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Concrete Slab Movement

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Car Park Flooring Problems Part 6: Concrete Slab Movement

Throughout this series we’ve talked a lot about the unique flooring challenges thrown up by the construction and management of large, multi-storey car park structures.

In this post, we’ll take a look at one of the most fundamental issues created by the design of car park facilities, which is the stresses and strains inflicted on the very concrete of the building and how this affects the floor coating.

The nature of car parks demands that they are constructed with large clear spans with a minimum number of supporting columns, in order to achieve the maximum number of vehicle parking spaces. This type of construction, when subject to cyclical traffic flow, inevitably leads to the structure being susceptible to a lot of flexing and movement.

Compared to other types of structures, car parks have less supporting columns and walls in order to make space for parking bays.

A high volume of vehicles traversing a car parking structure over time can lead to dynamic loading, where vibrations impart through the decks into the structure, increasing the risk of movement across all construction, expansion and movement joints within the frame of the structure and decks themselves.

The concrete slab will also be subjected to different types of movement, such as the perpendicular stress of shearing thanks to the inconsistently distributed loads created by cars moving in multiple directions. In addition to this, car parks will also face lateral strain, which is when the slab extends along the longitudinal stress (i.e. the car moving in a straight line) and contracts in the lateral direction. With all these forces pushing and pulling at the concrete, we can see how the slab faces some pretty tough challenges!

Heavy cars moving around car parks puts stress into the floor and the underlying concrete slab.

The floor coating will also experience these issues and needs to be able to flex with the movement of the cars and the underlying concrete slab without splitting apart. Too rigid and the floor will crack when subjected to the above forces, too thin or weak and the grinding punishment of the cars will erode and wear away at the floor.

To get this balance right, Flowcrete has designed its Deckshield range to perfectly combine the right levels of durability and flexibility for large and busy car park environments. These flexible, crack-bridging polyurethane based deck coatings systems have been chosen by a long list of car park developments thanks to its ability to move alongside the structure and prevent any long-lasting damage to the surface or the building itself.

If you’d like some more concrete advice on concrete slab movement please leave us a comment or get in touch with a resin flooring expert.

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Dan Ash

Daniel Ash is the PR & Media Manager at the global resin flooring manufacturer Flowcrete Group Ltd. Dan's role includes creating press releases, blogs, white papers and case studies on Flowcrete products and projects as well as educational content for construction industry professionals.

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