Parking Garage Degradation Causes and Signs

Adam Robinson | Feb 08, 2022

Whether it’s an office space, a shopping mall, or any other commercial building, these places will always need space allocated for parking garages. Garages provide a safe and secure area where people can park their vehicles. Because of this, they are some of the most utilized structures in commercial buildings, and why it’s necessary to take proper care and maintain parking garages. Otherwise, they can start to degrade rapidly. 

As further explained by FacilitiesNet, “Whether the parking facility is a freestanding multi-level garage or a few below-grade levels under a high-rise building or plaza, the imperative is the same: proactive condition assessment and diligent maintenance. 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. With the integrity of the garage and the safety of users at stake, facility managers should prioritize parking structure evaluation and maintenance to preempt problems and avoid possible liability.”

This article will highlight the signs of parking garage deterioration, the steps to prevent it, and how to restore parking garages to their former glory. 

Causes of Parking Garage Degradation

The first step to creating a better maintenance plan for the commercial parking garage is understanding its top causes, which also mirror the signs of parking garage deterioration, including:

  • Water ponding. If water is ponding on a garage floor, it means that the water has slipped through the cracks in the concrete. Water and garages are generally not a good mix, especially when in contact with the rebar used to keep the garage together. Installing a simple drain system or waterproof membrane will help prevent water ponding.
  • Exposed rebar. The exposed rebar is a surefire sign of parking garage deterioration. When a rebar is protruding from the concrete, the concrete has started to degrade and eventually will fall apart. A good solution to repair and prevent future damage is to apply corrosion inhibitors to the concrete slab in question and all over the garage. 
  • Expansion joints failure. Joint failures will leave concrete slabs exposed to water, making them corrode over time leading to the aforementioned signs of parking garage deterioration. Sealing cracks and joints will help prevent water damage. It’s good to use joint sealants and check them periodically for deterioration and replace them as necessary.
  • Pressure From Weight Over Time. Cars parked in garages vary in weight. So it’s natural that there will be varying degrees of pressure over time. When garages start buckling under the weight, it’s a sign of parking garage deterioration. Such signals are usually spotted only during a thorough inspection, but some visible signs may become evident, including cracks or water retention. This can be resolved by fortifying the surfaces with stronger materials and routinely maintaining them. 

All the causes of parking garage degradation mentioned above can arise due to simply neglecting to care for the garage. Yes, concrete is solid, durable, and fortifies a structure soundly. But that doesn’t mean that it’ll last forever. Proper maintenance and inspections are imperative to maintain the integrity of parking garages. Most importantly, any visible signs of damage, including cracks or shifts in ANY part of the structure, are signs of parking garage deterioration.

What to Do About Degradation

Parking garage deterioration will happen as the facilities are utilized, and left unchecked, they will worsen over time. It is important to take the appropriate actions to keep up the health of a parking garage, so it lasts longer. Here are several action steps to repair parking garage deterioration and even mitigate it in the future:

  • Inspection. Regular inspections can help foresee signs of parking garage deterioration so that property owners can take the appropriate steps. After the review, a highly recommended action step would be to hire an expert spcializing in parking garage deterioration to assess the situation properly and then provide unique solutions based on the garage’s condition.
  • Engineer Guided Parking Garage Restoration. Engineers are the true experts who can help restore garages. They will bring in their team to lead the project of repairing signs of parking garage deterioration and restoring the property to its former glory by using materials like corrosion inhibitors and concrete solvents, among others.
  • Routine Maintenance, Especially Sealants and Coatings. Sealants and coatings are helpful, especially with leaks and cracks in the concrete. However, they aren’t a one-and-done deal. They need to be reapplied routinely so that they can work effectively.

Extend the Longevity of Your Parking Garages With the Right Facilities Servicer

When maintaining the integrity of your parking garage, it’s important to select the right person for the job. The JOBS Group connects building managers with the right servicer for the job. Request a consultation with The Valcourt Group to learn more about how your team can get on the path to a better parking garage and full restoration services now.

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