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Backer Rods and Their Uses in Construction

May 05, 2016

Main Uses

The construction industry relies on backer rods, which are mainly utilized for filling up gaps between concrete panels. They are also used around doors, windows, wall joints, and foundations for additional insulation. Backer rods can also be used to fill up joints between tiles and other types of materials. They masterfully seal up cracks and can be supplemented with sealant or mortar. Backer rods are made of foam, which is what gives them their great seal.

Secondary uses for backer rods include applications in decorative wall paneling, stonework, and countertops. The main idea is to be able to use the foam in filling most of the void in a fissure. This way, the chinking or caulking material can be immediately applied. A major advantage of this method is that this creates a watertight and airtight seal.

Backer rods are available in a wide range of diameters, from .25 inches to 4 inches. Thinner rods are available in rolls, while thicker rods are packaged in cartons.  

Types of Backer Rods

There are two main types of backer rods: open cell and closed cell. The primary distinction has to do with foam density. Open-cell backer rods are distinguished by their breathable and airy characteristic, while closed-cell backer rods are noticeably denser. Both types of rod have their unique advantages.

Open-Cell Rods are simple to install because they are soft and pliable. Working with them is deemed fast and easy. Open-cell rods are typically designated for indoor use, and are great for ornamental tilework or stonework.

Closed-Cell Rods are much firmer and denser, making them perfect for outdoor use as well as insulation. Closed-cell backer rods can repel moisture, offering a water-tight seal as well as an air-tight seal. While they are slightly more difficult to work with, heavy duty jobs require the use of closed-cell backer rods because they are more sturdy.