Watertight Expansion Joints and Construction Sealants by EMSEAL


EMSEAL expansion joints at NU Kellogg School of Management Global Hub

Featured Project: Northwestern University Kellog School of Management Global Hub by KPMB Architects. A case study on Sika Emseal’s industry-defining Seismic Colorseal for seismic, acoustic and weather sealing.

Structural expansion joints and pre-compressed sealants that work are the product and solution focus of Sika Emseal.

The result for property owners and managers  are lowest total cost of ownership joint sealing solutions that additionally contribute to the preservation, durability, safety and sustainability of the built environment.

In the pursuit of resilient building materials, Sika Emseal leads the industry in products capable of resisting hurricane and tornado events, resisting fire and heat, handling immersion, and sealing seismic joint openings.

Innovation has driven breakthrough new materials that ensure continuity-of-seal against water, fire, heat, cold, air movement, and sound in single product, single installation solutions. Our products are market driven and result from decades of experience born of total dedication to the field of expansion joint sealing and component gasketing.

We are a team of highly trained, motivated, and personable customer and technical service  professionals.

We deliver ready-to-go as well as custom-quick solutions to structural expansion joint and other sealing applications.

From the person who answers the phone when you call, to the regionally dedicated inside and in-field technical support of our Tech Team and Regional Sales Managers, to web-based collaboration, Emseal is completely dedicated to your satisfaction and the success of your project. Whether we are meeting this goal or not we want to know.  Please review the feedback of others and give us yours.

Sika Emseal manufactures and distributes pre-compressed sealants and expansion joints to commercial, industrial, and institutional users worldwide.

Emseal is the leading innovator and manufacturer of premium sealants and expansion joint systems for the commercial construction industry as well as for numerous gasketing applications in specialty market applications. The acquisition of Emseal by Sika provides unequaled domestic and international reach and a unrivaled ability to integrate and seal the entire building envelope.

The Company operates from multiple locations. The corporate headquarters in Westborough, Massachusetts is the primary sales, marketing, and technical support unit for worldwide sales as well as the manufacturing unit for the Company’s engineered, extruded joint product lines.  Our Woodbridge, Ontario  location (Emseal, LLC) manufactures Emseal’s pre-compressed, impregnated foam sealant technologies.

Emseal’s operations support four broad product lines (architectural foam sealants, architectural engineered products, original equipment manufacturer (OEM/specialty foam sealants); and bridge expansion joint systems, within three divisions.

The Architectural Division sells architectural foam sealants and architectural engineered products.  Architectural market customers include architects, engineers, building owners, contractors, distributors, and end users involved in the construction of any commercial, government, or service facility including hospitals, schools, office buildings, parking structures, bridges, civil infrastructures, airports and sports stadiums.

Emseal’s Specialty Market Division customers include manufacturers of recreational vehicles, trucks and coaches, and automobiles, log home builders and manufacturers, and pre-fabricated metal roof building manufacturers.

Emseal’s Bridge Division sells watertight bridge expansion joints that ensure bridge preservation by protecting support elements–columns, piers, beams, bearing pads, rockers, etc.–from water, salt and other chemicals that leak through the joints.

Emseal’s industry-defining innovation is in fire-rated, structural expansion joint sealants.  The Emshield product line embodies what for us is the “holy-grail” of expansion joint products–systems that simultaneously seal out water, thermally insulate, acoustically insulate, resist hurricane-force air pressures, handle thermal and seismic movement, AND have a built-in UL-Certified fire rating.

The Emshield line of products embodies a number of firsts from trafficable fire-rated seismic expansion joints to the first ever UL listing for a plaza deck, split-slab, fire-rated system.

This breakthrough innovation earned Emseal, in 2010, a place among the ranks of other great innovators, Staples, Genzyme, ZipCar, and iRobot as winners of the coveted SBANE innovation award.

The Emseal Approach to Successful Expansion Joint Treatment–Collaborative,
3-D, Design, Detailing, Construction, Fabrication, Installation.

It’s not just about great products.

While Emseal prides itself on having high-quality, innovative and durable materials for use in sealing and bridging small and large, building component and structural joints in foundations, decks, walls, and floors, the company’s track record of successfully completed projects is equally attributable to its approach to expansion joint treatment:

Anybody can make an expansion joint appear watertight in cross-section.  However, joints leak at changes in plane, direction and where dissimilar joint materials meet.

Successful projects with expansion joints that don’t leak are characterized by a collaborative commitment by the A/E team, the general contractor, the joint manufacturer, and the waterproofing sub-contractor to detail, construct, fabricate, and install three-dimensional solutions.

The process begins at design with the visualization by the A/E team and the joint manufacturer of expansion joint locations, layout and impact on all other adjacent materials and spaces.

