As a homeowner, you probably worry about the effect of cold weather on your driveway. Another area that might require some maintenance is your garage floor. A concrete garage floor is likely to sustain damage due to exposure to salt, ice, snow, and cold temperatures. Here are a few tips to help you maintain garage concrete during winter.
What Causes Damage to Your Garage Concrete Floor in the Winter?
Different elements can damage your garage floor in the winter:
- Salt and sand are often used to de-ice roads and will end up in your garage since they stick to your tires and to the sole of your shoes.
- Salt and sand can cause stains and erosion.
- When mixed with water, the salt will slowly seep into your concrete floor and form crystals.
- Salt crystals cause white stains to appear, and they can damage the top layer of your concrete floor as they expand.
- Snow and ice can end up in your garage and increase your risks of slipping.
- Ice can get inside of existing cracks, expand, and worsen the damage.
Reduce Humidity in your Garage
One of your top priorities should be to look for ways to reduce humidity in your garage. If you’re wondering how to keep the garage floor dry in winter, start by preventing humidity from getting in.
You can reduce humidity levels in your garage by not parking your vehicle inside if it’s covered in ice and snow. Take a few minutes to brush it off and remove ice buildups behind your tires before parking it inside. Avoid storing boots covered in ice and snow directly on the garage floor.
You might need a better water draining solution on your property if there is a severe humidity problem in your garage. Consider installing a new swale, drain, or permeable material in your driveway to prevent water from pooling around your garage and ending up inside.
You should also inspect your plumbing system and replace old pipes before the winter. A small leak can cause humidity levels to increase in your garage.
Maintaining Your Driveway
Before you maintain garage concrete during winter, focus on driveway maintenance. An issue with your driveway can spread to your garage floor.
Consider fixing your driveway if it’s damaged, or upgrading an old driveway with newer materials. Asphalt is a popular choice because it’s durable and affordable. A concrete driveway is another option to explore since it will enhance the curb appeal of your home and can handle heavier loads than asphalt.
The professionals who install your new driveway will take water drainage into consideration. A driveway with a slight slope can help prevent water from pooling inside of your garage. A driveway with a drainage solution can prevent snow and ice buildup outside and inside of your garage.
A driveway with a permeable layer will promote drainage and reduce snow buildup. Melted snow will seep through the permeable layer and end up in the soil instead of pooling on your driveway surface or inside of your garage.
Protect Your Garage Floor with Garage Mats
Garage mats are one of the easiest ways of protecting your garage floor. We highly recommend installing mats if you park your vehicle inside in the winter.
It’s a simple installation process, and you can remove the mats in the spring. Common materials include PVC, vinyl, rubber, and similar durable materials.
A garage mat can absorb water, chemicals, and motor oil. It will form a barrier that prevents salt from being in contact with your garage floor. It’s the best way to protect the garage floor from salt since salt will remain on the surface of the mats.
One of the great things about garage mats is that they create a non-slip surface in your garage. Mats reduce your risks of slipping and make your garage a lot safer, especially if you have children.
You will have to vacuum or sweep your garage mats once in a while to get rid of the salt and debris that build up on the surface. Mats are a very effective way of protecting your garage floor from the type of damage that typically appears during the winter.
Before installing garage mats, clean your garage floor. Debris and chemicals can get trapped under the mat and cause damage throughout the winter, which is why it’s best to install the mats on a clean surface.
At the end of the winter, clean the mats and store them. If you’re wondering how to clean the garage floor after winter, you can use a solution of hot water, vinegar, and dish soap to get rid of any debris that got under the mats.
Sealing Your Garage Floor
Sealing your garage floor is a more permanent solution than garage mats. A sealer is a product that forms a durable barrier on top of your concrete floor.
That barrier repels water, debris, and chemicals. Sealant wears off with time, but you can always apply a new layer. Applying a sealant to your garage floor is more complicated than installing mats, but it’s something you can do by yourself.
The best garage floor coating for road salt is epoxy. It’s a popular material because it’s durable, affordable, and easy to apply. You will get better results if you use a primer under the epoxy layer.
Epoxy is resistant to salt and chemicals like motor oil. You will have to clean the epoxy surface once a week to get rid of salt and other debris that accumulate on the sealant.
The downside of epoxy is that it doesn’t absorb water. Water, motor oil, and other liquids can become a slip risk if you don’t clean your garage floor. Don’t hesitate to add a few mats on top of your sealant to absorb melted snow and reduce slip risks.
Another step to maintain garage concrete during winter is to make sure your garage door is working correctly. A small problem can get worse once the temperature drops. A door that doesn’t work correctly will let cold air and humidity in and could result in ice forming inside your garage.
Here are some signs that your garage door needs maintenance:
- Unusual noises
- Slow response time
- Poor fit between the sections
- The door isn’t aligned with the tracks
Have a professional look at your garage door and perform necessary repairs and maintenance. Consider replacing your garage door with a newer model before the winter
A simple repair you can do to reduce humidity in your garage is replacing the rubber seals on the sides of the door sections. New rubber seals will improve how the door fits and prevent cold air from entering your garage.
You can save money on your energy bills by ensuring that your garage door closes properly and will prevent damage to your garage floor at the same time.
Improve Insulation in Your Garage
Poor insulation can result in a damaged garage floor. Improving the insulation in your garage will help maintain a comfortable temperature.
You can add fiberglass insulation to the walls and ceiling, or use foam insulation to target specific cracks and openings.
Improving the insulation in your garage will prevent your vehicle from being exposed to cold temperatures, and it will prevent ice from forming on your garage floor and damaging it.
Don’t let snow and ice accumulate in your driveway. It’s dangerous, and it could damage your driveway. You will have a hard time getting in and out of your driveway if you let snow buildup, and you take the risk of tracking snow and ice inside your garage.
Take a few minutes to shovel snow away from your garage door every day. Get rid of ice buildups with ice-melts. You can use a snowblower or call a snowplow to get rid of more severe snow buildups.
If you let snow and ice accumulate, cold and humidity will transfer to your garage and could damage the floor.
Signs Your Garage Floor Needs Repairs
You should inspect your garage floor before winter begins and perform any necessary repairs. You can call a professional to address pressing issues, or fill small cracks yourself.
If you neglect to fix cracks and holes, they will probably worsen over the winter. Ice will get into these spaces and exacerbate the damage. Salt can chip away at damaged concrete and ruin entire sections of your garage floor.
There are two types of cracks that can appear in your concrete garage floor. Shrinkage or hairline cracks aren’t a significant concern. You can fill them to prevent them from getting worse.
A settlement crack is a more serious issue. Settlement cracks will appear larger, and you might notice that the two sides of the crack have different heights and aren’t aligned. Settlement cracks are the result of soil shifting underneath the floor. It’s best to call a professional to address settlement cracks.
Here are additional signs that your garage floor needs repairs:
- There is spalling on the concrete.
- There are signs of corrosion on the floor.
- You notice large stains that won’t go away.
- There is pitting and holes appearing.
- There are areas where water pools.
Inspecting your garage floor and addressing any issues are things you should do before winter. Think about investing in garage mats or protecting your garage floor with a sealant to prevent damages, and focus on reducing humidity and snow buildup around your garage.