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Concrete Floor Repair – An In Depth Guide

Previously on Rawlins Paints’ Blog, we looked at how to prepare and apply epoxy floor paint to your old garage floor using Rust-Oleum’s Epoxyshield Garage Floor Coating Kit. In this post, we’ll look at concrete floor repair products for a range of different sized garage floors with varied levels of concrete damage.

It is a lot easier now to repair damaged concrete floors and slabs than it used to be. This is still a case by case situation, but more often than not individuals can undertake concrete repair work, rather than calling in contractors to repair or replace the concrete flooring.

This post will take into consideration different garage floor sizes – covering personal garages, as well as repair garages and display rooms/forecourts – as one may be big enough to house a Mini Cooper restoration project, another may be big enough to run MOTs on a fleet of them, with the third being the manufacturer’s showroom. Each of the three types of garage concrete floors looked at in this post come with recommended concrete repair products – including paint/additional coating tips.

Different square foot concrete floors will have succumbed to different levels of damage – pitting and cracks – over the years. Looking forwards, they will also have different traffic load expectations.

Examples of Concrete Floor Damage

Cracks

Cracks can occur in concrete from heavy load damage, physical damage (tools being dropped, for example) and the concrete’s expansion and contraction in response to temperature changes.

Cracked concrete floor needing repairing

Pitting

Pitting can occur from previous resurfacing work having had a bad concrete mix, the surface being exposed to salt water damage or a previous low quality finishing job.

An example of a pitted concrete floor

Notice the jagged edge holes

Cracks and pitting are rarely restricted to ‘sample areas’, and are predominantly spread across the entire surface. As long as the damage is not from structural defect, the concrete can fairly easily be repaired by products available at Rawlins Paints.

Pot holes

Keep an eye out for our upcoming blogpost about how to fix potholes and damaged driveways.

Maintenance Access

Concrete and garage floors may need repair work done where maintenance access was required, for example where laying down electrical wiring or plumbing pipes. At one point a bike rack may have been fixed to the floor, or steel beams for mounting gymnasium equipment on.

These additional, drilled in structures may have been removed and the holes need filling, or the maintenance access’ temporary fillings may require a more permanent and long term fix. This blogpost will be able to help you with this task.

Concrete floor being drilled into

Isolated Impact

Isolated impact damage could come from a dropped hammer or toolbox, a toppled over white goods appliance, or the bottom quite literally falling out of a car.

This type of damage is immediately impacting and would need quick response repair work to stop the hole/damage getting any worse. Small isolated impact damaged areas can be repaired with Rust-Oleum’s 5412 epoxy filler.

Before the concrete had previously cured fully, it could’ve been subject to footfall or impact damage.

Once a hole, always a bigger hole, unless remedied. Don’t wait until the walls of the hole fracture more and cracks appear from pressure points around the damage, get it fixed straight away, and don’t cover it up hoping that it’ll go away, as it may one day open up and swallow your wallet.

Service Ducts

There may be some service duct and cable troughs that need to be reinstated and the only way to access them is through a large channel saw cut into the concrete. This type of work would usually have the repair and refill work planned for as part of the project.

Damage to a concrete floor from a service duct

Saw Cut Expansion Joints

Also known as a movement joint, these saw cut expansion joints in concrete slabs are designed to absorb heat and vibration induced expansion. These expansion joints can get chipped or damaged around the edges from impact, for example, or the flexible filling may need replacing or repairing. Rust-Oleum’s 5160 flexible joint filler or 205 flexible joint filler, from Rawlins Paints, are very good products for this type of repair.

Expansion joints can cause damage to a concrete garage floor

Concrete Degradation

Concrete degradation is akin to extreme wear and tear, with damage coming from fires, chemical spills, sea/salt water damage or bacterial corrosion.

Reinforcement bars may corrode, causing cracks and concrete degradation.

Concrete degradation around reinforcement bars

Leaching

Leaching can be caused by salt water pooling in concrete cracks. This can be found in garages where adjoining driveways and roads are salted and gritted during winter months.

Preparing the Concrete Floor for Repair

As with all repair work, from garden fences to flat roofs, preparation is key.

  • Using a chipping hammer, chip away at and removed loose, damaged and higher ridges of concrete around the ‘repair site’. Bigger scale damage areas may require an electric chipping hammer or a jack hammer.
  • Thoroughly clean the concrete surface with a stiff bristled brush, using a wire brush to help remove loose damage. When the surface is thoroughly brushed, you could use a vacuum cleaner to remove any smaller particles and dust that’s left.
  • Using Blackfriar’s Professional Degreaser and Cleaner will remove ‘impacted oil and grease’ from the floor, prior to further repair and resurfacing work.

