Suspended garage floors give you the full size of the garage added beneath it. You can use the excavated space under the garage floor as a workout area, a second garage, a storage space, a man cave, and so much more. However, suspended garage floors are prone to leaks, causing water damage to the space below.
There are a few options available to you to prevent your suspended garage floor from leaking. Here, we’ll go into why these floors are so prone to leaks and what you can do to keep the space under your suspended floor nice and dry.
How Suspended Garage Floors Are Installed
Suspended garage floors must be constructed with great care in order to ensure that they can hold the weight of your cars and maintain their structural integrity. They are constructed in a few different ways, depending on what is going beneath them.
- Suspended pre-cast slab system. The pre-cast slabs are constructed off-site and then craned into place. They usually require a concrete topping after placement for a level surface.
- In-situ systems. These are constructed with reinforced concrete. Once the concrete has cured to have the strength to be self-supporting, the formwork is removed.
- Composite slabs. These are done with steel beams and metal decking so that the steel and concrete’s strength work together.
Regardless of the construction, concrete reinforcement must be placed in the proper location for strong, durable floors. The mix must conform to exact specifications.
Why Are Suspended Garage Floors Prone To Leaks?
Concrete is strong, yes. However, it’s also porous and absorbs water easily. This causes cracks to form and can result in leaks in the living space below. Degrading concrete just makes the problem worse and worse.
Garage leaks are a common problem, but suspended garage floors are especially prone to leaks. Leaks are most common along the joint seams and in the corners, which is why caulking is essential.
Leaks can occur due to:
- Wet cars, as from when it was snowing or raining outside
- Inadequate grading
- Concrete shifting
- Poor drainage
- Leaking water sources
- Plumbing issues
- Joint seams/sill plates
- Lack of insulation
- And more.
Garages usually lack the waterproofing that your home gets. Plus, your garage door typically isn’t fully sealed. As such, it’s important to do what you can in order to prevent leaks.
How To Tell If You Have Leaks
If you have a suspended garage floor, you can check underneath it for watermarks on the underside of the slab and the walls of the space below. You can also watch for efflorescence, which is when there are white patches on your concrete. Other signs of leaks include damp spots, mold, and mildew.
Good, Better, And Best Ways To Prevent Leaks Under Your Suspended Garage Floor
Trying to repair a leaking suspended garage floor would be an expensive, time-consuming process. Fortunately, there are things that you can do in order to prevent this from happening. All of the following options work, but some are better than others. We’ll do the best option last.
Caulking and crack sealing are good options. The suspended slab is sealed so that water can’t get down. All areas with cracking are fixed, including the joints. Sealers fill in the tiny gaps that water could get through. If you do this, ensure you have your floor assessed annually for more cracking.
For a better option, do all of the above and then apply a floor coating for twice the protection and stability.
Concrete always wants to crack and needs to be checked regularly. Coatings are flexible and can move with your concrete, staving off potential cracks. With this option, you’d do a 2-coat system.
The water resistance and longevity of the coating depend on the type you get. When it comes to coatings you will want to make sure that you are getting the best products because all coatings are not designed the same. We highly recommend polyaspartic coatings, because of their flexibility and durability. On average this should last 20-plus years depending on the existing condition of the concrete, the type of use it sees, and whether or not it is properly maintained.
For the best way to prevent your suspended garage floor from leaking, have a waterproof membrane installed and then place a garage floor coating system over the top of the waterproof membrane. The membrane is more flexible with more longevity and protection than a coating alone. This is a 3-coat system for optimal protection.
Get The Most Out Of Your Suspended Garage Floor
Here at Solid Custom Floor Coatings Utah, we offer professional floor coating services to prevent your suspended garage floor from leaking. We can also install a waterproof membrane, then implement a floor coating system over the top of it for optimal protection against leaking. Contact us today to learn more about our floor coating services and how we can improve your property.