What you need to consider when selecting expansion joint covers for airport facilities.

Just like any other building or structure, airport terminals deal with the same expansion control issues:

Thermal - Heat, Cold and Humidity

  • Occurs from the heat of the noon sun to the cool of the night
  • Expansion/ contraction in one direction only
  • Daily occurrence in every building around the world

Seismic - Earthquakes and Tremors

  • Multi-directional movement coupled with vertical and/or horizontal shear
  • Regionally based phenomena
  • Requires the joint cover to be able to move in 3 dimension directions simultaneously

Airport Passenger and Luggage Traffic


Designers will likely take into account the tremendous numbers of passengers and luggage that will traverse all the floor joints, especially in concourses and gate areas. But, it’s also important to take into account the following other traffic.

There’s luggage, and then there’s LUGGAGE – scenes like this one happen almost every minute, especially in baggage claim areas. Let’s do the math based on this picture – at 45 lbs. apiece, that a total uniform load of 185 lbs.

But, you also have to take into account the concentrated load at the point the wheels contact the expansion joint cover. So, it’s important to specify joint cover systems with smooth transitions, to prevent lateral shear damage to the cover edge, and with adequate cover thickness to prevent deformation

Heavy-Duty Wheeled Traffic

Continuing with this potential for increased load on what we think would be pedestrian spaces, here are other wheeled conveyances to plan for when it comes to expansion joint systems:


Expansion Joint Cover Aesthetics

When you think about it, airports may be the only part of a city that passengers will see; this is especially true when dealing with connecting flights. In a way, the airport is also an ambassador for the city, and it’s why many airport authorities want their particular facility to stand out.

In addition to beautiful and groundbreaking facade designs, the interiors also feature large artwork installations, plenty of daylight and beautiful interior materials and fixtures.

If there’s one thing designers hate… it’s anything that ruins sight-lines and detracts from the interior space. That’s especially true of expansion joints. And we would agree.

That’s why JointMaster® offers expansion joint covers like the 501 Series Pan System. Its 1 7/8" (46mm) deep pan is ideal for floor finishes with increased depth, such as marble, granite, limestone and paver systems.

The 501 series and other JointMaster joint covers incorporate attractive, flush Santoprene® seals, which are easy to clean, prevent water and dirt trapping, and eliminate the need for calking seals after movement. The seals also carry the Greenguard® Gold certification.

Watch this video to see how the 501 Series Pan Expansion Joint System is a durable and aesthetic solution for any high traffic area.