Are You Thinking of Attempting to Repair Your Garage Floor?
Do Not Fix Your Garage Floor Before Reading This
Has your concrete garage floor recently given you trouble and headaches? Do you want to restore your floor and protect it from further damage? Your first instinct may be to run to your local hardware store and buy some quick-fix products and solve the problems before they get any worse. For smaller cosmetic issues, this may be the best route.
However, many issues in concrete floors go deeper than you might expect. In fact, performing a quick patch job may mask a larger issue that can lead to serious structural damage in the future. So, if you are planning on doing some DIY repairs or even hiring a professional, do not fix your garage floor before reading this!
What is wrong with your garage floor?
Concrete is a strong and reliable material that is ideal for many forms of construction. However, its natural porosity and inflexibility leave it vulnerable to wear and tear. In the state of Ohio, unpredictable weather is a given with shifting temperatures and humidity all year round. As a result, concrete repeatedly shrinks and expands, inevitably forming cracks over time.
Ohio winters also introduce thaw cycles, which are particularly dangerous for concrete garage floors. Thaw cycles are a process where water infiltrates the pores and capillaries in your concrete garage floor. The water will then freeze and expand, causing gradual damage beneath the surface.
In Ohio, several thaw cycles can occur over the course of a single winter, and road salts can expedite the process. As a result, thaw cycles can cause significant damage in just a couple of years.
But what issues should you be looking out for? What can weather and thaw cycles do to your concrete garage flooring?
Cracks are the most common issue in concrete garage floors and usually the easiest to spot. They are typically thin, long breaks in the concrete that vary in length, but they can also grow wider with other forms of weathering.
How did these cracks appear on your floor? Well, even something as simple as a poorly performed installation can easily lead to cracks, especially if the concrete mix was too wet or dried too quickly. Environmental issues like humidity and thaw cycles are also a leading cause of cracking.
One cause that is often overlooked is control or expansion joints. These joints are designed to allow the natural expansion of concrete throughout the year and prevent cracks from spreading to the entire concrete slab. However, if they are not designed properly, they can make these issues more frequent.
Thankfully, most cracks on your garage floor are cosmetic and can be fixed with common crack filler compounds.
Pitting & Spalling
Pitting and spalling are often mistaken for one or the other as they look pretty similar at first glance. If you are having trouble discerning which of the two you are dealing with, you may need the help of a professional to diagnose the issue.
Pitting comes in the form of many small, deep holes that go much further into the concrete than spalling. This is usually caused by poor installation with an incorrect mix of concrete or old age. As a result, this issue is more likely to spread throughout the entire floor.
Spalling, on the other hand, is a direct result of thaw cycles. The natural progression of thaw cycles slowly chips away at the structural integrity of the concrete surface. This causes the concrete to crumble or peel away. In Ohio, spalling can form in just a couple of seasonal cycles, especially if your floor is exposed to road salt.
Laitance & Efflorescence
Laitance and efflorescence are not as common as the previous issues, but they are caused by similar environmental factors. Both are a result of water infiltrating the concrete.
Laitance is actually a natural aspect of bare concrete. In fact, it is why your garage gets dusty for seemingly no reason. However, more severe laitance stems from the concrete mix. If the installer used a mix with too much water, the top layer of the concrete will crumble and leave a sand-like substance behind.
Efflorescence poses less of a structural threat but is definitely a nuisance. If water is currently moving through your garage floor, it can carry any salt in the concrete to the surface. Once the water evaporates, it creates a chalk-white salt stain on the floor. Sealing your floor is the best solution for this issue.
When should you call in professional help?
Some of these issues are more cosmetic in nature, so you may not need to perform any serious repairs. However, they may be a result of deeper issues that can threaten the structural integrity of the floor and even your safety. Here are some common signs of structural defects in garage flooring:
- Cracks with one side raised significantly higher than the other
- Low spots in the floor with cracks or spalling
- The floor always feels wet to the touch
- There is standing water and puddles persist after absorption
Many of these symptoms are signs of water accumulating under your flooring, which can lead to serious damages that require expensive repairs. So, it is better to treat them before they get any worse.
If your garage flooring currently shows signs of any of the above issues, contact a professional immediately. A professional can find the cause of the problem, repair the flooring, and prevent future issues. Ohio Garage Interiors is a leading provider of garage flooring resurfacing and repair services. Schedule an inspection today for a free quote and one of our contractors can help you develop a plan to restore your garage floor!