Parking Garage Caulking

Water is a major source of corrosion and deterioration in parking garages, especially in colder environments where freezing occurs. Caulking, sometimes called joint sealant, protects vulnerable areas from water and harmful de-icing chemicals. Proper maintenance and replacement of these garage waterproofing elements is often less costly than repairing the significant deterioration that failure can cause.

Cracked caulking in parking garage concrete

Knowing when you need caulking services

Aging and exposure to the elements deteriorate sealing caulk. As joint sealants reach the end of their service life, they become less elastic and start to dry out, especially if exposed to the sun. Improper installation, damage from winter maintenance and even abrasions from dirt can also cause failure in caulking. A comprehensive inspection will help identify this type of damage and its root cause so you can address the problem immediately to avoid larger-scale repairs.


Experts in caulk repair and replacement

Our experts will periodically perform leak surveys during rainy weather to identify leaks. We’ll then determine the right approach, whether that’s a localized repair or full parking garage sealant replacement. With help from a StructureCare expert, your team can ensure all your waterproofing systems, including caulking, properly protect your parking garage.

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The Value and Benefit of Predictive Maintenance

Generally speaking, parking structure repair becomes top-of-mind for parking structure owners and parking management companies when there’s a problem — or worse, when they’re informed of a problem by someone else. With predictive maintenance, the surprises are eliminated, including damages, associated costs and unexpected downtime.


Predictive vs. preventative

Preventative maintenance is probably already a familiar term. It’s simply using past knowledge to stop larger repairs from being needed via routine, expected maintenance. As part of our business model, it helps parking structure owners with keeping repair costs down.

Predictive maintenance takes it a step further. Predictive maintenance assesses everything about a structure and uses that information (alongside our existing knowledge) to make informed predictions about what’s needed over the next three to five years. Predictive maintenance, unlike preventative maintenance, is based on figuring out what could happen to a structure due to how it was built, where it is and what it might experience.

A note to keep in mind, here: Most parking structure owners think that predictive maintenance isn’t really needed for a newly constructed garage. That’s not the case. In fact, the best time to start a predictive maintenance program is just after construction is finished.

The biggest benefit of performing a predictive audit on your newly constructed garage is that we may find issues that are still covered under warranty. Most parking structures come with a one-year warranty from the general contractor, so if we find a construction issue, like poor concrete cover, fixing it may be covered at no cost to you. Construction issues like these can accelerate deterioration, and that means a much shorter life for your garage and more potential repairs. By catching issues early, predictive maintenance can cut down on those problems and extend your parking structure’s service life.


The true cost of deferred maintenance

“Cost of deferral” is a term we use a lot at StructureCare. Simply put, it’s what can happen when small repairs aren’t made, leading to larger, costlier repairs. There are three types of service that a parking structure needs:

Interim maintenance: These are routine, small-ticket things that need to be done for a garage to be kept in good condition — your basic parking garage maintenance.

Service life replacements: This is the process of keeping up with items that have a limited service life, like waterproofing systems. These items wear down over time, so replacing them regularly is important.

Repairs and restoration: These range from relatively small to time-consuming, expensive repairs. Small or large, these types of projects are almost always avoidable when routine maintenance and service life replacements schedules are kept.

The good news is that we’ve found keeping up with the first two items on the list above makes the third item almost nonexistent for parking structure owners. And that’s what we’re talking about when we refer to “cost of deferral.” If interim maintenance and service life replacement is not done regularly, a parking garage will need repair and restoration. And that comes with a lot more cost and time. But keeping up with interim maintenance and service life replacements lets your approach to maintenance be routine and predictable, not reactionary.


Predictive maintenance in action

Predictive maintenance is an ongoing process that investigates not only how a parking structure was built but what is affecting it today and can potentially affect it in the future. It helps uncover the underlying cause of a problem instead of just the symptom, allowing for a long-term fix. Predictive maintenance strategies also evaluate the effectiveness of previous repairs while proactively monitoring and addressing service life replacement needs.

