Cracks in a garage floor are very common. Your garage is no different, only if the crack is widening or is past half an inch should you consider getting it inspected. How do you fix garage floor cracks? You can do so by using a rubber floor squeegee. Without exceedingly good preparation, epoxy and glossy floor finishes just don’t stick well and certainly won’t look magazine-worthy. It is important not to mix too much since it may start to cure before you are finished working. They are simply stressed fractures caused by the contraction and expansion of the floor. In general, a small number of tight (less than 1/8 inch wide), stable cracks are considered normal shrinkage cracks.
Depending on the type of concrete it usually takes 5 or 10 days and even up to 4 weeks before heavy equipment and loads can safely get onto a concrete slab; most concrete reaches full strength in approximately 28 days. If a framing contractor drives a piece of heavy equipment loaded with lumber onto a 4-inch thick concrete slab, he may crack the green (not fully cured) concrete. Fragile hairline cracks in random or irregular hexagonal patterns that are very shallow, usually less than a 1/8 of an inch deep, are often called crazing cracks. As buyers or owners, we won’t know how to tell if they’re serious; basically when to worry. The good news is that most cracks in garage floors are common and not an indication of serious structural issues. However, there are a few that indicate that maintenance is needed or that there may be a structural concern. One of the most common mistakes that people make when looking at their garage floor is to confuse a cold joint with concrete that has actually cracked. A cold joint is intentionally placed in concrete by the concrete contractor when he is pouring the concrete. Only mix enough for what you are doing at the moment.
Simply put, you will not match the colour of your existing floor. However, there are many reasons why a foundation cracks, such as settling of the home, concrete shrinkage and curing, stress, and poor construction. Shrinkage cracks in concrete floor slabs are expected and very common, and do not compromise structural integrity.
This article series describes how to recognize and diagnose various types of foundation failure or damage, such as foundation cracks, masonry foundation crack patterns, and moving, leaning, bulging, or bowing building foundation walls.
Types of foundation cracks, crack patterns, differences in the meaning of cracks in different foundation materials, site conditions, building history, and other evidence of building movement and damage are described to assist in recognizing foundation defects and to help the inspector separate cosmetic or low-risk conditions from those likely to be important and potentially costly to repair.
Common Types of Cracks in your Concrete
Plastic shrinkage concrete cracks
When concrete is still in its plastic state (before hardening), it is full of water. When that water eventually leaves the slab, it leaves behind large voids between the solid particles. These empty spaces make the concrete weaker and more prone to cracking. This type of cracking happens frequently and is referred to as “plastic shrinkage cracking”.
While plastic shrinkage cracks can happen anywhere in a slab or wall, they almost always happen at reentrant corners (corners that point into the slab) or with circular objects in the middle of a slab (pipes, plumbing fixtures, drains, and utility holes). Since concrete cannot shrink around a corner, stress will cause the concrete to crack from the point of that corner.
Plastic shrinkage cracks are typically very narrow in width and barely visible. While nearly invisible, it is important to remember that plastic shrinkage cracks don’t just exist on the surface; they extend throughout the entire thickness of the slab.
An excessively wet mix is a contributing factor to shrinkage in concrete. While water is an essential ingredient in every concrete mix, there is such a thing as too much water. When the mix contains too much water, the slab will shrink more than if the correct amount of water was used. Hot weather is another big reason for plastic shrinkage cracks.
Control joints can be incorporated into the slab to prevent shrinkage cracking. The joints will open up as the concrete slab gets smaller.
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Expansion concrete cracks
Just like a balloon, heat causes concrete to expand. When concrete expands, it pushes against anything in its way (a brick wall or adjacent slab, for example). When neither can flex, the expanding force can be enough to cause concrete to crack.
Expansion joints are used as a point of separation (or isolation), between other static surfaces. Typically made of a compressible material like asphalt, rubber, or lumber, expansion joints must act as shock absorbers to relieve the stress that expansion puts on concrete and prevent cracking.
Heaving concrete cracks
When the ground freezes, it can sometimes lift many inches before thawing and settling back down. This ground movement brought on by the freezing and thawing cycle is a huge factor contributing to concrete cracking. If the slab is not free to move with the ground, the slab will crack.
