Can your commercial concrete floor be repaired, or does it need to be replaced? For managers of facilities such as warehouses, how you answer this question carries important ramifications for how time-consuming and costly your floor maintenance will be.
Unfortunately, objective answers can be hard to come by. At one time, the working assumption was that all floors needed to be replaced, and many flooring contractors still go by this rule of thumb. However, technology advancements have made it possible to repair floors more frequently. At the same time, repairs for floors with serious deterioration remain necessary, and putting these off when they are truly needed can be both expensive and hazardous. Here are some guidelines to help you decide whether your commercial floor is salvageable.
Poor installation often underlies floor maintenance issues. If the original installer did not lay the subbase properly, if they did not space the expansion joints correctly to allow for temperature changes, or if they did not match the right application to the cement, problems may emerge. When the issue lies with the original installation, replacement is usually your best solution.
When floor material has been chipped or eroded, the amount of material missing can help determine whether your floor needs repair or replacement. Minor surface damage can often be repaired, while larger or deeper damage needs replacement. In general, when less than two inches of material need maintenance, repair may be possible. For two inches or more, replacement is usually called for.
Delamination occurs when premature finishing traps water and air beneath a concrete surface. When delamination becomes severe, it can cause a thin surface layer to separate from the rest of a concrete slab. This creates a hollow sound when the affected area is struck. If delamination remains minor or limited to a small area, repair may be possible. Severe or widespread delamination requires replacement. Failing to correct serious delamination can create dangerous work conditions.
Spalling typically occurs when water enters concrete and rusts its steel reinforcements, causing the surface to flake off. Like severe delamination, this represents serious structural deterioration that can create hazardous conditions. Spalling normally requires floor replacement.
Even under the best conditions, weather eventually wears concrete down. Wide temperature extremes cause concrete to alternately swell with heat and contract with cold, placing stress on both concrete and joints and creating cracks that grow over time. Salt can also cause pits to appear in concrete. Both temperature and salt damage tend to occur more frequently in northern climates. If your floor has been worn down by weather over a long time, it may be time for replacement.
Determining whether your floor needs repair or replacement can be a tough call if you’re not an expert. Because a seriously damaged floor represents a potentially significant cost and hazard, it’s important to get your maintenance needs assessed by a qualified specialist. At Concrete Coatings of the Carolinas, we specialize in providing the highest-quality commercial flooring covers to businesses and municipalities in North and South Carolina, and we’re familiar with all types of flooring and floor maintenance issues. To set up a consultation, call us or use our online form to get in touch with our experts and schedule a professional survey of your floor space.