Protecting Your Garage Floor From Winter Damage
February 1, 2019
All winter long, salt and deicing fluids are poured all over to combat the icy roads. As you drive through the salts every day, you end up trailing the chemicals back to your house and into your garage, where it drips and pools onto the concrete floors and sits all winter long. And most winters, you probably never think twice about it. But road salts are made up of a chemical combination of liquid magnesium and calcium chloride. These make their way into the pores of your concrete and because this is a diluted form of the mixture, it freezes when temperatures drop and expands, causing cracks and damage to the concrete.
The salt solution can also cause patches of white stains to form on the concrete when the moisture has evaporated and the salt crystallizes, which can cause the concrete to flake and leaves an unsightly mess that you'll have to deal with come spring.
How to Prevent The Damage:
It's always best to start this process before the winter season sets in but it's never too late! Start by thoroughly cleaning your garage floor. It's also a good idea to make repairs and fill in cracks as best you can to seal up as much of the floor for preventing damage.
There are two easy routes to take to prevent damage to your floor this winter. The first is investing in mats for the garage floor, which are easy to install (you simply have to place them where the car is parked) and reliable. You can get mats that fit beneath your car or to cover your entire garage floor. The mats will take care of the problem by collecting all of the salt, water, and chemicals dripping from your car and brought in by the tires and can simply be cleaned off as needed. When the season is over, you just pack them away until next winter!
The second route is to seal your floor. Something like an acrylic sealer or a coat of epoxy can provide a barrier between the concrete and the water and chemicals being brought in and can be applied yourself. Do your research before choosing one though, as epoxy needs warmer temperatures to set. If it's already getting cold where you are, there are polyurea or polyaspartic coatings you can use instead.
How to Fix Some Damage:
While any substantial damage to the concrete may require professional repair, there is something you can do yourself about the white crystallized stains from the accumulated salt. A solution of 1 gallon of warm water, 1 cup of vinegar, and a bit of dish soap should do the trick, with a brush to scrub it away. Use a mop to get rid of as much of the residue that comes up and to make sure it doesn't seep back into the pores of the concrete somewhere else. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to finish.
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