Your garage is an essential part of your home where you keep your car stored, your tools organized, and your weekends filled with projects. Over time, the floor in your garage can show signs of severe wear and tear. Read on to understand when you need a garage floor replacement.
There are a few types of damage to consider when considering how to repair your garage floors. The four main types of damage are:
- Low Spots
It is important to note that just because some damage may be present does not mean the whole garage floor needs to be replaced entirely. Other options, such as epoxy flooring, can extend the life of your existing garage floor.
So, when is it time for a garage floor replacement, and how do you know when to start budgeting for an update? Here are five telltale signs that it’s the time your garage floors should be replaced.
Table of Contents
- You See Some Serious Cracking
- The Floor Just Isn’t Holding Up
- The Floor Seems to Be Sinking
- The Floors are Old and Worn
- Your Garage Floor is Just Plain Ugly
- Enhance Your Home With A Garage Floor Replacement
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. You See Some Serious Cracking
Cracks in your garage floors are not only unattractive, but they can also cause damage to your tires and your vehicle. It could be time for a garage floor replacement if you notice severe cracking and buckling.
The main culprit of floor cracks is something called the freeze-thaw cycle. In a nutshell, the garage floor “freezes” during the winter and then “thaws” during the warmer months.
Temperature changes can cause the garage floor to expand and contract. This process can cause the concrete to crack and buckle over time.
Since concrete is a porous material, it soaks up water from humidity and rain on warm days. It can even soak up water in the winter due to snowmelt.
When the floors absorb extra water and then freeze as temperatures drop, it can expand the concrete substantially. This puts severe pressure on the floors and can cause them to rupture and buckle.
If you replace your garage floor, treat it with a protective sealant for concrete. This can help to prevent excess moisture and water from absorbing into the surface, which can cause cracks to happen all over again.
2. The Floor Just Isn’t Holding Up
If you’re starting to notice an uneven garage floor, constant chipping, or other damage, it might be because the original floor was installed incorrectly. Wear and tear is completely normal, but severe damage that continues to get worse is something you should address.
So, why would your garage floor seem weak and brittle? There are several reasons for this common problem.
First, if there’s nothing but dirt under the concrete, it doesn’t have a good foundation. Garage floors should be installed over gravel to keep the floor stable and sturdy.
Talk to a professional who can look closely at the soil under your home. Compacted gravel is an excellent option to serve as a sturdy base for concrete floors.
If the concrete isn’t thick enough, it could also be the reason your garage floor seems worn out. Your garage floor should be four inches wide and ideally closer to five or six inches thick.
The thicker the concrete, the stronger the slab will be. To save money, you can add another inch or two to your existing garage floor.
Improper reinforcement is another reason your garage floor might seem unstable. Rebar or wire mesh should be added to concrete to reduce the cracking and to hold everything tightly together.
When you install a new floor, opt for rebar if possible. It only costs a bit more than mesh and will keep your floor intact for much longer.
Chipping of garage floors can also be spalling, where the top layer of concrete peels or crumbles away. This happens from the freeze-thaw cycle that can occur in areas with drastic temperature changes during the year.
3. The Floor Seems to Be Sinking
You might notice that your garage floor appears uneven or even seems like it’s sinking. You’re not entirely wrong if there is improper drainage around the garage.
Over time, water underneath the garage floor can penetrate the soil and cause the entire thing to sink. This is usually a result of insufficient drainage that should be redirecting water away from your home and garage.
Other signs of improper drainage include crumbling, chipped, or cracked floors. Without proper drainage, you could end up with severe structural damage over time, affecting the rest of your home.
Make sure you don’t have pooling water sitting on the garage floor. These are called low spots and are a red flag for severe damage. It’s also a serious safety hazard.
Whenever it rains, look carefully to see if you can determine where the drainage problems are happening. This will help you redirect the water for the future.
Ensure all drainage pipes and gutters are clear of debris and that water flows freely from home. Your garage floor could be improperly graded, allowing water to pool and backflow back into the garage.
Talk to a professional before installing the new floor replacement. They can help you determine how to re-grade the area and what type of drainage you’ll need to keep water at bay.
Exterior French drains can help to direct water around the garage. If you’re prone to flooding, consider installing a sump pump in the garage for extra protection against water damage.
4. The Floors are Old and Worn
Every component of your home has a lifespan, and that includes the garage floor. The life of your floors dramatically depends on the quality of work, the plumbing in and around the garage, and the weather where you live.
If you have an older home, your garage floor must be replaced to make it look new again.
Excess weight can put strain and pressure on the floor over time. Combine the importance of one or more vehicles with years of foot traffic, storage cabinets, heavy toolboxes, and landscaping items like lawnmowers, and you’re sure to see wear after a while.
Concrete that is exposed to things like chemicals and other liquids will experience deterioration in time. Shifts in temperature and moisture fluctuations all create the perfect storm for garage floor damage.
If you weren’t around for the original installation of your garage floors, the worn-out appearance could also result from improper setup. The floor sub-base may have been installed at the wrong depth.
An incorrect cement mixture could have been used 10 or 15 years ago. The wrong compacting ratio might have been utilized, which means the soil settled incorrectly.
