Assessing the state of your building’s parking garage is a crucial task you should be conducting regularly.  Parking garages have to be strong – both structurally and on the surface – to endure a lot of daily vehicular traffic.  To carry out a parking garage inspection with or without the building’s superintendent, it will help to be familiar with a number of popular construction terms and their usages. This glossary can help you to familiarize yourself with terms used by builders, restoration contractors, and engineers.

Blast Track Surfacing: This is a type of surface treatment that is dust-free and uses no chemicals or water. It can remove paint from concrete flooring and create anti-slip surfaces for walkways and heavily trafficked pedestrian areas. How it works is a metal abrasive is thrown by a rapidly rotating blast wheel. It is accelerated towards the surface being prepared and strikes the surface area.

Crack Injections: This is the most common method of repairing cracks used in the last several decades.There are two types of resin used for injecting foundation cracks:  epoxy or polyurethane (also known as urethane).

Coating System: Parking garage floors (vehicular decks) are ideally coated with polyurethane. Polyurethane vehicle and pedestrian traffic deck coating is installed in parkades, truck loading dock areas, and garbage rooms. It provides a wearing surface for your concrete floors and also provides waterproofing.

Efflorescence: These are crystalline deposits of salts seen on concrete, brick, stucco or natural stone surfaces. The deposits are left by water and have a flaky, white appearance.

Epoxy: Also called epoxy resin, this is an adhesive that contains an artificial substance that sets hard when heated or when pressure is applied to it.  

Expansion Joint:  An expansion joint is a mid-structure separation designed to relieve stress on building materials caused by heat expansion and contraction, as well as wind. Parking structures in particular require expansion joint systems that can tolerate considerable horizontal and vertical movement, have good weather resistance and are waterproof.  

Laitance:  This term is used to identify a thin, flaky layer of hardened (yet weak) hydrated cement and fine sand, which began as milky scum on the top surface of concrete. Laitance is a major cause of failure in flooring installation. Neglecting laitance on your parking-garage floor can lead to early failure of the floor’s coating.

Mastic Membrane: Membrane mastic is a solvent-based modified asphalt mastic.  It used to fill voids, tie holes, seam edges, overlaps and penetration details prior to waterproofing or damp proofing.

Post-Tensioning System: This is a technique for reinforcing concrete.

Sandblasting: This is a surface treatment process that is used in a variety of industries. When sandblasting, finely ground silica sand is used to clean and abrade a surface of metal, rust, paint and other unwanted surface materials.   

Sealant: This is a material used for sealing something, in order to make it airtight or watertight. In a parking garage, pooling water is the enemy. An effective sealer on concrete will help keep the moisture out and from damaging your flooring.

Slab: A large, thick, flat piece of stone, concrete, or wood, typically rectangular. In parking garages the slab is the main structure of the vehicular decks.

Spalling: This is a result of water entering brick, concrete or natural stone and forcing the surface to peel, pop out or flake off. In concrete, spalling occurs because there is moisture in the concrete. In parking garages especially, moisture and salt pushes outward from the inside. Eventually, spalling can cause crumbling and destruction of a structure.

Vehicular Deck: This refers to the floors of your parking garage that must be durable enough to withstand the heavy weight of vehicles passing in and out.

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compound): These refer to a large group of chemicals that are found in many products used in everyday life. For example, most solvents used in paint are VOCs. It’s important that the materials used in the vehicular deck coating system, as an example, meet existing VOC regulations so they don’t let off as many dangerous emissions.

Waterproof Membrane: This is a self-adhesive membrane made of elastomeric bitumen and a trilaminate woven polyethylene facer. It is the ideal waterproofing solution for roofs, and can also be used for decks, balconies, patios, foundations and foundation cracks, shower bases and wash-up rooms. It tends to be flexible and can withstand temperature extremes.

CDC is your industry expert when it comes to Parking Garage Restoration and Waterproofing.  Please contact us with any questions at 905-712-1232.