Open Joints – Common Home Inspection Findings
Properly filling open joints can save a homeowner thousands of dollars in costly concrete or pavement repairs. The joint, where the concrete or paved driveway meets the concrete garage apron or floor, should be properly filled to prevent or reduce water from seeping through the joint. Joints also exist where a concrete step or stoop meets the concrete walkway, where a concrete patio meets the foundation, etc. Typically the joints are filled with a foam or fiber type filler. In some instances, the filler that was originally installed in the joint may have deteriorate or fallen below the surface of the joint.
If the grade of the concrete or pavement slopes toward the home, excess rain water can seep through the open joint. Homes lacking gutters or plagued with clogged gutters may have excess rain water falling in the vicinity of the open joints. In general, rain or surface water seeping through joints poses a problem.
If rain water or melt water containing salts from snow melting off cars in the garage seeps through the joint it may cause the soil below to become saturated and settle. The settled soil may leave a void below the garage floor slab and/or the driveway surface. When a heavy vehicle passes over, the concrete may crack and settle, leaving the homeowner with uneven concrete. Saturated soil that freezes and thaws may increase the possibility of concrete or paved surfaces cracking, heaving, and settling, causing uneven surfaces and tripping hazards.
The salt water from snow melting off cars combined with additional rain water may cause increased deterioration of concrete block foundation below the surface of the garage floor.
Homeowners can fill open joints with foam backer rod and the proper concrete caulk or sealant. These materials can be purchased at hardware stores. If the homeowner is not a do it yourselfer, then consider hiring a qualified contractor to complete the repair.