How you go about garage floor repair depends of the problem and what your plans are for the floor after repairs. Cracks, pitting, scaling, and sinking are all common problems with aging garage floors and should be addressed before any coatings or overlays.
Cracks are the most common problem with concrete. Any garage floor is guaranteed to crack sooner or later and there are different ways to deal with it. If you don't have any plans to overlay or coat the floor, then it might be best to just leave it alone. Repairs to cracks are often more unsightly than the crack itself.
Before doing a coating or overlay you can treat the crack, but there's always a chance it may come back. I say "treat" because there is really no such thing as fixing a crack. It's impossible to glue concrete back together. Any shift at all in the floor will open that crack up again but it's still worth the effort to treat it.
The first step is to clean in and around the crack. Then fill it with an epoxy crack filler and trowell it smooth. This is usually enough for an epoxy coating or sealcoat. If an overlay is in the plans then I recommend another step. While the epoxy is still wet, sprinkle some silica sand on it. This gives the overlay material something to grab on to.
For further treatment to help you sleep better at night, trowell some patching cement with a bonding agent along the entire length of the crack. Then put down some mesh, like that used for drywall seams, on the wet cement and then lightly press it in and smooth it with a trowell. When it hardens you're ready for the overlay.
This is the easiest garage floor repair. The first step again is to thoroughly clean the damaged areas and immediate surounding. Then simply fill the areas with patching cement and trowell it smooth. For deeper pits you may need to do it a second time after it dries. Just be sure to use a quality patching material with a bonding agent. Cheap materials will shrink and crack (spider web) as it dries. Before a coating is applied you will probably need to sand down the edges and get rid of the boogers.
This is the most severe of garage floor problems. It's difficult give advise on a solution because each case needs to be addressed individually. Many times a repair is only a temporary solution because the root of the problem lies underneath the concrete and further sinking is imminent. It may be best to just tear it out, fix the subgrade, and repour a new floor.
For newer floors, I don't recommend any repairs. It can take years for the ground underneath to finish settling, especially if the subgrade wasn't prepared properly. It's either wait and see or rip it out, fix the subrade, and pour a new floor.
Older floors that have sunk are probably through settling, so a surface repair may be the best solution. There are overlay materials that can be applied in layers and built up to several inches thick. They should be applied in lifts no thicker than 1 inch. Once you get the sunken area up to the desired level, then you can overlay or coat the entire floor.
If you're unsure about garage floor repair being the right solution, then my advice is to get a professional to look at it before spending any money on your project.
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