The solid weight and strength of concrete makes it the perfect base for a garage. It can stand up to the weight of vehicles, tools, bicycles and all the other stuff that ends up in garages around the world. Today’s concrete floors can be plain or stamped with designs to enhance and beautify the space. You can hire a company or skilled handyman to do the job. If you’re brave you can attempt it yourself, but that’s probably not advised if you lack the expertise or skills.
Image of a Mixer Truck
A Man Finishing With a Trowel
Plain concrete can be slippery, however, especially if it is wet. This is not usually a problem in a garage, but wet or snowy feet can tramp in water. It is recommended that a light finish be applied to counteract this issue. A brush and trowel finish, exposed aggregate finish, hone and steel finish or swirl effect pattern is decorative as well as non-slip.
Once you have your plan, the first and most important step in constructing a concrete base is to prepare the sub-floor. Dig out the ground to your required depth, ensuring that the ground is perfectly level and free of any organic matter, which can rot and cause your floor to be unstable. If necessary, use a commercial weed killer on the bare ground. Any soft spots in the ground should be leveled and filled with a sub-base.
If the ground is soft, reinforcing the concrete with steel mesh is recommended. Moisture-proof plastic sheeting can also be used directly on the prepared sub-floor, or a prepared sub-base can be laid before the concrete is poured. If a sub-base is used, be sure to include its depth in your calculations.
The concrete base of a garage should be a minimum of 4 in. (100 mm.) thick, or 6 in. or more (150-200 mm.) if you are planning to park large trucks or extra heavy vehicles such as RVs. If you are adding a floor to an existing building, no forms or shuttering is necessary, as the walls will act as the form. If you are building a garage from the bottom up, then you will need to outline your space with forms.
Once the sub-floor and forms are prepared, it is time to call for the mixer truck. Call a week or two before and order the amount you need for your garage base. The company will help you with calculations. Provide the dimensions of your garage and the depth you need, and they will figure out the precise amount of concrete needed.
Once the concrete is poured, it needs to be leveled and tamped. A rake is a good tool to level and move the concrete around. Tamping helps get rid of any air pockets, and also helps provide a good finish. Finally, use a floater to give a smooth finish to the base. If you do want a design, it is wise to hire a professional to accomplish this.
A concrete base will need to cure a minimum of 48 hours before any weight is put on it. After that, foot traffic is okay, but it is better not to drive a vehicle onto it until at least six full days have passed. If in doubt about any of the above seek the advice of a trusted building professional.