Replace a Sinking Garage Floor
LESLIE: David in Connecticut has a situation in the garage. Tell us what happened.
DAVID: Well, I have a 21.5×21.5-foot garage floor and, over time, a third of it has sunken and it’s now down, on one corner, about 10.5 to 12 inches. I had a contractor come and he gave me an estimate and said they thought they could slabjack it, which is a process where they …
TOM: You mean mudjack it.
DAVID: Pardon me?
TOM: You mean mudjack it.
DAVID: Mudjack it? Yep. And basically, it didn’t work and now I’m told that the only recourse I have, really, to keep it from continuing to recede over time and break up more and more is to basically drill it all out and replace the floor and I wondered if you had any other solutions and what your thoughts are; whether any of that is something that a homeowner can do or whether you should get a contractor.
TOM: Well, couple of things. First of all, the good news is that the garage floor is not structurally connected to your house. It’s essentially just a surface for your car to rest on. The reason it dropped so much is because underneath it probably the surface was not prepped when it was first installed. There could have been debris in there that was organic – you know trees, whatever, paper; we don’t know – that sunk and collapsed; rotted away and collapsed. There could have been that the soil was not properly compressed and tamped. So there’s a bunch of reasons that that probably happened. I do agree with your contractor that the best way to fix this is to tear it out. In fact, I never would have told you to try mudjacking with this because I think that the expense of doing that would most likely be wasted; which, apparently, that was what the – that’s the way it played out. So I’m sorry for that, David, but I would recommend that you tear it out.
Now, what can you do yourself? That slab is not going to be as hard to break up as you might think and you could probably rent a jackhammer for not a whole lot of money and break that up into manageable pieces and get that all cleaned out yourself then just have the contractor come in and pour a new floor. You may, because it’s down so much, need to add some fill and if you do that it’s going to be really important that that new fill dirt be tamped and that’ll have to be done mechanically so that this does not happen again.
And lastly, when you do put in the new floor, make sure it’s reinforced. OK? Make sure they use a woven wire mesh to reinforce it.
TOM: If they do it right, you’re not going to have any further problems with cracking.
DAVID: Alright, well thank you very much. I appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.