After-Care for the Garage Floor

Applying a sealer can protect the concrete floor and extend its life. A lot of sealers leave a glossy and UV protective coating when they’ve cured. Look for a product which is also chemical resistant when sealing a garage’s concrete floor.

For areas that house static items – desks, shelving, filing cabinets, etc. – use mats to further protect the surface from scrapes, scratches and cracks.

Additional Notes

Products discussed in this article and repair advise can often be applied to concrete driveways, patios, steps/stairs, pavements, workshop floors and other vertical, level surfaces.

For any further technical or product support, please contact our support team.

Garage #1 – The Man-Cave

Stereotypical as this term may be, firstly we’ll be looking at the dog-house, the man-cave, the personal garage space. Usually connected to, or a separate out-house, the standard garage floor can go through a large metamorphosis in its lifetime. Growing up with the family it will be one of many incarnations:

  • a storeroom
  • a spare bedroom
  • a white goods kitchen extension
  • a snooker table or table tennis games room
  • a GCSE arts project or photography darkroom
  • Santa’s hidden elf-factory
  • And occasionally an actual garage to house a car

A stylish man cave

Whatever its requirements, the personal garage does take a lot of light to medium use wear and tear. From boxes being dragged across it, white goods being set up in it – including flooding washing machines – cars, scooters or motorbikes being parked in it, and even possibly lived in for several years – as the children are too old to share a room any longer. It’s fair to say that of all the rooms in a house, the garage floor takes the ‘biggest battering’.

For any of the purposes the garage fills, a durable coating will always be required.

Garage Floor Repair Products

After years of exposure to the 2.4 children family, the garage floor may need some repair work done to it.

Resurfacing a Pitted Concrete Floor

It’s common for garage floors to become pitted – this is when the concrete slab has small holes (pits), mini-craters and cracks – and after years of neglect, now is the time to do some DIY SOS.

To resurface the concrete is one way of dealing with the pitted holes and surface damage, and a levelling of the surface may also be required – resurfacing the concrete entails putting a new layer, or a new ‘skin’ on the damaged floor.

Now, unless you’ve previously resurfaced concrete you’re unlikely to get a smooth as silk coating. There will be extremely minor surface flaws, and this is purely cosmetic and not structural.

Rust-Oleum’s self-levelling epoxy mortar is an excellent product for a project of this and larger scales. It can be applied by trowel, rake or de- aeration roller. From the product page:

Self-levelling, two component epoxy mortar and coating in one offering outstanding protection against high humidity and moisture, frequent spillage of chemicals, heavy abrasion, impact, heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Concrete Floor Repair Products

Blackfriar Professional Concrete Repair Mortar

Rawlins Paints stock a wide range of concrete repair products. This particular concrete repair mortar by Blackfriar is extremely popular for smaller sized garage floors (as well as larger ones). Ideal for eroded floors, dealing with small cracks and holes, this repair mortar will protect your floor against chemical spills, such as petrol or diesel. It can also be used externally, as well as internally, so if you like to work with the garage door open or on the driveway – even in the driving rain – this product will be able to stand all of the elements the British weather can throw at it.

Rust-Oleum Epoxyshield Fine Crack Repair

If it is just fine crack repair work that needs doing, to perhaps fix damage from where a washing machine was once located, this fine crack, two-part epoxy, liquid crack filler works on concrete gaps up to 3mm wide. Easy to use and very economic, this is definitely a product to keep stored ‘on-site’.

Rust-Oleum Epoxyshield Concrete Repair Mortar

On unpainted brickwork and damaged concrete, this product is very good at levelling and repairing a concrete surface. It is as simple as adding water and stirring it to have it prepared and it is able to withstand light traffic after 24 hours.

Garage #2 – The MOT Centre

Most local garages, especially privately owned ones and not part of a national chain/brand, are likely to exchange owners and property leases over a longer stretch of time. This could mean that you’re looking to repair the garage floor for a sale, or from a purchase/new lease from the landlord.

Subject to high volumes of traffic, with cars, vans and motorcycles being wheeled in hour after hour, as a repair centre, the floor is likely to have seen ‘the wars’ from chemical spills and leakages. There may be discolouration patches, UV exposure near the garage doors, or damage from toolboxes, ramp equipment and storage units. Moving forward, use mats under as much of the equipment as possible, to preserve the surface’s ‘cosmetic structure’.

mot-garage

A great example of a busy MOT garage

Whilst floor paint can add a very good layer of protection against further damage, its purpose is not to fill or repair cracks and pitting. Concrete floor paints (see here) are generally slip-resistant, which is ideal for garages which conduct repair work, as cars may come in ‘dripping wet’ from the rain or snow.

