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Don't Give Up on That Old Concrete Garage Floor


In the garage floor coating business, you're not always going to get the new construction, brand new concrete to coat (which, as any seasoned pro knows, brings its own share of challenges).

Often, you're called in to evaluate and potentially coat a concrete floor that's seen better days, with a surface that reflects years of use and wear. Owners or property managers may bring you in as part of an overall garage refurbishment and restoration, whether residential or commercial, or target a single damaged area.

Damaged concrete floors are a common problem in older garages. The question then becomes: Is the damage fixable, and then, how to fix it?

First, evaluate the severity of the substrate condition. Check out this article on how to determine whether a concrete floor is beyond repair and must be replaced.

Next, identify the nature of the damage. The most common damage you'll find in older floors is spalling, as in the example below. Spalling is the result of moisture forcing the surface to peel, pop out or flake off.

Once you've seen that the floor can be fixed, present your evaluation to the homeowner or facilities manager. Let them know that, with the right repair materials, matched with the correct coating system, you can restore the floor to full functionality for many years to come - while ignoring the damage will eventually require a costly replacement.

Several options can remedy heavy spalling.

Your first choice is to use a fast-setting, low-viscosity polyurea repair material like Fortification Formula. Easy to mix and VOC-free, it quickly returns the floor to service (10-30 minutes) and can be applied at any temperature. Apply the material via a flat blade squeegee to fill in the spalled areas.

If you need more coverage, mix the formula with dry silica sand, in a 1:1 ratio. When cured, grind the area to bring it flush with the existing substrate prior to coating. (It is ready to grind when it is resistant to fingernail marking.)

Your second option is to flood-coat the entire floor with self-leveling materials that will fill in the spalled areas and create a uniform flat surface that is ready for coating. Two such recommended materials are:

  • Polycuramine, which quickly rebuilds a floor. It installs at up to 50 mils thick in a single coat and cures in 4-8 hours. Polycuramine doesn't require sanding prior to recoating which also helps keep installations on schedule without added labor.
  • Ultra Hydro Stop, recommended If any moisture is suspected in the floor. A moisture-blocking and pH-resistant epoxy primer, it can be used to remedy concrete floors with high moisture readings of up to 12 lbs. Ultra Hydro Stop has excellent adhesion to moisture-laden concrete slabs where it is roller or squeegee applied.

In the example above, installers were able to repair the floors with Fortification Formula, and a full chip system was installed, transforming the floor.

Don't walk away from damaged floors as "un-coatable," there are solutions for old concrete! If you are in the process of coating an old garage floor, schedule a chat with one of our flooring experts to determine the right combination of repair materials and coating system for the job.

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