On top of that, a predictive approach assesses structural maintenance and repair strategies for value. By making sure to maximize repair and maintenance dollars, predictive maintenance can reveal the cost of addressing repair needs now compared to the cost of deferral.

In short, predictive maintenance is a program that looks at likely areas of accelerated deterioration, investigates likely areas where deterioration can occur and plans maintenance and upkeep to maximize the value of repair costs.

The entirety of predictive maintenance hinges on proactive solutions, reducing risks and managing life cycle costs. At StructureCare, we condense these ideas into anticipate, mitigate and control.

Anticipate — For our service contract clients, we perform a combination of full-scale assessments, field investigations and reviews. We use our findings to develop strategies to mitigate the root cause of any problems and help our clients prioritize the work that needs to be done.

Mitigate — When StructureCare finds a problem, we move into the mitigate phase. This is where we complete preventative repairs and maintenance.

Control — With both the anticipate and mitigate steps in place, you gain control over the future of your parking structure. Control, in this case, means you can plan for repairs with less disruption to operation, stretch your budget further and not wake up to a big, costly problem.

Predictive maintenance, at its core, is about making decisions rather than responding to issues. Slowing down the rate of deterioration, managing life cycle costs and maximizing service life all lead to the best return on maintenance investment.


Why predictive maintenance is so valuable

Predictive maintenance is all about time. Without it, you’re stuck reacting to problems — and typically not at a time that is convenient. When you’re focused on interim repair and service life replacement instead (discovered in the “anticipate” phase and handled in the “mitigate” phase explained above), you aren’t just responding to problems. You have time to plan out when repairs are going to happen.

For example, with predictive maintenance, you can plan to install a new waterproofing treatment on your schedule. Instead of an emergency repair that shuts down your garage during your busiest month, you can look ahead and select a slower period when this service life replacement will happen. That way, you avoid an emergency leak situation, minimize disruption and can budget for the repair.

Another big benefit of predictive maintenance is how much it can extend the life of your parking structure. Typically, a garage’s service life is 70 to 75 years, and neglect can drastically reduce it. But with a predictive maintenance program in place, parking garage owners can see double or triple the service life of a neglected garage.

Predictive maintenance also helps you maximize the use of your garage. If even a part of your garage is in bad shape, it may take hundreds of parking spaces out of use, which costs you revenue. By keeping up with maintenance and addressing issues proactively, you ensure the whole structure is usable for the long term. And although you’re going to spend more consistently on maintenance over the life of your parking structure, it’s still far less than you’d spend tearing down and rebuilding a brand-new garage.


How to get started

Getting started with predictive maintenance can seem huge, but the truth is the right partner can help. Instead of depending on an assortment of groups (structural contractors, engineering firms, project managers, consultants, etc.), it’s best to find a single partner who can own everything. And that’s what we do — from assessing a parking structure to inspection and repair. With one partner who owns the program, predictive maintenance becomes the key to unlocking the longevity of a parking structure. Partner with us for a predictive audit of your parking structure. From there, we’ll work with you to determine maintenance and repair strategies and discuss what practices and structural preservation systems can be put in place to avoid more costly repair work in the future. Plus, we’ll educate your training and maintenance staff so they can spot issues and get them resolved faster and more accurately.

View The Value and Benefit of Predictive Maintenance

Parking Structure Deterioration Guide

A parking garage is subject to stress from the first day concrete is poured and the structure is erected. Without proper maintenance, deterioration can reduce the structure’s service life by up to one-third — and result in unplanned downtime, exposure to increased risk, unexpected maintenance and increased costs.

Understanding common causes of deterioration and how they impact a parking garage is the first step in building a predictive maintenance plan that optimizes your structure’s health and stabilizes your budget. Let’s look at the factors that might be degrading your garage right now.

Download the Infographic: Common Types of Parking Garage Deterioration: Make a Plan to Protect Your Structure with Routine Maintenance.


