Why Does The Garage Floor Grow Lines During The Cold Season?

By George Kerstainzer

It's that time of the year again. The icicles start appearing on the overhangs, snow is all over the ground, and you just noticed that your garage floor has a crack going down the center that's about the size of the San Andreas fault. Why does this always seem to happen in the winter, do you ask?

A Concrete Garage Floor Will Absorb Any Liquid

Your concrete garage floor acts like a very, very slow sponge. Any liquid that comes in contact with it will be soaked up, albeit slowly. Those of us who have changed their own oil know this as the smallest bit of motor oil will create a tiny, but permanent stain. All concrete garage floors are the same, so you're not alone here, either. Any garage flooring that has no cover will absorb water as well. Water doesn't sound very threatening, I know, as it would be a clear stain, right? Unfortunately, when the temperature gets low enough, water does something that many other chemicals don't do...

A Frigid Saboteur

Water, of course, freezes. Most people know that things usually contract as they become colder, and while water is no exception, it also becomes solid. No, ice itself is not stronger than concrete, but tiny pieces of solid ice peppered within the concrete will add solidness where it's not supposed to be. This will result in a concrete garage floor that exhibits unusual rigidity. This can be a very destructive thing as the concrete contracts, which is what it will do as it gets cold.

Moisture Is Very Tenacious

Your first thought will be to always make sure the garage door is closed. That won't always help, though. Humidity is also in the air, and will find ways to seep in to the garage floor, no matter how well sealed it is. There is no such things as a waterproof garage (is there?), so every garage floor can be compromised by moisture, no matter how protected they seem. Moisture will also get to the concrete from the ground, on the underneath and the sides, but that largely depends on the area you are in, how often it rains, and if water tends to stand against the garage, as well as the height of your area's water table.

A Garage Floor Covering Can Prevent This!

Garage floor coverings, such as tiles, mats, and the like, definitely help protect your concrete, and can play a large part in the fight against cracks and lines. You can't do much about any of the moisture that comes from the earth itself but, honestly, that's normally a very small part of the equation. The majority of the moisture will be from the air itself. The only time ground moisture really comes into effect is when you're considering an epoxy garage floor coating as they can easily be damaged by pretty much any moisture coming from underneath, even though it is the best solution against water from above. Using a garage floor covering instead can be helpful since they will be there to absorb any moisture that they don't deflect.

Will A Garage Floor Covering Help If I'm Absolutely Positive That Moisture Wasn't To Blame?

Yes, it sure will. Aside from the sun heating it from above, which isn't very likely if your garage is kept closed up, your garage floor's main source of warmth comes from underneath. With a covering or coating of any kind, this warmth will be retained far more effectively, and keeping your garage floor warmer means keeping it from contracting, and hopefully cracking. - 29952

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