A parking structure provides an essential service. Whether your parking structure is a multi-level garage or a few below-grade levels under a high-rise building, proactive condition assessment and diligent maintenance are imperative.
If problems are ignored, the harsh environment in garages, including corrosive deicing chemicals, freeze-thaw cycling, and the stress of thousands of vehicles traversing the deck, will quickly accelerate deterioration into hazardous conditions.
Did you know a protective coating in your parking structure can keep your facility performing well and save money? The right coating can reduce your maintenance over time by keeping your surfaces clean, good-looking, and intact.
They can also safeguard your building’s interior and exterior from the elements and mishaps that can occur because of constant vehicle traffic.
What are the options for parking garage coatings?
You should explore a variety of coating options, including those meant for extreme environments:
- Epoxy: Untreated concrete can wear out easily, and polished concrete lacks the traction necessary to make smooth turns in the confined spaces of a busy garage. Epoxy flooring can in crease the strength of the flooring while ensuring the underlying slab is protected from damage. Epoxy can help repel oil, grease, brake fluid, and de-icing salts.
- Slip-resistant floor coatings: From wet spots under leaky vehicles to coffee spills, garages with slick floors can be dangerous. An aluminum oxide additive to a floor coating helps prevent dangerous slip and falls.
- Moisture vapor-controlled coatings: Rain, sleet, snow, and humidity can wreak havoc on concrete. Waterproofing is essential to the long-term integrity of parking structures, especially since they’re primarily made of concrete. In cold climates, moisture can undergo freeze-thaw cycles that can cause significant damage. Read more about the importance of dealing with cracks and water ponding here.
- Don’t forget safety painting: Your parking garage needs to meet all relevant safety standards set by the federal government and your state. If you choose a protective flooring option like epoxy, make sure you choose a safety paint that shows up effectively. Specialized primers can also be used on your walls so striping and signage are visible.
Facility managers have a tough job when it comes to maintaining parking garages and protecting them from deterioration. How can you avoid costly repairs?
Indications You Need Parking Structure Restoration
- Ponding: Standing water is a huge issue in parking structures that can cause a tremendous amount of damage over time if not addressed early. Drain installation can prevent future, larger problems.
- Expansion joint failure: Detecting expansion joint problems and reacting quickly to make repairs is very beneficial in the long run. Failed joints provide another avenue for water to reach the reinforcing steel and connector plates.
- Horizontally or vertically cracked concrete: Concrete that has spalled or is cracking represents areas of potential structural damage that needs to be addressed. Cracks let water reach the structure’s reinforcing steel causing it to erode.
- Exposed rebar: If you can see rebar, it deserves immediate attention. Introduced to water, rebar corrodes and expands up to eight times its original size. This is due to water penetration into the concrete.
Avoid Costly Repairs by Maintaining Your Parking Structure
Water is the number 1 cause of parking structure deterioration. Water-saturated concrete can freeze, expand, and spall. Combined with oxygen, water can also cause corrosion of the concrete reinforcing. Exposure to deicing salts accelerates this process. As reinforcing steel expands as it rusts, this process also leads to concrete spalling. Spalled concrete provides less cover or protection of the reinforcing which leads to further (and accelerated) deterioration if not repaired in a timely manner.
The IEI Structural Engineering Advantage
Our engineers at IEI specialize in parking structure restoration. We’ll walk your facility and let you know of any conditions that require immediate attention and what maintenance activities you can perform now to extend the life of your facility. Give us a call today!