Parking is an essential part of everyday life, especially for those living in metropolitan areas who rely heavily on parking structures for their daily routine. It’s almost impossible to find a surface that endures the same beating as a parking garage from vehicles, pedestrians and direct exposure to the elements 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With the constant weight of heavy vehicular traffic, pedestrians, severe moisture exposure, leaks, spills, sunlight, heavy snow and ice, parking decks are a high risk for extensive, costly and sometimes irreparable damage. Shutting a parking garage down to address structural and surface damages is a huge inconvenience; therefore, commercial parking garage owners need to invest in high performance solutions that will protect their structures and keep them standing strong for years to come. Parking deck coating systems are an affordable way to prevent extensive damage that would otherwise require maintenance- and repair-related closures.
What are parking deck coatings?
Since parking decks and garages experience a lot of wear and tear, they are prone to dirt and debris buildup, cracks, stains, fading and potholes. Therefore, these concrete structures need something protecting them to maintain their integrity. A parking deck coating is a layer of seamless protection against the external factors that damage parking deck flooring. They function like a traffic coating. All protective deck coatings come with different features — including waterproofing, slip resistance and UV resistance — that help keep parking structures strong, safe and clean.
The different types of floor coatings
To ensure proper adhesion, curing and long-lasting results, you need to choose the right type of floor coating. Here are the three most common types of coating systems:
Epoxy coatings are an easy to apply, economical floor coating solution that has been used for many years. Their durability makes them great for heavy-duty surfaces that see extreme traffic, like loading docks and service ramps.
However, epoxy systems are extremely rigid and cannot bridge cracks, so they do not waterproof when used alone. This also makes them degrade quicker when exposed to continuous sunlight. The lack of flexibility with epoxy coatings does not allow them to accommodate for movement in concrete slabs.
Polyurethane is a waterproof, durable membrane that works for various levels of traffic. Polyurethane deck coatings contain a primer, base coat membrane and heavy-duty topcoat that allow for seamless application and fast curing. They also have high levels of performance against UV, impact, abrasion and chemical resistance. Polyurethane coatings are ideal for high impact and heavy traffic parking structures.
Polyurea coatings dry almost immediately, are walkable within a few minutes and can be driven on within a few hours. Polyurea also has strong waterproofing capabilities and can extend by over 400%, making it ideal for coating and repairing surface cracks. The fast-drying nature of polyurea makes it ideal for parking decks and garages because it limits the amount of time the structure is out of service.
Which coating is right for my parking structure?
Concrete parking deck coatings do not follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on the design of your parking structure, each level may need a different type of coating. For example, high-traffic parking garages with consistent flows of vehicular and pedestrian traffic will need a very strong protective coating that can withstand intense types of wear and tear. Conversely, a parking garage that is rarely used or requires exclusive access will not need an intense coating because it does not see as much traffic.
Additionally, the exposure of different elements on each level of your parking structure requires specific considerations. The basement levels of parking garages usually receive very little sun exposure, so they do not need a high level of UV resistance. However, since they’re underground, they’re exposed to moisture, so a strong waterproof coating is a must-have.
The intermediate levels of a parking garage get some water and sun exposure, but they’re more prone to pressure and weight from vehicles and people. Therefore, they need a coating that not only protects against UV rays and moisture, but is also incredibly durable and strong to prevent wear and tear from nonstop traffic.
The top level of a parking structure receives the most direct sunlight, as well as exposure to extremely hot and cold temperature changes that cause constant flexing. Top levels also endure all weather elements, so they will require an incredibly robust and resilient protective coating that withstands extreme conditions.
Since all buildings are different, we recommend relying on the experience of a trusted commercial resinous flooring contractor to evaluate the condition of your parking deck to determine which coating solutions are necessary for your specific structure.
Ready to add a new coating to your parking deck?
While built to last and withstand extreme outdoor elements, adding a parking deck coating to your structure is a highly recommended, long-term solution that will keep it performing well for years to come. As a leader in commercial projects and an expert in concrete repair and restoration, Robert Haines Co. has proudly served businesses in Indianapolis and beyond since 1937. Decades of experience utilizing innovative equipment and technology has our trusted team of experts prepared to meet any challenge your structure may be facing. We are always eager to discuss your parking deck coating needs, so let us know how we can help!