If you’re the owner of a facility with a parking, you know how important it is to keep up with repair and replacement maintenance tasks.
Do you know how damaging water, ice melt and other moisture is to the structural integrity of your parking structure?
Because reinforced concrete is the primary material used for parking structures, water damage is a major concern, and is often hard to find until its too late. Water intrusion is one of the most detrimental issues to parking structures, typically leading to severe structural deterioration. Moisture can freeze and corrode reinforcing steel causing expansion and spalling of concrete.
According to our own Scott Weiland PE., SE., PCC.: “The top level of your parking structure not only provides possibly the least desirable parking spaces; it serves as the roof of the facility. Controlling water in the form of rain or melting snow at this level is the least expensive way to extend the life of your parking structure and minimize maintenance costs. Controlling the water runoff involves shedding water to drains as quickly as possible.
Ponding water, defined as standing water for more than 48 hours, is unacceptable as it saturates the concrete and leaks to reinforcing and lower levels. The installation of supplemental drains can easily and permanently address ponding. Urethane joint sealant at the top level is exposed to UV Sunlight and tends to break down within a few years. The breakdown of this product leads to cracks in the sealant allowing leaks to the levels below. This leads to degradation at the lower levels like that described above at the top level.”
Indications You Need Parking Structure Restoration
- Water leakage: Water and parking structures don’t mix! Leaking water is a clear sign that your structure may need repairs. The longer leaks are left unattended, the more expensive the consequences can become.
- 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 corrode and expand.
- 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 resulting in spalled concrete. 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!