concr...ced_joints.htm

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Old 08-25-2012, 06:09 PM   #4
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


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I recently moved into a brand new house and noticed a crack extending the full width of the driveway right where it meets the perpendicular sidewalk at the street. While clearly the crack was not man-made, it was fairly straight all the way accross with a bit of a jagged edge about it. I asked the builder's sales agent about it during my pre-settlement inspection, and he said he thinks there is "felt" under that crack. I took that to mean an expansion joint is under that crack, but why would it be covered up! At any rate, two months later, I'm seeing bits of concrete popping up / cracking up over top of and on both sides of that crack exposing what looks to be a cork or felt expansion joint material. It appears that this material was perhaps burried 1/8" or so beneath the troweled surface. I looked around the neighborhood at several of the other new construction homes and many (not all) seem to have the concrete trowed right over that material as well; leaving an ugly cracked up joint with some exposed black cork (expansion material) coming through underneah. I was hoping a member of this forum could shed some expertise on what I'm witnessing with this crack, and will everything be OK with it- meaning, should I just not worry about it and let the concrete natually do whatever it is going to do there? Thank you in advance!


In all my years in the industry i've never seen anything like that,whenever concrete will abut a sidewalk,driveway, foundation,or anything to impede it's movement, expansion joint is used to give it room to move without cracking the opposing object,it also comes in various widths for various thickness of the slab being poured,and is always installed flush with the slab,and a rounded edge is tooled on either side of the expansion joint to keep it from chipping and for appearence,but from what you describe it just doesn't sound like i'd want it on my property,post a picture if you can,i'd sure like to see it.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:20 AM   #5
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


I can only assume here, but typically, expansion felt is required between the driveway and the "city" sidewalk, and in this case, the contractor placed them at the same time. I've done it in the past as well and still do, but it can be a tricky endeaver. I'm only guessing, but I'd say the contractor likely placed the expansion joint too low, either intentional or not, and it really should have been flush with the surface, and edged on both sides of it with a radius like Canary mentioned. It's extremely hard to keep the expansion felt straight and true in a situation like this, so it's possible that the contractor intentionally placed it low so it wouldn't look "wavy"...........
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:31 PM   #6
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


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Originally Posted by segal View Post
I recently moved into a brand new house and noticed a crack extending the full width of the driveway right where it meets the perpendicular sidewalk at the street. While clearly the crack was not man-made, it was fairly straight all the way accross with a bit of a jagged edge about it. I asked the builder's sales agent about it during my pre-settlement inspection, and he said he thinks there is "felt" under that crack. I took that to mean an expansion joint is under that crack, but why would it be covered up! At any rate, two months later, I'm seeing bits of concrete popping up / cracking up over top of and on both sides of that crack exposing what looks to be a cork or felt expansion joint material. It appears that this material was perhaps burried 1/8" or so beneath the troweled surface. I looked around the neighborhood at several of the other new construction homes and many (not all) seem to have the concrete trowed right over that material as well; leaving an ugly cracked up joint with some exposed black cork (expansion material) coming through underneah. I was hoping a member of this forum could shed some expertise on what I'm witnessing with this crack, and will everything be OK with it- meaning, should I just not worry about it and let the concrete natually do whatever it is going to do there? Thank you in advance!
Ayuh,.... Sounds like a sloppy mason didn't finish the edge of the slabs,...

You can let it go, 'n not worry 'bout it,...
It'll eventually wear back to the radius that wasn't struck off...
Or,...
Chip it out abit, 'n fill it with chalkin'...
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:20 PM   #7
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


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Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,.... Sounds like a sloppy mason didn't finish the edge of the slabs,...

