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 start to show signs of serious wear and tear. Read on to understand when you need a garage floor replacement.
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 time your garage floors should be replaced.
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. If you notice severe cracking and buckling, it could be time for a garage floor replacement.
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.
As temperatures change, it 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 serious pressure on the floors and can cause them to rupture and buckle.
If you notice any kind of damage like crumbling, peeling and flaking, or pitting, you should consider replacing the floors as soon as you can. Shifting can also occur as a result of the freeze-thaw cycle, which can cause foundation damage over time if it’s ignored.
When you replace your garage floor, treat it with a protective sealant made 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 something like gravel to keep the floor stable and sturdy.
Talk to a professional who can take a closer look at the soil under your home. Compacted gravel is a good 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 at least four inches thick, and ideally closer to five or six inches thick.
The thicker the concrete, the stronger the slab will be. You can opt to add another inch or two to your existing garage floor to save money if possible.
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.
3. The Floor Seems to Be Sinking
You might notice that your garage floor appears to be uneven, or it might even seem as if it’s sinking. You’re not completely 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 the right drainage, you could end up with some serious structural damage over time, and it could also affect the rest of your home, too.
Make sure you don’t have pooling water sitting on the garage floor. This can be a red flag, and 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.
Make sure all drainage pipes and gutters are clear of debris and that water is flowing freely away from the 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. If you have an older home, it’s likely that your garage floor needs to be replaced just to make it look new again.
Excess weight can put strain and pressure on the floor over time. Combine the weight 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 come together to 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 can also be a result of 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 that the expansion joints were placed in the wrong locations, or that the floor was graded incorrectly. Some builders cut corners to get homes constructed faster. If so, it could mean that your garage floor is wearing 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.
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 some 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 really depends on the severity of the marks or unsightly looks as to whether or not you should do a complete floor replacement.
In some cases, 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. Clean the floors thoroughly using a solution made to remove stubborn marks left behind by tires and chemical spills.
Of course, you can always just replace the whole floor if you prefer. Look for new products that will make your garage look modern and updated. Colored concrete and stamped concrete are a great choice to give the garage added dimension and style.
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. Whether it’s cracking and crumbling or showing signs of wear, a new floor will do wonders for this important part of your home.
For all your garage needs including storage and floors, visit our website and contact us today for a free in-home estimate.
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