A question we get asked all the time is “What tools do I need to install Gap Armour?” In most cases the installation is pretty simple and only a few minor tools (some of which you may already have) are needed. Even the tools we are going to suggest can be replaced with other tools that may do the trick as well. Sometimes things get a little tricky and you may need a few power tools such as an angle grinder (below – I’ll explain later).
Get the Old Junk Out
Replacing your expansion joints begins with the extraction of your old wood/mud/debris or whatever is still remaining in your expansion joints. This varys greatly dependent on what you have remaining in your expansion joint and is where you just need to get creative. Typically a screwdriver, chisel or some sort of small prying device paired with a hammer (the heavier the better) is all that is needed to get the old junk out. If the old material is really weathered and worn, and simple pass over with a power washer can be sufficient and the best way to eliminate a sore back the next day. The good news is that even though most expansion joint go down a minimum of 4 inches, you only need to clear out approximately 1-1/2 inches for Gap Armour to drop in. This is because the average depth of our profile is 1-1/4 inches.
Install Gap Armour
For this part of the project you will need a soft hammer or dead-blow hammer. If you choose to go with a dead-blow hammer, choose one that is between 2-3 lbs. This gives you the best weighted ‘pop’ without going so heavy that you need Popeye to help you.
Next you need a cutting tool. If you have some sharp pruning shears this can work, but we use PVC pipe cutters which you can get at one of the major hardware stores for about $10.00. This tool has uses later as I have found that it comes in handy around the house when a pair of scissors is not strong enough or your kids have hidden them in a place that you will accidentally find 6 months from when you need them.
The other two items that I use often are a large chisel and a heavy hammer. These are used when Gap Armour is going into an area that seems to be tough to get in. By simply tapping the sides of Gap Armour while it’s partially in the expansion joint it will give a quick pop, dropping Gap Armour down into the joint. (one of our videos shows this).
The other item that is used occasionally is the angle grinder mentioned above. This is used in extreme cases when 1. you have the wrong size Gap Armour either because you made an error, or had no choice because you expansion joint was in between one of our sizes, or 2. you have a really messed up, uneven expansion joint that needed some TLC to straighten it out. By adding a diamond blade onto the angle grinder you can shave off a small amount of concrete on the interior wall of the joint allowing for a smooth installation of Gap Armour. This tool isn’t need most of the time, but if you have access to an angle grinder, it sure can save the day by opening up those expansion joints that are on the smaller side to that you don’t have to work so hard to get Gap Armour in.
Find Tools (and save some dough)
Here are a few links where you can find all the above tools. Again, 1. you will need 2 tools (soft hammer, cutting device), 2. may need 2 tools (chisel, heavy steel hammer) 3. may also need an extra screwdriver and prying tool for the extracting and 4. will probably not need an angle grinder but if you run into an extreme situation you know how to solve it with this tool.
(but I prefer this – http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200309632_200309632 )
Heavy Steel Hammer – http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result/index/?limit=60&q=hammer
PVC Pipe Cutters – http://www.harborfreight.com/finger-release-ratcheting-pvc-cutter-66971.html (not sure how durable these are, we buy from Lowe’s but if you’re only going one use, it’ll probably do)