Most of the times we are not bothered with the levelness of our garage floor. But over time, with constant usage, the floor will have some dips or depressions which are very annoying or in some cases it’s like this from the start due to improper installation or settling of the garage floor.
This can lead to the floor not being level enough to attach the garage doors and more common but equally as serious issues such as structurally compromised floors, water pooling, malfunctioning machines such as the washing machine and water heater and in some rare cases, uneven wearing of your tires. Or just simply bothersome when your tools, equipment or circular objects keep rolling away.
The most serious of this being, if water stays in spots on the floor for a long period of time, it can cause the concrete to further deteriorate and corrode. Also, standing water is a breeding ground for mold and mosquitos. We also know what standing water does to wood and metal.
In this article we will explain how to correct these problems with a floor levelling compound and fix your garage floor.
Reasons Why Your Garage Floor Is Not Flat And Level
Before we attempt to provide the solution, we must understand why the floor is like this in the first place. There are many reasons why your garage floor is not level, whether it was not installed improperly or certain areas have settled over time.
When laying slabs of concrete, the slab should be “floated”. Floated means to screed, level and smooth the concrete to remove any irregularities. If this procedure is not done properly, it can cause dips or bumps in your garage floor.
This is because, the procedure for pouring concrete needs to be slow and methodical. This is done so that the air bubbles trapped in the wet concrete can escape. If not, when it dries and shrinks, these air pockets will pop causing uneven surfaces and depressions.
When the slab was poured over a long time or during hot weather conditions, this caused excess shrinkage of the floor which left dips and hollows such as your typical dish shaped depression at its center.
Also, if you have an older house, especially one with an unfinished garage, the ground beneath it moves around with freeze/thaw cycles which cause shifting of pebbles or soil under your slab. The weight of all this stress also causes cracks unevenness in your garage floor.
Another possible cause of an uneven floor is if the concrete was not properly compacted. The compaction process should include vibration to remove voids and to ensure the water/cement mixture is distributed evenly. If this was not done, there will be areas with too much concrete which causes an uneven surface.
Most of this installation is done by hand to save on costs and time. This leads to installation errors and poor results.
Different Ways To Level A Garage Floor
The following are some different ways to level a garage floor. Each method has their pros and con and suited for certain conditions.
1. Using Slab Jacking With Slurry
This process involves using a proprietary chemical to break down the old concrete and injecting a slurry mixture composed of specialized aggregates, cement and water. This allows for precise lifting and levelling of certain areas without having to remove all the existing flooring.
This is suited for situations where you have a slab that has a harmonic curve or relatively small surface area needing levelled.
Also Read: How to Remove Odor From Concrete Floor
2. Slab Jacking with Polyurethane Foam
Similar to the process above, except this time polyurethane foam is used instead. This method is suited for larger areas requiring levelling as it allows for easier pumping of the chemical mixture into all areas.
The downside to this method is that if not done sufficiently, the surrounding slab may not be sufficiently supported and can collapse.
3. Leveling Compound for Smaller Issues
When using this method, the concrete slab is cleaned and a chemical levelling compound is applied on top that works to level out the floor evenly.
The downside to this method is that it usually does not provide for a high end result as it only levels the surface area . It does not correct any underlying issues within the slab itself which may cause further problems in future.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to level a garage floor?
This all depends on the extent of work required and the size of your garage. It usually starts from around $1,000 to upwards of $3,000 for larger areas in most common cases.
Can you pour self-leveling concrete over existing concrete?
Yes, self-leveling concrete can be poured over existing cement slabs as long as there were no structural inadequacies and sufficient work has been done to prepare the existing slab for the new layer.
Does concrete leveling really work?
In most cases, yes. There are a large volume of cases where people have levelled their garage floors to give them an even surface.
How thick should self-leveling concrete be?
The thickness will depend on the product being used. The usual thickness is around a centimeter thick, which will suffice for most household applications.
Concrete leveling is a good solution to your garage floor problems. However, it should be emphasized that this is a temporary solution and more permanent measures can be considered if you wanted to avoid having uneven or sinking floors.
This includes reinforcing the slab itself with rebar and doing smaller repairs on some of the cracks and deeper defects before applying self-leveling compound over them. If done properly, concrete levelling will ensure even floors for you or your customers for years to come without having to worry about surface issues such as cracking or water pooling in areas which eventually lead to unsightly stains on your new floor.