Large tree roots can have the same effect on a slab. If a tree is located too close to a slab, the growing roots can lift and crack the concrete surface. Always consider this when laying a slab.
Settling concrete cracks
On the other hand, ground settling below a concrete slab can also cause cracking.
Settling cracks typically occur in situations where a void is created in the ground below the concrete surface. Think about when a large tree is removed from nearby, and the roots begin to decompose or when a utility company digs a trench for their lines, pipes, etc. and don’t compact the soil when they refill it–these are examples of instances where settling cracks are likely to happen.
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Concrete cracks caused by overloading the slab
Although concrete is a very strong building material, it does have its limits. Placing excessive amounts of weight on top of a concrete slab can cause cracking. When you hear a concrete mix has a strength of 2000, 3000, 4000, or 5000+ PSI, it is referring to the pounds per square inch it would take to crush that concrete slab.
When it comes to residential concrete slabs, an overload of the actual slab isn’t all that common. Instead, what is more, likely to occur is an excess overload on the ground below the slab.
After a heavy rain or snowmelt when the ground below is soft and wet, excessive weight on the slab can press the concrete down and result in cracks. Residential homeowners who place large recreational vehicles or dumpsters on their driveways are more likely to see this type of cracking.
Concrete cracks caused by premature drying
There are two common types of cracks brought on by premature drying.
Crazing cracks are very fine, surface cracks that resemble spider webs or shattered glass. When the top of a concrete slab loses moisture too quickly, crazing cracks will likely appear. While unsightly, crazing cracks are not a structural concern.
Crusting cracks typically happen during the concrete stamping process, which is a way of adding texture or pattern to concrete surfaces. On sunny or windy days where the top of the slab dries out quicker than the bottom, the top of the concrete surface can become crusty. When the stamp is embedded, it pulls the surface apart near the stamped joints and causes small cracks around the outside edges of the “stones”. Again, while they don’t look great, crusting cracks are not a structural issue to be considered about.
It’s often difficult to determine exactly what caused a particular crack. Proper site preparation, a quality mix, and good concrete finishing practices can go a long way towards minimizing the appearance of cracks and producing a more aesthetically pleasing concrete project.
How to Fix Crack In Garage Floor
The garage floor will have cracks, no matter how careful you are when you pour the concrete. There are many reasons due to which these cracks appear.
The most common reason for the cracks to appear on your garage floor is that the temperature changes in the base material when your garage is unheated. This mostly happens during the thawing and freezing cycles of the months of winter.
Another reason for cracks on the floor of your garage is an improperly placed expansion joint.
This is easily repaired by injecting silica sand and a compound for floor crack repair into the garage floor crack. This ensures that the surface of your garage floor is smooth again.
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Cut small grooves on both sides of the concrete that is cracked
You can use a diamond blade on a circular saw and cut half-inch grooves on both sides of the cracks. Fill the grooves and the crack with a polymer-modified cement. You can use Quikrete concrete resurfacer.
Remove the cracked concrete
You then need to chip out the portion of the concrete that is cracked. You can do so with a cold chisel and a maul. Make sure you do it slowly and carefully as small chips can hurt you while you are working on it. You can then slowly remove the chipped pieces. Vacuum the area thoroughly. Then use your power washer to clean the concrete well. This will give you a fresh surface which will make it easier for the compound to bond on.
Fill in the crack in the concrete opening
You now need to add the latex modifier to the concrete mix. Then you should pack it into the channel. Make sure that you fill it to half an inch of the original height. Let it stay for about 72 hours and then fill it with the resurfacer. The resurfacer should have a solid base of the concrete you made earlier. This will give the resurfacer more strength, and it will be stronger.
Add the resurfacer to the slab
You now need to pour the concrete resurfacing mixture evenly into the crack. Make sure that you smooth it out. You can do so by using a rubber floor squeegee. Make sure that you feather the edges of the slab to make it look professional.
You need to add water to the mix so that you get the right consistency. The consistency should be that of pancake batter. Just fill the groove and smooth it.
