How To Fix a Cracked Concrete Garage Floor
Are you starting to notice cracks in your concrete garage floor? Whether they just showed up or you have been waiting to make repairs for a while, cracks are an unsightly issue that most homeowners simply cannot stand. Performing the repairs yourself may seem like a daunting task. However, there are some handy tips and tricks to make the process simpler, so you can restore your garage floor and save some money.
Why do concrete garage floors crack?
Concrete is a naturally rigid, inflexible material, so it is bound to crack over time. Bare concrete is vulnerable to several different forms of wear and tear, especially in places like Ohio with frequently shifting weather. Warmer weather causes the concrete to expand while cold weather causes it to contract. Over the course of multiple seasonal cycles, this fluctuation between hot and cold will inevitably cause cracking.
Cold weather also introduces thaw cycles. This a process through which water enters your garage floor’s pores and existing cracks, freezes, and melts once the weather warms up again. Water naturally expands as it freezes, so this process can make small cracks larger over time. Ohio’s unpredictable weather can often lead to several thaw cycles in a single month, making it a significant threat for concrete garage floors.
Contraction or control joints are another common cause of cracking. These are the lines that you see in your garage floor that separates the floor into two or more slabs. Contraction joints are designed to direct cracks down a preset path and prevent cracking across the entire slab. However, these joints can sometimes increase the frequency of small crack formation.
Thankfully, most cracks you will find in a concrete garage floor will be minor. They will not pose any significant structural damage and are mostly a cosmetic issue. So, performing the repair yourself will not be nearly as troublesome.
How to repair cracks in your concrete garage floor
Step 1: Choosing the right repair materials
You can find concrete crack filler products at virtually any hardware or home improvement stores. The best of these products will contain some form of epoxy, polyurea, or polyurethane material. These materials will cure and create a strong bond with the concrete. In fact, these materials are stronger than the concrete itself and have the added benefit of impermeability to water.
This class of crack filling materials can also be painted or covered with an epoxy topcoat. So, they are the best option if you are not only looking to repair your garage floor but also make some stylistic changes.
In addition, avoid any crack fillers that consist of water-based formulas or latex. You will likely see these products at the hardware store for significantly lower prices than their epoxy counterparts. However, these cannot be sanded or painted and will eventually peel or chip, requiring further repairs and more spending. Although the initial price is slightly higher, epoxy crack fillers are the most effective and long-lasting.
Step 2: Chiseling and cleaning
The concrete crack repairing process begins with a process called “chasing the crack.” This involves a hammer and cold chisel, which will be used to break off any edges and debris in the crack. Chasing the crack simply requires positioning the chisel at an angle parallel to the crack. Then you begin steadily hitting the chisel with a hammer and gradually chase the entire crack.
Once you have finished chasing the crack, use a vacuum to clear out any remaining debris and scrub the crack with a wire brush. The wire brush will remove any other weakened concrete in the crack, prepping the concrete for the filler materials. After brushing, perform another quick vacuuming, and you can begin applying the crack filling products.
Step 3: Filling the crack
First and foremost, read the directions of your specific crack filling product carefully. All products have variations in their application processes, so it is best to be as precise and thorough as possible. Once you have worked the filler into the cracks, make sure there are no air bubbles present and double-check for low points that may need extra filler. Then, use a trowel to smooth out the crack filler as much as possible before it cures.
Once the product has finished curing, sand and grind the filled cracks until they are smooth and at an even level with the rest of your floor. This will ensure that your repairs will not be visible through any paints or epoxy you apply afterward. Congratulations! You have officially repaired the cracks in your concrete garage floor!
When do you need to call a professional?
The majority of cracks you will encounter should not be cause for alarm. Most are cosmetic cracks and stress fractures that only require a quick fix. However, there are cracks that will signal deeper structural issues with your concrete garage floor. For example, if one side of the crack is higher than the other or there are bulges in the concrete, you should contact a local concrete restoration contractor.
Ohio Garage Interiors (OGI) is a leading provider of garage floor resurfacing. So, not only can we repair the cracks in your garage flooring and repair structural issues, but we can also apply a new, high-strength epoxy coating to your floor. If you believe your flooring may have serious structural problems, contact OGI today to schedule an inspection. We will send one of our repair contractors to your home to survey the damages and provide you with a quote free of charge!