Parking Deck Repairs and Restoration

Is your garage deck starting to break up under your feet? Do you feel drips of water from above as you tour your indoor parking structure? Do nasty rust stains and dark puddles of water leave you feeling unsettled about the condition of your garage? What causes these problems? What kind of repairs do you need? What else can you do to make your garage shine?

Parking garages are relatively simple structures—they are meant to stand up, keep out the elements, and provide a flat place to store your car. They don’t need to be pretty to work (but it helps!!), and as such it’s not always easy to understand the urgency of concrete damage you might have.

As your garage ages, it will naturally accumulate the signs of wear—surfaces will become dirty, cracks will start to appear and spread, and you will start to notice spalling[i]. (This is perfectly normal! Most garages start showing signs of minor deterioration within the first 15-20 years.) So what causes this? Cars put weight on the top-side of the slab, but why is my soffit spalling??

The soffit refers to the material forming a ceiling. Here a large spall has formed on the underside of a garage’s entrance ramp.

A spall is an area of broken concrete, and often resembles a concrete “pot hole.”

What you might not know is that the main cause of spalling is not from cars or impact! Instead, spalls are usually a sign that water and salt are penetrating through the concrete slab and are rusting the reinforcing steel within. As we all know, steel expands when it rusts, and rebar is no exception—as rebar rusts, it will expand, causing the concrete around it to crack and eventually spall.

Spall repairs are needed to “button up” your concrete slab to protect it from water, but they also serve to regain strength of the structure. Our restoration team would mark the area for repair, cut and remove the damaged concrete, clean the reinforcing steel, and replace the missing concrete.

Soffit repairs follow similar steps, but a thicker concrete is used so that it “sticks” overhead.

The earlier you catch these types of repairs, the better. Keep in mind, the more your slab is open to water, the faster it will deteriorate!

Joint sealants are in place around every garage, in expansion joints, control joints, and precast tee joints. Their main purpose is to keep water from entering the garage since we already know that standing water is not good for concrete. You can see these dangling overhead and if you can see the sky when looking up in your garage, it is time to get these replaced.

Expansion joints system with debonded sealant

Precast double-tee joints missing a majority of their sealant

Unsealed control joint

Garage expansion joint with missing sealant

Rout and seal repairs are needed to reseal cracks on garage slabs. These cracks typically arise from structural “settling” and are completely natural. PCM Services restoration team will grind these cracks to establish a “V”-shaped groove before filling them with urethane sealant. The final repair should accommodate joint movement and prevent water from passing through.

Elastomeric Coatings helps protect your concrete flooring against water and salts and the deterioration that comes with them. Typically used in conjunction with epoxy or other high performance flooring systems, elastomeric coatings provide long-term support in highly demanding environments. Most are seen on the tops of parking decks or along pedestrian walkways and are used to “seal” the garage and prevent water penetration. These coatings are typically only applied to “elevated slabs,” or slabs that have floors above and below. Rarely are these applied to the ground floor of a garage since the moisture from the ground rises and could interfere with the coating material.

Garage Painting (before and after) can brighten any garage and paired with new LED upgrades, can possibly save you money as well (based on local rebates).

Garage Power Washing and Line Striping are fairly inexpensive ways to keep any parking deck free of unsightly stains. PCM recommends power washing your parking decks twice a year, once in the Spring to help remove harsh salts and once in the Fall to remove car waste. Line striping is recommended yearly or bi-yearly and we can provide you with a “garage maintenance agreement” once your garage is repaired so you can keep your garage in tip top shape!

[i]A spall is a location where concrete has broken from the original structure. Spalling typically occurs as a result of delaminations, horizontal cracks within a concrete slab caused by the expanding of rusting rebar. As the cracks grow, the concrete loses strength and eventually breaks, creating a concrete “pot-hole,” or spall