Common Types of Parking Structure Deterioration

Waterproofing Failures

From traffic coatings to expansion joint sealants, waterproofing systems are essential tools for protecting your investment. When they fail and allow water into vulnerable areas, the resulting damage can wreak havoc on critical components and structures. Wide temperature swings and improper installation can lead to system failure. Vehicles and equipment cause damage as well, whether it’s a car colliding with a column or a snowplow scraping a deck coating.

In addition to acute damage, the service life of a waterproofing system is less than that of the parking structure itself — a roof-level sealant exposed to the elements may only last 7 to 10 years. This factor means that, along with regular assessment to pinpoint damage, it’s also critical to replace waterproofing systems as they near the end of their service life.

Explore our infographic, “Common Types of Parking Garage Deterioration: Make a Plan to Protect Your Structure with Routine Maintenance.”

Chemical Reactions

De-icers, particularly those using popular chloride chemicals, are among the most aggressive concrete deteriorators. Concrete absorbs chlorides like a sponge. Once they penetrate the surface, the de-icing chemicals can rust reinforcing steel. Chloride can also lead to surface cracks, delamination or fractures, or cracking and spalling of the concrete cover.

Other chemical-related deterioration includes sulfate attacks, caused by sulfates in soil, ground water or sea water. Sulfate attacks can result in cracking or strength loss and in some cases can disintegrate the concrete. Although less common in modern parking structures, alkali silica reactivity (ASR) can also be the source of damage. This internal chemical attack results from concrete’s incompatibility with other building materials, leading to cracking.

Learn more in our infographic, “Common Types of Parking Garage Deterioration: Make a Plan to Protect Your Structure with Routine Maintenance.”

Freeze-Thaw Cycle

Parking garages exposed to regular freeze-thaw cycles are also at risk for damage. For example, water that seeps into pores and capillaries expands as it freezes. The expansion pressure can lead to additional fractures that eventually work outward toward the surface. Common on horizontal surfaces exposed to water, the impact of freeze-thaw cycles frequently damages porous concrete.

In addition, the freeze-thaw cycle can make existing damage worse. Water can freeze in cracks caused by other factors, from de-icing chemicals to vehicle damage. As a result, even small cracks can quickly expand and lead to the need for more expansive repairs.

Discover more deterioration types in “Common Types of Parking Garage Deterioration: Make a Plan to Protect Your Structure with Routine Maintenance.”


The cold, white stuff can cause headaches that go well beyond the work of clearing snow from your parking garage and the surrounding property. A snow pile pushed against a load-bearing wall can dislodge the wall, creating safety issues for staff and customers, as well as requiring an expensive emergency repair.

Weight overload during and after snow events can also impact a parking garage’s structural health. For example, a snow pile might weigh more than the building’s recommended design limits, causing excess structural stress. Vehicles used to haul snow can exceed deck capacity, too. Like any weight overload situation, these scenarios can lead to damage and, in the worst case, cause collapse, endangering people as well as the structure itself.

Read more in our infographic, “Common Types of Parking Garage Deterioration: Make a Plan to Protect Your Structure with Routine Maintenance.”


Do You Have a Plan for Addressing Deterioration in Your Parking Structure?

While emergencies are always a possibility for any parking structure, it’s important to address common types of deterioration on a regular basis. Without attention, deterioration can accelerate quickly and lead to higher costs down the road.

Whether you need to mitigate snow-related damage or talk with restoration consultants to address waterproofing failures, StructureCare’s team is ready to help. Our engineering experts have refined the traditional parking garage management approach to provide you with streamlined maintenance and restoration processes, as well as improved cost control.

Let’s solve your structure’s maintenance or deterioration issue today. Contact us.

View Parking Structure Deterioration Guide

How to Handle Parking Structure Weather Challenges Year-Round

Weather resiliency, or the ability of a structure to withstand weather events, has become increasingly important as weather patterns change and become more severe. But even without severe weather, parking structures will face plenty of challenges thanks to rain, snow, extreme heat and wind.

