Top 5 Tips to Wake Up your Tired Garage Floor
In 2021, concrete is still the most popular flooring choice for garages across the nation — and for good reason. Concrete is still one of the strongest, most durable, and longest-lasting construction materials available. Unfortunately, while it’s able to put up quite a fight against extreme weather conditions and heavy vehicles, all of that constant tire and foot traffic takes a toll over time.
Gradual overuse and continual impact detract from the garage floor’s appearance and causes dangerous vulnerabilities that can jeopardize the structural integrity of the whole slab. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to give any tired garage floor a boost. Read on to see the best methods and tools to bring your old garage flooring back to life.
Rinse and Revitalize Old Garage Flooring
Before getting into more complicated garage floor renovations, your flooring might benefit from an old-fashioned bath. Ground-in dirt and oil stains build up over time and can mask an otherwise perfectly good garage floor. With a little elbow grease and some common cleansers, you can easily improve the concrete’s overall appearance.
Remove stubborn oil and grease stains. New spills can be soaked up with granulated cat litter and swept up with a stiff brush. Older stains just need a good scrubbing using any number of household products: a paste made from powdered laundry detergent, baking soda and water, grease-cutting dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, or full-strength bleach.
When trying to remove rust stains and excessive smears of dried mortar and grout, you will need a more powerful solvent called muriatic acid. Please use with extreme caution if you work with this last solvent—wear protective clothing, provide yourself plenty of ventilation, and be careful during dilution. Proceed according to the manufacturer’s directions 100% of the time.
Once you’ve treated individual spots, you can use a pressure washer and biodegradable detergent (or even simply a stiff scrub brush, a bucket filled with warm soapy water, and elbow grease) to remove lingering mold, mildew, ground-in dirt, and paint drips from the garage surface.
Mold, mildew, and algae stains, as well as mortar or grout discoloration, might require treatment with solvents, including TSP (trisodium phosphate). Then apply a clear, water-repellent concrete sealer over the newly-clean surface to help prevent future dirt, grease, and grime buildup.
Garage Floor Resurfacing for a Fresh Face
With the beating your garage floor takes from vehicles, foot traffic, and the elements, you might notice spiderweb-like cracking, flaking, or spalling when the top layer of the concrete breaks off and exposes the patchy and pitted aggregate underneath. Luckily, most of these issues are strictly cosmetic, as long as they are quickly tended to. Waiting too long after you notice the early stages of spalling could cause it to spread and compromise the integrity of the surface beyond repair.
Go with high-quality, professional resurfacing products to address spalling and other imperfections right away. To apply, mix the product with water according to the ratio specified on the packaging, and stir for a few minutes until it reaches a lump-free consistency. Like many resurfacers, they remain spreadable for about 30 minutes after a batch is mixed, so how much you prep and the square footage you cover will depend on how much you can do within that specific time frame.
Work on one section at a time, especially if you’re resurfacing a large area. Wet the old concrete with clean water and make sure there is no standing water before applying the mixture to prefill any minor cracks or hollows. Once you’ve addressed these, spread the rest of your resurfacing product on in a thin, even layer up to 1/8-inch thick. Thanks to the product’s speedy curing, you’ll have a flawless finish that you can walk across as soon as 60 minutes after you finish your last section. Find some garage flooring inspiration from Ohio Garage Interiors.
Even out Dips and Low Points
It’s all too common for garage floors to see dips, depressions, or hollows caused by settling or moisture intrusion. Make sure you work to reverse these imperfections before they cause deeper structural problems. Smooth out the surface using a concrete leveler product.
For results as good as the professionals, prepare the surface of the existing concrete by applying a concrete leveler primer to prevent pinholes and bubbles in the leveling layer. Then mix enough concrete leveler with water to cover the entire surface of the garage floor while filling in the depression.
Apply your concrete leveler compound across the concrete surface, and get into the corners and along the edges using a long-handled squeegee. Then, let gravity to do the rest. Within four hours, a smooth, level surface will have formed that’s safe for foot traffic; after 24 hours, you’ll even be able to roll the car back in.
Spot Check and Fill in Cracks
Even the most well-laid concrete floors can develop structural damage like crumbling, chipping, or deep cracks. This is usually a result of something as simple as concrete freezing and thawing in the changing seasons. To tackle these issues before they get out of hand, make your minor concrete repairs before the need for a complete garage floor renovation.
Clean the area that is to be repaired thoroughly, removing any crumbling concrete. Saturate the surface, then mix the necessary amount of quick setting cement for one to three minutes until it’s reached a smooth, peanut-butter consistency. Apply the mixture to the damaged area, packing it to the level you desire, and smooth the concrete with a trowel or broom. Once the surface no longer shows a moist sheen, you can finish by water-curing for at least an hour.
Keep Spot Checking for Future Garage Floor Damage
When it comes to preventing or repairing structural damage in your garage, the job is unfortunately never really finished. Continued vigilance on your part and taking the time to repeat the above steps will guarantee your ability to keep your garage floor strong and beautiful. If you need a little help, the garage flooring renovation experts at Ohio Garage Interiors are here.
About OGI’s Signature Garage Flooring Solutions
Locally owned and operated by the father and son team of Chad & Scott Gleske, Ohio Garage Interiors is the top choice for garage enhancement. Their team has worked hard to build a name as one of the best garage renovation companies in Northeast Ohio. Learn more about how OGI can help keep your garage or basement floor beautiful for years to come.