This visualization is aided by the use of simple isometric line sketches of joint layouts which reveal conditions that could be designed-out, simplified, or for which details must be developed.  The A/E then supplements the usual cross-sections with axonometric or BIM details of conditions involving transitions through changes in plane, direction and between dissimilar materials.

To these conditions, the expansion joint manufacturer must furnish axonometric or isometric CAD detail and BIM Files showing their materials adaptation to these conditions.   The manufacturer’s application of their material to the designed conditions should be warrantable as watertight at all agreed upon changes in plane, direction, and intersection between various joint materials.  The final isometric layout(s) and all cross-section and axonometric details then become part of the bid documents and working drawings.

Before and during construction the general contractors’ role is to elevate the place the expansion joints typically occupy in the sequencing path.   ALL trades must be held accountable for their work in relation to expansion joints.  The joints, for example, must be protected from construction traffic damage and cannot become a place to accumulate construction tolerances.

The expansion joint subcontractor must commit to taking field measurements from which the manufacturer can fabricate and furnish factory-welded, warranted assemblies to install into the relevant joint locations.

This collaborative approach is not just theory.  It is a practice that has resulted in the successful execution of watertight expansion joints on new and retrofit projects on structures of every type.  From the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, to the enormous, newly constructed mixed-use development—Atlantic Station in Atlanta, to the retrofit of FedEx Field Washington Redskins Stadium, and the newly constructed Citizens Bank Philadelphia Phillies Ballpark,  owners, A/E’s, general contactors, Emseal, and a select group of like-minded waterproofing sub-contractors are proving this approach possible and practical.

If this collaborative and disciplined approach is not adopted as the basic philosophy on any project of any scope, whether a stadium, hospital, school, government building or airport, it can be expected that leaks at expansion joints will constitute a high percentage of post tenancy headaches.

We invite you to make Sika Emseal your partner in success on your expansion joint project:

1-800-526-8365 or techinfo@emseal.com


Movement Joint Gaps are Problematic: Our experience, validated by the research of CIRIA (Construction Industry Research and Information Association), is that the treatment of movement joint gaps in buildings, from design, technology and installation standpoints, are grossly under-emphasized: “Although they are a minor component of the building envelope, joints with sealants are often responsible for defects and failures-sometimes after only a couple of years.”

Expansion joints constitute a small percentage of a construction budget yet, along with other waterproofing-related issues, are responsible for the majority of all post-construction complaints and call-backs.

Our closely held company is committed solely to providing lasting joint-sealing and bridging solutions. We are not distracted by involvement in the offering of other types of products–patching materials, deck coatings, etc.

Results of a New Paradigm: Our single-minded pursuit of new ways of looking at our services and products, has resulted in the supply of millions of feet of sealant materials. Over the last twenty years, for example, more than 1,000,000 LF of parking deck expansion joint material have been installed on projects ranging from small and medium retrofits, to large new construction projects. Through this process we have cultivated relationships with well-respected, regional, national and international design firms, engineering firms, contractors, and owners.

Pre-Installation Quality Assurance: We have developed expansion-joint checklists, and a schematic layout system for use by designers, reps, contractors, and ourselves in communicating expansion joint needs. This system has dramatically improved the quality of information we receive and provided a sound basis on which decisions about choice of product can be made. Additionally, the use of this system has considerably reduced the amount of time all parties spend communicating their needs. Finally, it has provided a means by which costly errors can be avoided during design, fabrication in our factory, and installation.

Attention to Detail: We have developed and are aggressively promoting the full potential of heat welding our Santoprene seals to provide watertight transitions and terminations in the most difficult situations. We are not satisfied with simply supplying material to meet the requirements of cross-section design and we encourage axonometric detailing of these conditions.

Our details for sealing terminations include watertight transitions from joints in decks to vertical structures. We have in the past six years supplied over many thousands of factory welded Santoprene direction changes and terminations.

Installation Quality Assurance: We have instituted material delivery programs that provide contractors with mixing equipment including all accessories as well as, procedures, and training to aid and simplify the installation of our products.

Credibility: Respect and credibility are earned. The list of projects on which we have earned our reputation and the trust of much of our industry is extensive and can be reviewed at our project references page and in our case studies.

Recently completed and ongoing projects include the resealing of the Empire State Building, stadium installations at the new New York Yankees, new New York Mets, Indianapolis Colts, and retrofits at Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lambeau Field, and Gillette stadium.

We have, at the invitation of many of the nations top design and engineering firms, as well as at the Sealant Waterproofing and Restoration Institute (SWRI) and numerous state chapters of the International Concrete Repair Institute  (ICRI), presented very well-received seminars on the treatment of expansion joints.