Determining If Your Garage Floor Needs Repair or Replacement

October 15 2021

If you’ve noticed your garage floor becoming damaged, cracked, and discolored, you may want to have a general contractor, such as CDC General Contracting, assess the damage to see if repairing your floor is viable or if a garage floor replacement is a better option. 

There are many factors as to why your garage floor is damaged, which vary greatly from one garage to another. It can be difficult for you, as a homeowner, to determine just how deep the damage goes, or if it’s a simple fix. 

Your garage endures a lot:

  • The weight of your vehicles parked on the garage floor (approximately 4,000 lbs for a sedan and possibly double that for a heavy-duty truck)
  • Regular vehicle traffic pulling in and backing out
  • Temperature fluctuations between the seasons put stress on your concrete floor
  • The weight of storage units, freezers, refrigerators, and tools (such as table saws, grinders, and other heavy pieces of equipment)
  • Everyday foot traffic, especially if it’s your main thoroughfare into the home
  • Exposure to materials and liquids that can contribute to your concrete deteriorating over time

Depending on the age of your home, or how well the garage flooring was installed, can help to determine if you need a repair or replacement. A concrete garage floor slab should last for decades. 

A poorly installed garage floor surface can be a reason that it’s time to replace your garage floor. Unfortunately, it isn’t unheard of for home builders to cut corners or may not have done steps properly at the time the home was built. The following things can lead to the concrete not lasting:

  • The garage floor sub-base wasn’t dug to the correct depth
  • A high-quality cement or proper concrete mix was not used at the time of pouring
  • The ground was compacted correctly so it didn’t settle properly and has shifted over time
  • Expansion joints weren’t placed in proper locations
  • The floor wasn’t graded correctly

Typically, you will see some early warning signs of damage to your garage floor. However, if you don’t know what to look for, they can be easily missed until the repair is more involved.

 If you’re starting to see cracks, it’s important to know the difference between shrinkage cracks and settlement cracks. The seriousness of those cracks will help you determine which course of action you may need to take. 

Shrinkage Cracks. These are also known as hairline cracks and occur when the poured concrete shrinks as it dries and cures. This is shown as minor breaks in the floor surface and most of the time is just visually unappealing but doesn’t indicate serious structural damage. These can be repaired as a short-term solution but the cracks will grow larger over time as moisture seeps in. Moisture entering these cracks, ongoing freezing, and thawing, and even deicing road salt all can lead to problems further down the road. 

Settlement Cracks. These are larger and more serious than shrinkage cracks. Because of their size, they have the potential to cause more substantial damage. These cracks occur from the ground beneath the floor shifting and settling. A poorly installed floor base or soil problems can lead to settlement cracks. 

To determine whether a crack is a structural problem, you can look at whether the concrete sections on either side of the crack differ in height. Then, measure the crack’s width. As a baseline, if it’s 18/” of wider, you should have your garage floor inspected as it could be an indication that your concrete slab is sinking. 

Improper drainage can lead to concrete damage. If you’re noticing water pooling on your garage floor or accumulating around the outside of the garage, call a contractor to check for water drainage issues. Drainage problems can also lead to cracked, crumbling, uneven concrete that could be causing major structural damage under your garage and even the rest of your house. We can check for blocked eavestroughs, poorly positioned drainage pipes, and inadequate garage floor grading. 

If your concrete garage floors need some TLC or replacing, we can help determine the extent of any damage so you can make an informed decision. Our professionals at CDC General Contracting will give you an honest and reliable estimate. Call us at 856-834-2737 or request a consultation to see how our quality craftsmanship at reasonable prices can help make your next project a reality.