BY LILAH STITES
Concrete is known for its durability but without a maintenance plan, you will not be able to maximize the lifespan of your structure. In addition, consistent maintenance ensure that your parking structure is kept aesthetically appealing. Generally speaking, maintenance can be broken down into three separate types.
First is general housekeeping. The goal of general housekeeping is mainly to enhance user experience. A couple of high priority items are as follows:
General trash removal to maintain sanitation throughout the garage.
Maintaining any lighting fixtures that are present. This can really help improve users sense of security and the aesthetic beauty of your garage.
Re-painting of painted surfaces. This can help users use your garage more efficiently as well as increase performance.
At a minimum, a maintenance inspection and general housekeeping should occur once a year.
The next type of maintenance is preventative. Although preventative maintenance is very similar to housekeeping, preventative maintenance is less about aesthetic restoration and more about addressing any known structural issues that may occur as your garage ages.
Preventative maintenance comprises a visual inspection of all garage elements. This includes anything from checking all precast elements for cracking and/or spalling to making sure that all systems are still working, such as fire suppression and security systems. Most preventative maintenance should happen bi-annual, but can be staggered depending on the size of your structure.
The third and final type of maintenance is structural maintenance. Structural maintenance arises upon visual inspections that happen during preventative checks. Structural repairs are wide and varied on a case by case basis, and most occur from a type of chipping or cracking of concrete surfaces. It is recommended that if any structural repairs are needed for your parking structure that you contact an engineer to assess the severity of the problem and to provide a proper repair if necessary.
Most but not all structural repairs can be taken care by a patching crew and are not uncommon. Smaller cracks can be injected with epoxy and then smoothed over again with a layer of concrete to make it match again, but for more severe repairs, parts of your structure may have to be temporary closed to complete the required repairs.
For any questions, comments, or concerns when it comes to maintaining your precast parking structure feel free to contact any of us at East Texas Precast.