Parking structures are an integral part of cities all across the country, providing visitors and their vehicles with a place to park and shelter from the elements. They also often provide access to offices and housing.
The challenging part of maintaining a parking structure is the onslaught of environmental stressors like moisture, expansion and contraction, carbonation, and everyday wear-and-tear. Vehicles regularly entering parking structures cause dynamic loads, and leave oil, water, and other debris behind, not to mention the salt and de-icers in winter climates that are left behind during inclement weather.
Facility managers have a tough job when it comes to maintaining parking garages and protecting them from deterioration. How can you avoid costly repairs?
- Ponding: Standing water is a huge issue in parking structures that can cause a tremendous amount of damage over time if not addressed early. Drain installation can prevent future, larger problems.
- Expansion joint failure: Detecting expansion joint problems and reacting quickly to make repairs is very beneficial in the long run. Failed joints provide another avenue for water to reach the reinforcing steel and connector plates.
- Horizontally or vertically cracked concrete: Concrete that has spalled or is cracking represents areas of potential structural damage that needs to be addressed. Cracks let water reach the structure’s reinforcing steel causing it to erode.
- Exposed rebar: If you can see rebar, it deserves immediate attention. Introduced to water, rebar corrodes and expands up to eight times its original size. This is due to water penetration into the concrete.
Avoid Costly Repairs by Maintaining Your Parking Structure
Water is the number 1 cause of parking structure deterioration. Water-saturated concrete can freeze, expand, and spall. Combined with oxygen, water can also cause corrosion of the concrete reinforcing.
Exposure to deicing salts accelerates this process. As reinforcing steel expands as it rusts, this process also leads to concrete spalling. Spalled concrete provides less cover or protection of the reinforcing which leads to further (and accelerated) deterioration if not repaired in a timely manner.
The IEI Structural Engineering Advantage
Our engineers at IEI specialize in parking structure restoration. We’ll walk your facility and let you know of any conditions that require immediate attention and what maintenance activities you can perform now to extend the life of your facility. Give us a call today!