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What is Cold Joint in Concrete?

An advancing face of a concrete pour, which could not be covered by fresh concrete before expiry of initial setting time (due to an unscheduled stoppage or delay on account of breakdown in plant, inclement weather, low rate of placement or any other reason), is called a cold joint. The cold joints should always be avoided in concrete.

Cold Joint in Concrete

Fig: Cold Joint in Concrete

If, however, a cold joint is formed due to unavoidable reasons, the following procedure is adopted for treating it:

a) If concrete is so green that it can be removed manually and if vibrators can penetrate the surface without much effort, fresh concrete can be placed directly against the old surface. The old concrete should be covered by fresh concrete as quickly as possible and the joint thoroughly and systematically vibrated.

b) In case concrete has hardened a bit more than (a) but can still be easily removed by a light hand pick, the surface will be raked thoroughly and the loose concrete removed completely without disturbing the rest of the concrete in depth. A rich mortar layer 12 mm in thickness, is placed on the cold joint, fresh concrete is then placed on the mortar layer and the joint is thoroughly and systematically vibrated penetrating the vibrator deep into the old layer of concrete.

c) In case the concrete at the joint has become so stiff that it cannot be remoulded and mortar or slurry does not rise inspite of extensive vibration, the joint is left to harden for at least 12 – 24 hrs. It is then treated as a regular construction joint, after cutting the concrete to required shape and preparing the surface.

Read More about Joints in Concrete Structures