There are two ways to look at responding to the environment. The first, and more costly, is to only address weather-related damage when it happens. The other is to proactively plan and prepare for it, saving money and time and increasing the service life of your garage.


Common weather challenges


Water is perhaps one of the most frequent environmental challenges to a parking garage. Water can degrade concrete and seep into supporting metal structures, causing rust and delamination, while salt from marine environments can cause accelerated corrosion. A little bit of water might not seem like a big problem, but it’s important to keep in mind that years of water penetration, without treatment, creates cumulative damage to your parking structure. Ultimately, this leads to much bigger, much more expensive fixes. That’s why keeping up garage waterproofing efforts is so important.


Damage from snow can happen in a few different ways. Overloading due to piled snow can put more weight on your structure than the design allows. And plow damage can happen when a plow piles snow against a load-bearing wall, pushing it away from the structure and dislodging it, which could cause structural damage and the need for emergency repair. Likewise, chemical damage is possible if a garage is improperly treated for snow and ice.


Extreme heat can cause a structure to expand and contract in ways that, if not considered during building, may result in cracking and oxidation. Likewise, waterproofing sealants and coatings may crack apart in the heat, which means the next time it rains, your parking structure isn’t protected.


Your every-season checklist

Being proactive when facing weather challenges throughout the year can mean the difference between expensive, unplanned repairs and routine, expected maintenance as part of your weather resiliency plan. An important part of weather resiliency, and one that’s often overlooked, is maintenance staff training. If your maintenance staff doesn’t know how to identify, address or avoid common weather-related challenges, your parking garage will continue to deteriorate or experience unexpected damage from weather-related incidents.

Outside of training, however, there are specific ways to address weather-related issues throughout the year.


The biggest challenge with spring is rain. So, take steps to make sure your garage is ready.

  • Check for water damage and pooling near drains and other low-lying areas.
  • Watch for leaks during heavy rainstorms and schedule repairs, if needed.
  • Perform an inspection to uncover and address any new winter damage.
  • Look for cracks in the concrete, chipping in topical waterproofing coatings and any damage to joints.


Summer certainly comes with the challenge of rain, but it can also mean heat waves and severe storms.

  • On very hot days, check on joints and waterproofing coatings for cracking and flaking.
  • Check for water pooling and leaks after heavy rains.
  • Perform an inspection for structural damage after severe storms.


Fall can bring any number of challenges, including rain, snow, cold and heat. But this is also the time to prepare for winter maintenance.

  • Check drains for debris buildup and clear any clogs.
  • Inspect waterproofing surfaces after large temperature fluctuations.
  • Prepare your team for the colder months with winter maintenance training.


The biggest concerns for a parking garage during winter are snow and ice. But with training and preparation, you can overcome these challenges.

  • Inspect joints and surfaces after snow cleanup or ice removal for accidental damage to joints or parking garage deck waterproofing.
  • Lessen the chance of damage by clearly marking joints for easy identification during snow removal.
  • Check for ice buildup in unexpected places, like wall joints or drains.
  • Ensure snow piles are not heavier than your parking structure can handle.
  • Use de-icers to prevent slip-and-fall injuries.
  • Make sure your maintenance crew applies de-icers correctly to lessen the risk of corrosion.
  • Communicate with third-party contractors about joint locations and where to pile snow.


A partner that’s ready year-round

Being ready for what the weather has to dish out can be challenging, but that’s what StructureCare is here for. With our extensive knowledge and experience, we can help you develop a proactive maintenance plan that accounts for extreme weather and typical wear-and-tear. Plus, we can help train your staff to look for the signs of weather-related deterioration long before they become much bigger problems.

After a severe weather event, we can also come to your parking garage and determine what damage occurred and how to handle it quickly. We’ll even coordinate all third-party contractor repair communication. Our job is to make sure your parking garage is ready every season of the year so you don’t need to worry about every dark cloud on the horizon.

View How to Handle Parking Structure Weather Challenges Year-Round

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