In business or industrial settings, parking garages and parking decks undergo some of the most strenuous abuse of any substrate. Parking structures age quickly, even when they are carefully used only as intended.
Parking structures that are accessible to the public can face even more wear and tear. Fast or incautious driving can cause skid marks and fender benders, further eroding the quality of the parking deck.
A well-kept parking deck not only reduces the cost of building maintenance, but also contributes to a higher level of safety for your personnel and the public. Of all the things that could go wrong in a parking facility, a recordable OSHA incident is one of the most significant. It could result in thousands of dollars in liabilities.
Luckily, parking decks can sustain long periods of excellent performance with the right maintenance practices.
Here’s how you can increase the longevity of your parking deck:
1. Follow Your Maintenance Manual
If your parking deck has been coated recently, you probably received a warranty. Along with your warranty comes a maintenance manual with specific instructions on maintaining your coating. Following those guidelines not only raises the longevity of your coatings but keeps your coverage intact in case you need service in the future. If you have an older deck or did not receive warranty information, proactive maintenance becomes more critical.
2. Start Maintenance Routines with Pressure Washing
Pressure washing is the necessary first step in virtually all parking deck maintenance. It quickly removes the basic surface contamination that hasn’t penetrated into the deck yet. Pressure washing is usually prescribed within the maintenance manual and should be performed at least twice annually to meet industry maintenance standards. The benefits are greatly increased if you can pressure wash every quarter.
3. Be Alert to “People-Caused” Deck Contamination
Most contamination caused by people using your facility will occur in the winter. Still, be alert to issues in the summer including car leaks, tire residues, and food spills. In general, early spring and early fall are the ideal times to conduct pressure washing. Pressure washing should always be performed after hours or during closures to reduce the risk of accidents caused by a slick parking deck.
4. Contract Out Your Deck Cleaning
As a rule of thumb, it’s only possible to power wash about 15,000 square feet per day. If you have a big parking garage of 150,000 square feet, you’ll easily tie up your maintenance staff for ten days, not to mention the cost of equipment rental. Contractors can get the job done fast and bring all the necessary tools for the job. With four or five pressure washing machines, that can mean wrapping up the entire job in just two days.
5. Inspect Your Facility’s Drains Once a Week
Few things can damage your parking deck as quickly or as extensively as a clogged drain. Clogs can cause such severe problems that it’s essential to inspect each of your drains every week. Drains sit at the lowest part of your parking area and water that collects there can be trapped for days if it doesn’t drain properly. Corrosive run-off can damage the metal drains, surrounding concrete, and the coating system.
6. Perform Full Visual Coating Inspections Once a Month
Coating adhesion issues develop without warning, but they are much easier to resolve in the early stages. No matter what coating system you use, there will be clear visual indicators of any adhesion problem. It’s vital to take action right away if coatings begin to peel. Moisture can become trapped under the affected area, causing the peeling to spread very rapidly. Corners and entryways should receive special attention.
7. Consider a New Epoxy Floor System
Concrete alone may not stand up to the heavy, constant use demanded by a parking structure. Polished concrete is more durable, but not suitable for many vehicles due to the risk of slipping tires. Epoxy flooring can greatly extend the service life of your underlying concrete slab while improving its performance qualities. A range of elements can be mixed in to give the flooring proper grip qualities, too.
8. Get the Drop on Coating System Wellness
Even the best coating systems are vulnerable under the intense pressures of a parking lot or garage. The sooner you notice and diagnose a problem, the easier it is to fix – and the less likely you’ll be dealing with a systemic issue that can undermine the whole flooring system. Once your team reports coating degradation, get in touch with an expert right away so you can form a solid plan of what to do next.
Consistency is the key to a reliable parking deck that operates for years without complaints. Integrate these tips into your documented maintenance plan and you’ll secure significant savings by keeping coatings intact longer.