When it comes to commercial buildings and structures like parking garages, water is the enemy. It seeps into tiny cracks and crevices and works its way deeper and deeper into your structure, where it creates more cracks and crevices. Over time, it can cause serious damage to a parking garage that you may not notice until the repairs are costly and time consuming.
Water can infiltrate parking garages in a number of ways. Rain, of course, results in moisture in the garage, both from blowing rain and from vehicles tracking rain into the structure. Even beneficial cleaning with water can create problems if not done properly or if the garage doesn’t drain efficiently.
Ensure proper drainage
If water has the ability to enter your parking garage, you want to be sure it also has a way to exit the garage. Dripping water or standing water both indicate that your drainage systems need attention to ensure water doesn’t damage your structure.
Inspect and repair expansion joints
Expansion joints allow large concrete structures to absorb the movement that naturally occurs due to temperature changes, wind, or seismic activity. But expansion joints also create an opportunity for water to infiltrate your structure. Regular inspection and sealing of the expansion joints can decrease the likelihood of water seeping into the structure through the joints.
Watch for water and rust stains
Water and rust stains can appear on the walls or the floor of your structure, and it’s important to regularly inspect your parking garage for both types of stains. Water stains can indicate that water is leaking from one floor to the next, which may indicate pooling water and poor drainage.
Rust stains can be early warning signs of a serious problem called rust jacking, which can happen when water reaches the steel reinforcing bars within the concrete. After being exposed to water, the steel begins to swell and can cause structural damage.
Apply specialty coatings
Specialty coatings, including waterproofing coatings and corrosive inhibitors, can help prevent water infiltration and damage in your parking structure. These coatings can be a cost-effective preventative maintenance tool to extend the life of your parking garage.
If you notice signs of water infiltration in your parking garage, consult a professional with experience in parking structures. Regularly inspecting and repairing the structure can mitigate further damage and expense.