Keep your business’ foundation strong and repair any damage before a concrete floor replacement job needs ‘a quote’.

Repair Products

Rust-Oleum 5180 Epoxy Repair Mortar

Some garage floors have succumbed to years of abuse, with tools being dropped on it, equipment being taken apart on it, chemical spills and more. This is where Rust-Oleum’s 5180 epoxy repair mortar can save the day. Described as being able to repair dangerously damaged floors, it’s virtually indestructible! This could be the ideal product for restoring a well-established garage to its ‘glory days’.

Rust-Oleum Speed Screed

If your garage floor needs a quick, pourable, durable and rapid fix, then Rust-Oleum’s Speed Screed could be the right product for the job. Designed to meet industrial needs, this product will help set up the garage from now until its sunset years. As a slip-resistant coating, it ticks a lot of boxes as being suitable for most mid-sized garage floors – for medium to heavy traffic loads.

201 Epoxy Repair Mortar

For garages with forecourts open to a lot of weather elements, Rawlins Paints’ epoxy repair mortar is a tough, high strength, two component epoxy repair mortar for concrete and masonry floor surfaces. Suitable for permanent and rapid repair work, this is an impact and abrasion resistant repair coating, as well as being frost-resistant, too.

Garage #3 – The Showroom

Whilst most garage showrooms have carpeted sections for ‘customer’ areas, it is still important to use a high quality non-slip coating on the floor. A tip for garage showrooms also is to use line marking paints to assign ‘office bays’, out-of-limits to customer areas and parking zones.

In workshop and even home garages, ensuring that the floor is level is not a ‘priority’, but with garage showrooms, like first dates, first impressions really count. Ensure that there are no improper slopes – use a self-levelling compound and a spirit level to correct this if it is the case.

If the floor paints you choose to ‘finish’ the concrete floor repair requires a primer, check out the full range available at Rawlins Paints, here. The medium use floor paints stocked here are for heavy foot traffic areas and medium vehicular traffic, making them applicable for most garage showrooms and forecourts.

A higher end garage showroom

For an additional grit floor coating containing decorative flakes, check out our paint additives section. For surfaces that are regularly washed and cleaned (customer sales areas), these will make the floor coating more durable, and attractive.

Repair Products

3M Scotchkote Epoxy Screed RS 820

Garages with showrooms must look extremely sleek, smooth and presentable – usually with wall/floor covings. 3M’s Scotchkote epoxy screed RS 820 is a resurfacing screed for concrete surfaces that has that professional showroom finished look. Visit the product page to find out more.

Rust-Oleum 5190 Epoxy Repair Mortar Deep Fill

Rust-Oleum’s 5190 epoxy repair mortar (deep fill) is a very strong repair mortar for quick fixes on deep holes in concrete garage floors. It is dubbed as being even stronger than concrete and can withstand high traffic, chemical spillage, and extreme temperature changes – for example, in front of showroom windows, magnifying the outside summer heatwave temperatures into the room. For internal and external use, this product is fantastic for showrooms which have open partitions/sliding external doors during office hours.

Rust-Oleum 5150 Speed Patch

Showrooms often have areas that have been exposed during building or renovation periods, and this is where Rust-Oleum’s Speed Patch is great. It is a fast setting and high strength concrete repair mortar that can also be used on steps. Suitable for internal or external use on the showroom forecourts.

What makes this product ideal for showrooms is that it can be drilled into after curing – allowing for poles, dividers and other structural features to be securely fitted to the floor.

Additional Resource

If there is any specific advice you require for your concrete floor repair project that is not covered in this article, use the search function on the main site and look at product specifications, or contact our technical support team. Alternately, leave a message for us in the comment section, on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible with product recommendations and application advice.

6 comments

  1. This article is going to be super beneficial for me. I have so many cracks in my driveway. They haven’t been a problem until last week I popped my bike tire with a shard. So I think I am going to head over to my local professional to get it fixed. Thanks for the article!

  2. I would like to redo the garage floor at my home. I would like to have something that is really modern. I would like it to be more slick than direct concrete.

  3. Concrete damage always makes me feel helpless but it’s nice to know that it’s not the end of the world. Thanks for the advice!

  4. I like how you mention applying a sealer after you make the repairs. I didn’t know that you could do that to help extend the life of the concrete. Will you have to re-apply this sealer, or is once enough to last the lifetime of the concrete? If I am going to take the time to get it repaired then I want it to last!

    • Hi April,

      Each product on the site comes with a data-sheet, where the longevity of the product is outlined in full, with recommendations and advice about any further coatings/layers that may be required later on.

      The products are all made to last though 🙂

      Best regards.

      Mark

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