Concrete is the oldest manmade construction material and the most widely used. Primitive examples of it date back to the ancient Egyptians, and today’s concrete is of course much tougher and more consistent than anything they used. Modern concrete is used to make building foundations and floors, sidewalks, highway overpasses, dams, and more, and average concrete has a strength of about 3,000 psi or so. Some of the strongest concretes even have a strength of 20,000 psi. Still, concrete isn’t indestructible; sometimes, it needs to be lifted, prepped for epoxy, or have its cracks filled in. Fortunately, homeowners and commercial building owners alike can call upon concrete services for anything from concrete grinding to concrete crack repair to lifting the garage floor. Why raise the garage floor? And how?
When You Raise the Garage Floor
A homeowner may choose to raise the garage floor if, for example, the garage is being converted into an additional living space and the level is misaligned (resulting in a tripping hazard). The solution is to raise the garage floor so it meets the house’s level, and this usually involves adding more material.
First, the garage floor must be cleaned as thoroughly as possible, which means removing all items, degreasing all oil stains, sweeping up debris and dirt, using wires to clean out the cracks, and washing it with a pH neutral cleaner. Once the garage floor is totally clean and dry, joint repair compound must be packed into the existing cracks to fill them up, so the concrete floor has a completely smooth and flawless surface (allow all this to dry before continuing). Baseboards and trim should also be removed, then replaced once all this work is done.
A board is placed at the door, and its surface should be as high as the new floor will be. The owner may now apply epoxy to the existing floor, and it should be allowed to dry enough so it loses its wet look but is still sticky to the touch. Now, a batch of self-leveling compound must be mixed in a bucket, ideally with cold water added to slow down its curing time somewhat. A squeegee can be used to apply a layer of this material across the garage floor up to two inches thick, and then it must be allowed to set for four hours (and it will level itself). Up to two more layers may be added, and the final layer needs 48 hours to fully dry and cure. Once it does, the owner may replace the trim boards in the garage.
Many commercial buildings use concrete floors, such as warehouses, but a variety of other structures are also using concrete floors, owing to this material’s durability and aesthetics when polished. Why grind it? Old concrete, or freshly poured concrete, has upraised imperfections and other issues, and this isn’t a good setting for epoxy. So, a concrete grinding service may be hired to level out that floor and prep it for epoxy. A worker will use a large grinder machine that features a rotating disk on the bottom (which may include diamond bits), and this grinder will pass all over the floor and make it smooth and consistent. Excess material is simply ground away to create this smooth surface, and a worker may cover the floor a few times to do a thorough job. For the corners of the room, a smaller grinder will be used, and there are handheld models available.
A worker must practice basic safety when using a concrete grinder, though. That worker must not wear jewelry or long or loose clothes, so they don’t run the risk of having clothes snagged on the machine. Also, the process of concrete grinding is loud, so the worker should wear hearing protection. Finally, concrete grinding kicks up a lot of dust, so the worker will also use goggles and a respirator for their nose and mouth while working.
Once all this is done, the concrete is ready for epoxy, which will easily coat onto the surface. A treated concrete floor has boosted durability and weight endurance, and it is shiny and resists stains. A treated floor is also easier to paint on, such as warning markers for warehouse or factory workers.