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Guide to Improving the Durability of Your Parking Garage

Buildings are investments in the future. There are many considerations to make when building a parking garage while it is still being designed because the life of your parking garage depends on it. Here are the tips for designing your parking garage so that it will stand the test of time.

Because of the importance of details in designing and constructing parking garages, you should choose a designer who will focus his attention to detail. A carefully detailed design structure that addresses serviceability concerns like shrinkage of concrete, thermal movement, restraining effects, deflection, steel corrosion, and other concerns will help to increase the life span of the structure. Make you design team engaged throughout the entire construction and include the provisions of the International building code for structural tests and special inspections so that the contractor’s work will be evaluated for compliance with the intent of the design.

If your concrete garage is precast, there will sometimes be joints and exposed steel connections. In order for the precast concrete garage not to deteriorate quickly you need to make sure that they are detailed and constructed properly. The least that can be done is to have all exposed steel connections and embedded plates to be hot-dipped galvanized.
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If your concrete structure is cast-in-place and post-tensioned, then you should make sure to use encapsulated tendons and the concrete mix design is proportioned for durability, with admixurers that resist freeze -thaw action and reduce permeability.
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If you increase the protective concrete cover over the embedded reinforcing steel, then you also achieve improved durability. 2 inches of thickness is recommended for surfaces which are exposed to de-icing chemicals and other harsh elements. With increased cover, the black mild steel reinforcement is recommended, but with less cover it is epoxy coated reinforcement.

You should not allow electrical conduit to be embedded in the cast in place concrete portions of a structure. Severe damage can be caused to your parking garages if you embed electrical conduits because it can corrode and expand, and cause delamination and spalling.

Observing the minimum floor slope for positive drainage can effectively increase the life expectancy of a parking structure. This reduces the potential leaching of contaminated water into the concrete and causing corrosion of mild reinforcing steel, prestressed strands, or post tensioned tendons.

It is important to have regular maintenance and cleaning of the parking garage. Extending the life of your parking garage needs regular maintenance like removing harmful elements that are found in the garage even before they can cause damage, retouching galvanized coatings on exposed steel connections, and repairing failed joint seals and sealants.

The best practice for parking garage design for durability is one without the need for a surface applied traffic coating. For those garage design that do not adhere to the best practices, the option of traffic coating can extend that life of the garage. This traffic coating can also be used to reduce energy.

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