Other problems may include the expansion joints being placed in the wrong locations or the floor being graded incorrectly. Some builders cut corners to get homes constructed faster. If so, it could mean that your garage floor wears out faster than you expect.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do after your garage floor was installed improperly other than to replace it. Take a close look at the wear and tear and decide if you think it’s worth the investment.
On average, your garage floor should last around 20-25 years. If it’s older than that, it’s probably time for an update.
One thing you can do to extend the life of your garage floor is to install a floor covering like epoxy or rubber tiles before you see any floor damage. This can help keep harmful chemicals off the concrete, as well as help deter chipping and cracking.
5. Your Garage Floor is Just Plain Ugly
An ugly garage floor is uninspiring, and you’ll probably avoid spending time there just because of the aesthetic. Since garages undergo a ton of wear and tear, it’s not surprising that they can show marks and stains as time goes on.
Tire tracks from rubber are a common issue when it comes to the way your floor looks. Stains from spilled paint, lawn treatments, and chemicals can cause discoloration of the concrete.
If you drop a tool or something heavy on the garage floor, it can cause it to crack or chip by accident. Overall, heavy use of this space is bound to cause issues with your floors over time.
Dirt and debris can build up in your garage, creating cobwebs and dark, dingy corners. Clean your garage regularly and sweep the floors to keep it clean and tidy.
From tire skidmarks to stains, an ugly garage floor will inspire you to get it replaced. It depends on the severity of the marks or unsightly looks as to whether or not you should do a complete floor replacement.
Sometimes, you can refinish the floors using an epoxy garage floor treatment kit. This is an easy option that’s not difficult to apply, and you can usually complete it in one to two days.
Install rubber tiles on the floor to protect the concrete underneath if you’re on a budget. These floor tiles come in many different colors to fit your unique style.
You can also clean the floors thoroughly using a solution to remove stubborn marks left behind by tires and chemical spills.
Of course, you can always replace the whole floor if you prefer. Look for new products that will make your garage look modern and updated. Colored and stamped concrete are great choices to give the garage added dimension and style.
You may wonder what goes into concrete garage floor replacement. It can be complicated, so talk to a reputable garage floor replacement contractor. But the basic steps are as follows:
- Empty the entire garage
- The contractor will demolish the old floor
- Analyze the foundation to determine if it needs reinforcement
- Install geotextile membrane
- Install plumbing for the new drainage system
- Fill ¾ inch with gravel and compact it
- Put vapor barrier in place
- Install fiber mesh or wire mesh reinforcements
- Concrete mix poured and allowed to set
Although your flooring may look dry after a few days, please do not use it! Experts say to allow 28 days for your floor to attain its full strength, and you can start using your garage again.
Protect your new garage floor after it is replaced. Many floor protection options exist, such as using a protective sealant specifically for concrete, installing epoxy flooring, or purchasing rubber floor tiles.
Enhance Your Home with a Garage Floor Replacement
If you notice any of the five signs listed above, it could be time for a total floor replacement. Damage like crumbling, peeling and flaking, or pitting often means you should consider replacing the floors as soon as possible.
Shifting can also occur due to the freeze-thaw cycle, which can cause foundation damage over time if ignored. Whether cracking and crumbling or showing signs of wear, a new floor will do wonders for this vital part of your home.
Be sure to talk to a garage floor specialist to weigh your options. Some wear and tear may be easily fixed with properly installed floor covering, while other damage may need a complete overhaul by removing the flooring and pouring new concrete.
For all your garage needs, including storage and floors, visit our website and contact us today for a free in-home estimate. If you act fast, you can take advantage of our special deal! Take $250 off any flooring project for a limited time only.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Should a Garage Floor Last?
Experts suggest that a garage floor should last between 20-25 years. Of course, this depends on the quality of the original job, the plumbing around the garage, and the weather where you live.
If a concrete garage floor is poured using an incorrect cement mixture, you could start seeing issues as soon as 10 – 15 years.
Why Should You Not Epoxy Your Garage Floor?
Although epoxy flooring is often a good choice, it is not a solution for every garage. Reasons to not get epoxy flooring would be:
- You do welding projects in your garage – epoxy is not fired or heatproof
- You often use abrasive materials like salt and sand – these can damage the epoxy’s surface
- Your entire floor needs replacing – some garage floors are too damaged and need to be completely replaced
When Should I Be Concerned About My Garage Floor Cracks?
You will want to pay attention to cracks as soon as they begin, as they could be a sign of some major damage underneath. The best idea is to talk to an expert. They are trained to know what is simply a wear and tear crack and what cracks are cause for concern.
When Should I Replace My Garage Floors?
The answer is it depends. It is possible to repair garage floors with epoxy flooring in some cases. This would help with normal garage wear and tear. However, if major cracking, spalling, or low spots are present, it may be time for a complete replacement.
What is the Cost For Concrete Floor Replacement?
The cost to completely replace a garage floor can run anywhere between $7-$15 a square foot. The price will depend on accessibility, the existing floor’s condition, the reinforcements used, and the thickness of the concrete.
Here are a few related resources on this topic.
- Garage Floor Replacement – A Homeowners Guide
- What to Consider When Choosing a Residential Garage Flooring Company
- A Guide to Residential Garage Flooring
- The Durability in the Details: Garage Flooring Options
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