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Determine garage floor's condition before treating it
If the floor of your garage is stained and pitted, now is the perfect time to fix it.
What you do depends upon the condition of the floor. There are four different levels: All busted up, cracked and heaving, pockmarked and, lastly, needs cleaning or cover-up. Each has a different solution.
All busted up: If there are too many cracks, the best solution is to have the old slab cut out and re-poured.
Cracked and heaving: Slabs often settle unevenly and require concrete leveling. This is a procedure in which holes are drilled through the concrete, and a slurry is forced under the slab. The mix fills the voids where ground has been washed away and lifts the slab to its original position. Two well-known concrete-leveling companies are A-1 Concrete Leveling, (800) 538-3514 and Able Concrete Raising, (586) 731-7226.
Pockmarked: Over the years, spalling often occurs, leaving shallow holes exposing aggregate and making the slab unsightly. If there are just a few spots, clean away dirt and grease stains with a heavy-duty cleaning solution and then fill the holes with Quikrete Vinyl Concrete Patcher or a similar product. If you're dealing with a lot of spalling, it is easier and will look better if you resurface the entire slab. Products such as Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer (www.quikrete .com, made locally by Gibraltar National, (800) 442-7258) and Concrete Fix by Star Chemical, (866) STAR-975, were made for this purpose.
Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer requires meticulous cleaning and etching with a power washer capable of a minimum of 3,500 pounds per square inch. Star Chemical's Concrete Fix only requires a good cleaning and a thorough rinsing.
There is more concrete in Concrete Resurfacer and a higher percentage of polymers in Concrete Fix. If the garage slab has a lot of unevenness and spalling that needs to be built up or filled in, I would go with the Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer. If the surface is in fairly good shape, but you want a quick coat to cover surface blemishes and fine cracks, Star Chemical's Concrete Fix could save time.
You can find Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer at Home Depot, Lowe's and many hardware stores. Get Star Chemical Concrete Fix at ACO Hardware or direct from the manufacturer.
Cleaning or cover-up: Garage floors often become dirty over the years. Good all-purpose cleaners such as Trisodium Phosphate or Simple Green and water will clean but don't have the power to remove oil and transmission-fluid stains.
Edgewater Technologies' Pour-N-Restore ( www.pour-n-restore.com, (800) 508-7939) removes oil stains easily. Pour on, let dry for between 5 and 7 hours and then brush away. Older stains may require reapplication. Brush in the product the second time.
If the entire surface of the garage floor looks bad, you may want to try a new product some top-flight professionals have recommended to me. The cleaner is a bioremediation product that uses a blend of naturally occurring microorganisms to deactivate chemical spills and remove oil from concrete and asphalt. There are separate concrete and asphalt products.
Shop Absorbent, the garage floor product, is made by American Cleaning Technologies ( www.accclean.com, (303) 833-3613). It costs $20 for 25 pounds, which is enough to clean 2,500 square feet. Product application takes 15 minutes per 100 square feet, but the product requires 4 to 6 moisture-free hours to attach itself to the concrete and begin to work. Ingredients remain active for about six months.
One caveat: I have not personally used this product, but photos show a pronounced whitening of the surface during the cleaning process.
Many people decide they want to paint the garage floor surface to make it look better and easier to clean. I recommend using a two-part epoxy paint system. Two of the best-known are Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield, ( www.rustoleum.com, (800) 323-3584) and U Coat It, (800) 826-2848, www.ucoatit.com.
Preparation is the most important step. There cannot be any dirt, oil or sealer on the surface. Follow preparation and application instructions to the letter. Allow the coating to cure for seven days before driving on the surface.
Easy solution to a great-looking garage floor
If all this sounds like too much work you can just lay down a heavy-duty vinyl called G-Floor Roll-Out Garage Flooring. If you take the easy option, all you have to do is wipe up puddles, sweep out the garage, and lay down the flooring. Maintenance is also very easy. The vinyl Garage Flooring is made by Better Life Technology, www.bltllc.com. It is available on many car-care Web sites and catalogs. A little extra effort now will give you a garage floor you can brag about all summer long.
Note: This article was accurate at the date of publication. However, information contained in it may have changed.
If you plan to use the information contained herein for any purpose, verification of its continued accuracy is your responsibility.