Parking Garage Spring Maintenance Checklist

PROJECT OVERVIEW

From snow to ice to wind, parking structures are subject to the worst conditions winter offers. As we move into warmer weather, now is the time to assess the winter damage your parking structure may have endured during the colder months so you can prioritize necessary maintenance and repairs. By performing regularly scheduled condition assessments and proactive maintenance, you can maximize the service life of your structure and also lower operational costs, reduce safety hazards and prevent premature structural failure.

 

How did winter wreak havoc on your parking structure?

No matter your parking structure’s age, construction type or condition, aggressive winter maintenance can cause damage that triggers costly repairs, downtime and even premature failure.

Snow & the freeze-thaw cycle

Damage related to winter maintenance activities can be significant. Pushing snow against the perimeter of the structure might seem like the right thing to do, but this could impose excessive loads against the perimeter walls and spandrels, causing them to bow outward. This can result in significant structural damage, requiring emergency repair. Also, piling snow more than a few feet can quickly exceed the design capacity of the garage, resulting in structural damage or collapse. Lastly, skid-steer loaders, often used to push or load out snow, can easily create damaging overloading conditions with full buckets of wet snow.

Plows and skid-steer loaders used to move snow can cause significant damage to traffic coatings, expansion joints and joint sealants. This damage allows water to penetrate below the surface, which can accelerate deterioration, particularly during fluctuations in the freeze-thaw cycle. An experienced professional can help evaluate and plan safe winter maintenance practices.

Ice

Ice may seem like it’s only a concern during the coldest winter weather, but it also causes problems that manifest later. Improper use of de-icers can cause corrosion, as chemicals like chloride in the de-icers migrate into a reinforced concrete slab, causing delamination or fractures.

Ice can also clog drains, which leads to standing water. In addition to creating a safety hazard for customers and staff in the winter, pooled water can corrode concrete, leading to additional damage later. Ice buildup can also cause damage in unexpected places, like wall joints or drains.

Water

Water can cause as much damage in winter as it does other times of the year. Whether it’s coming from rainfall or melted snow, it can cause significant stress that impacts your structure’s health. When water contacts concrete, it can seep into it, rusting and delaminating internal structures, like reinforcing steel. Water combined with chloride, as found in de-icers, can accelerate corrosion.

 

Prepare your parking garage for spring.

As you move into the spring season, it’s time to proactively identify winter damage so you can avoid costly and unplanned repairs down the road.

  • Inspect joints and surfaces for cracks, chips and other damage.
  • Examine waterproofing coatings as well as roof-level and architectural sealants, especially as they near the end of their service life.
  • Sweep parking surfaces to remove loose debris and clear any cracks that formed during winter. Loose debris on the surface can create a slip-and-fall hazard, while debris that falls into cracks can widen the crack even further.
  • Ensure drainage systems are cleared of debris and functioning properly to avoid the risk of standing water that can come with spring storms.

Post-winter assessments are essential to a proactive maintenance program that helps lower costs, mitigate risk and maximize your parking garage’s life span. Whether your structure experienced a normal winter or a 100-year storm, our structural experts can assess any damage and develop a proactive maintenance plan that reduces the impact of wintry weather on your business.

Along with an assessment, a proactive maintenance program will also prioritize and implement needed actions such as fixing concrete damage, repairing waterproofing coatings or performing a chloride-removing pressure wash. This approach might also identify gaps and help prevent damage during future winters. For example, it might suggest that third-party snow removal contractors receive additional training to reduce damage from snowplows.

 

Spring ahead with the right parking garage predictive maintenance partner.

As the weather warms, a proper maintenance assessment, prioritization and implementation are key to keeping your parking structure healthy. StructureCare’s team is ready to help you navigate post-winter challenges and ensure that your parking garage is ready for the spring season — and all the seasons that follow.

Learn more about winter damage repair and restoration solutions to protect your parking structure investment.