Does the epoxy finish fill out the cracks in garage floor concrete?
We do not rely on the layers of the epoxy or polyaspartic finishes to fill in the fractures in a garage or basement floor. If the cracks exist from the preliminary curing or settling of the flooring, our groups usually crack-chase (or cut) the cracks to get rid of the loose materials. Crack-chasing develops clean, bondable surface areas inside the fractures. The fractures are then vacuumed out and after that filled with the proper products. If the fractures are “moving” due to the motion of sections of the concrete, our experts will work with the customer to figure out what to do to repair the fractures.
The crack repair products utilized can differ. This difference relies on the width and depth of the fractures, flooring temperature level, surface conditions, and concrete porosity. The products might be quick-set 2-part epoxy fillers or quick setting polyureas. Or, they might be slow setting, thickened epoxies or hybrid polymers that fill larger or deeper cracks and set up over a few hours or days.
What if the cracks in garage floor concrete have silicone caulk filling them?
Our team will get rid of any caulk from cracks throughout the surface preparation. Then, we fill them up again with suitable polymer repair products.
Will the fractures return through the finish?
The response is “possibly.” The return of the initial crack or development of brand-new fractures seen through the covering relies on many factors. These factors can include concrete vibration, cement growth & contraction, hydrostatic vapour pressure. So, there are no guarantees on cracking. Anybody who ensures that there will never be cracks in garage floor concrete or that the fracture will never go through the finish is being foolish.
The reappearance of cracks through garage flooring finishes is not typical. Utilizing a finish such as a full broadcast epoxy floor reduces the possibility that a tiny, tight crack would even be noticeable in the finish.
Are Cracks In Garage Floor Normal?
It is very normal for the garage floor to have cracks in them. You will see cracks in most garage floors. Unless there is a structural defect in the floor, there is no need to worry about the cracks. You can fix the cracks easily if you like. The two main reasons why a garage floor cracks are if the concrete shrinks as it settles on the ground under the slab and if one side is raised above the other (uneven slabs).
Some cracks will be due to both these reasons. An issue may arise if the cracks continue to widen over time. Even if that happens, you can use the tips above on how to fix cracks in the garage floor or the tips below on how to fix an uneven floor.
Don’t worry if you see cracks in your garage floor or on the floor of a place you plan to buy. You can easily rectify the issue.
How To Fix Uneven Concrete Slab
You should always ensure that any uneven concrete slab on the floor of your garage is immediately repaired. This is to make sure that your garage is safe. It also adds to the comfort and safety of your garage. It is also important if you are planning to lay down tiles or any other flooring material in your garage.
It is very easy to level an uneven concrete slab. You can buy concrete levelling compounds that are available at home improvement retailers or on Amazon. You can use them to level the floor. You just need to put the compound on top of the concrete, and you can then work on the low points so that the concrete slab gets even.
- Make sure that the concrete area is clean before you start to work on it. Make sure that you sweep it thoroughly with a broom. You can even use a garden hose and a pressure washer to make sure that the concrete slab is perfectly clean. The pressure washer can also help in removing dirt that has hardened. If you are using water to clean the slab, then wait for an hour for the slab to dry.
- Next, you can pour half a gallon of latex primer on a paint tray. You then need to soak a clean brush roller in the primer. Apply a coating on the slab. Let it dry overnight.
- Check the slab for low or uneven parts which you need to repair. If the unevenness if only on a small part, you don’t need to waste your money in pouring primer on the whole slab. You can place a 2 by 4 board on the concrete and repair only the area that is not flat.
- Next, you need to pour the levelling compound in a bucket. Make sure that you add water as per the specifications and then mix the content. Use a mixing stick to mix the content. Keep mixing until all the lumps go away.
- You then can apply a coat of the compound to the uneven part of the concrete slab. You can remove the unevenness with a trowel. You need to work fast as the compound will dry fast once it is mixed with water. Make sure that the area that you have worked on is dry for a minimum of 24 hours before you use it again.
This guide is no substitute for a consultation with a concrete professional. It is only intended as a guide for those who already know this is the proper course of action for them, and to generally provide some ideas for consideration. Always consult with your local professional first!