You can let it go, 'n not worry 'bout it,...
It'll eventually wear back to the radius that wasn't struck off...
Or,...
Chip it out abit, 'n fill it with chalkin'...
I meant to respond to the other posters with pictures, but my digital camera has seen better days! At any rate- Bondo, I think you are right! The expansion joint felt or cork appears to be rising or expanding to the surface little by little each week, hence the cracking and chipping occurring over top of it. Evidently, the masons did the same thing where my front entrance sidewalk connects to the driveway, but all that has appeared at that junction is a fairly straight (just a bit jagged) crack that hasn't gotten any worst. I suspect that junction at at the street sidewalk undergoes more stress / movement, hence the result I'm seeing. I spoke to a stucco guy the other day who told me that the expansion "cork" will eventually "pop up," and he didn't think anything was unusual about the way it was done. But he did mention that if he had done it, he'd put "tape" over top of it during the pouring and finishing and then strip the tape off to leave a "cleaner look." Is this truley sloppy work or was it really done with some clear logical reasoning in mind. I mean, they went to the effort to cut in real nice consistant control joints, so why on earth would they not have made this look nice! It boggles my mind!
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:41 PM   #8
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


what is a perpendicular sidewalk?
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:31 PM   #9
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what is a perpendicular sidewalk?
One that isn't parallel. As in, it doesn't go along side, it butts up against the bottom of the driveway.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:58 AM   #10
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


" The expansion joint felt or cork appears to be rising or expanding to the surface"

From your description of the expansion joint,it sounds like they installed self expanding cork expansion joint,and that in it's self is unusual because it's only normaly used in water filtration plants,sewage treatment plants, flood walls to name a few,what is normal for the job would have been asphalt or fibre expansion joint.

PS the way they installed that particular expansion joint is normal,i just don't understand WHY they used it.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:08 AM   #11
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


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" The expansion joint felt or cork appears to be rising or expanding to the surface"

From your description of the expansion joint,it sounds like they installed self expanding cork expansion joint,and that in it's self is unusual because it's only normaly used in water filtration plants,sewage treatment plants, flood walls to name a few,what is normal for the job would have been asphalt or fibre expansion joint.

PS the way they installed that particular expansion joint is normal,i just don't understand WHY they used it.
I may have used the term "expanding" out of context. I don't believe the joint material is growing, but rather is popping up to the flush surface of the concrete. Looking around at some of the other older (1-year or so) driveways in my community, the joint appears to rise and then end up in a flush state with the rest of the driveway, but not without some chipping and flaking of the concrete above and a little bit around the joint. I suspect whatever material they used does expand a bit after it rains as it seems to hold water, hence the reason for the accelerated process of the rising of the material during heavy downpours. But I really don't think that the installers intended the material to expand when wet, but on the other hand, I really don't know what they intended!
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:33 AM   #12
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


"the joint appears to rise and then end up in a flush state with the rest of the driveway, but not without some chipping and flaking of the concrete above "


And thats exactly why it was installed that way,there are only two kinds of cork expansion joint,standard and expanding and you have the latter,and it's doing what it was intended to do.
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:08 PM   #13
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Concrete Driveway and expansion joint


In reply to your earlier question, it's sloppy workmanship or more accurately maybe lazy workmanship. As others have mentioned the correct way to do what would be to use an edge tool to finish the country where it meets the expansion joint. It's
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:44 PM   #14
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I highly doubt the expansion material is anything other than fiberous, asphalt impregnated felt. When you install it 1/2" low, cover it with a little cream, and then drive over it, the concrete's going to break away in very little time.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:25 AM   #15
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I highly doubt the expansion material is anything other than fiberous, asphalt impregnated felt. When you install it 1/2" low, cover it with a little cream, and then drive over it, the concrete's going to break away in very little time.
This is EXACTLY what it looks like! I inspected areas where the material is more visible due to more cracking and it looks like the typical felt material that I am used to seeing. I also took a measurement and it looks like it was installed about 1/2" under the finished surface of the concrete, but does appear to have risen in some areas where it is more exposed. Looks like they just skimmed over it, but still not sure why because it looks crappy. They did the same thing where my porch sidewalk joins the driveway. Except there, it's just a straight crack (without the chipping) because I don't weigh as much as a car (although some would beg to differ on that one!).

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