How you can be confident in the performance of an expansion joint cover
11 Jul

How you can be confident in the performance of an expansion joint cover

Adam Latham

In construction, expansion joints are a gap between two adjacent structural elements or materials and are designed to accommodate the movement of these elements caused by thermal expansion, contraction, seismic activity, vibrations, or other factors.  

The purpose of an expansion joint cover is to protect and maintain the integrity of an expansion joint, and the cover serves several important functions: 

__ 018Sealing: The cover seals the gap between the two elements, preventing the ingress of water, debris, dust, or other foreign substances. It helps maintain the structural integrity and cleanliness of the joint, preventing potential damage or degradation. 

Flexibility: Expansion joint covers are designed to be flexible, allowing the joint to expand and contract as required. They can absorb the movement and stress caused by thermal or mechanical factors, protecting the adjacent structures from excessive forces, and minimising the risk of cracks or damage. 

Safety: The cover provides a safe and smooth transition between the two elements on either side of the joint. It helps prevent tripping hazards and provides a level surface for pedestrians, wheeled traffic, or equipment to move across. 

Aesthetics: Expansion joint covers can enhance the visual appearance of a structure. They come in various designs, colours, and finishes to complement the architectural or design requirements of the surrounding environment. 

Durability: High-quality expansion joint covers are designed to be durable and long-lasting. They can withstand environmental conditions, UV radiation, chemicals, and repetitive traffic without significant wear or degradation. This helps extend the lifespan of the joint and reduces the need for frequent replacement or maintenance. 

expansion-joints-310x362xIt is however essential to specify and install the correct expansion joint cover for the application. Incorrect specification, poor design and improper installation may result in compromised performance. 

Incorrect Specification: In some cases, the expansion joint covers may not be correctly specified or selected for the specific application or the expected movement of the joint. If the cover is not able to accommodate the anticipated movement or environmental conditions, it can lead to failure.

Incompatible Joint Movement: Expansion joints are designed to move in specific directions, such as axial, lateral, or rotational movement. If the expansion joint cover does not allow for the required movement or if the joint moves in an unexpected manner, it can result in stress on the cover and eventual failure.

Heavy Traffic or Loads: Excessive traffic or heavy loads passing over the expansion joint covers can cause them to wear out or fail prematurely. High-volume vehicular traffic, heavy machinery, or constant impact can lead to material fatigue, deformation, or detachment of the cover. 

Poor Installation: Improper installation is one of the leading causes of expansion joint cover failure. If the cover is not installed correctly or if the manufacturer's instructions are not followed, it can lead to premature failure.

To mitigate the risk of expansion joint cover failure, it is important to consider factors such as anticipated movement, loads, and environmental conditions during the design phase, and select high-quality covers suitable for the specific application and ensure proper installation by following manufacturer guidelines. 

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Latham has been manufacturing superb quality expansion joint covers in Sydney, Australia for 70 years. Precision engineering, end-to-end control and oversight of procurement, manufacturing, and quality control results in the industry’s most reliable and high-performing products.  

The name Latham is synonymous with quality and Latham have been the recipient of over 30 awards including numerous Australian Design Awards. Latham products can be found in many prestigious buildings around the world including the Sydney Opera House, Singapore’s Changi Airport, and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.   

To find out more about Latham products, please visit To talk to a Latham product expert, call 1300 LATHAM (528 426) or email 


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Adam Latham

As the Technical Sales & Product Development Manager at Latham Australia, I am responsible for ensuring that all our products will meet the specified needs of architects and the buildings they design, now and into the future. Along with mentoring and supporting our sales team, I work closely with our factory production team, direct clients and distribution partners to develop new products to satisfy an ever changing market. All in all, my job involves knowing everything there is to know about the Latham products - how we manufacture them, what they are used for and how much our customers know they can rely on them.

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