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4 Steps To Repair And Upgrade The Foundation Of Your Old Garage

Your detached garage needs a solid and undamaged foundation to help keep it standing strong, just as your home needs a proper foundation. If your old garage has begun to sink into the surrounding ground, you can save and restore the entire garage by raising it to pour a new foundation. This will allow you to replace your garage's derelict or nonexistent foundation without tearing down the entire garage structure. Once you have lifted your garage, here are four steps to restore and upgrade your garage's foundation so it can last for many more years. 

Pour New Footings

Many older garages were not originally built on a concrete foundation, but directly onto the bare dirt. This practice will usually result in your garage's wooden base rotting from the ground's moisture over the decades. New footings will give your garage the stability it needs and keep it up and off the moist ground.

As soon as your garage structure has been supported and lifted from the ground, you can dig the trench for your new foundation footings. You will need to dig the footing trenches below grade according to your area's code. This will protect your footings from having frost damage occur during the winters.

For a one-story wood frame garage, you will need a footing foundation that is at least sixteen inches wide. This will provide support to the weight of your one-level garage on soil that has a load bearing value of at least 1500 pounds per square foot

Preparing the Foundation Surface

After you have framed and poured the concrete footings and allowed them to cure, you can prepare your garage's foundation for radiant heating and pouring the concrete slab. 

Smooth the surface of the ground where you will pour your concrete to make sure the concrete slab is level. It is also a good idea to layer under-concrete insulation, a vapor barrier and metal rebar or concrete wire mesh over the surface of the level ground, in this order. The insulation will keep the cold from the frozen soil from permeating into the concrete and increase the radiant heat's effectiveness. The vapor barrier will keep the moisture from coming up into the concrete and causing damage to it. And, the concrete mesh will strengthen and reinforce your concrete slab and prevent it from cracking. 

Install Radiant Floor Heating

Position the radiant heating wires across your concrete-ready surface, attached to the metal mesh. Space them according to their manufacturer's recommendations. 

Radiant heating in your garage will provide you with a comfortable work area during the winter. The heat from the radiant system will radiate upwards from the ground, effectively heating your entire garage without using a fan. A fan can circulate dust around the inside of your garage, leaving a fine layer over the surface of your vehicles, tools, and other toys. 

Pour New Concrete Slab

If you are going to install any drains in your garage's new foundation, you will need to lay and position the drainage pipes before you pour the concrete. Then, make sure you frame and pour your concrete foundation slab so it has a slight incline, sloping downward from the back of the garage to the entrance at least 1/8 inch per foot. This will give your garage a double drainage capability so water does not pool on your garage floor. 

Your new concrete foundation needs to be poured at least four inches thick. You will need to pour a slab thicker than four inches if you plan to store a lot of heavy machinery equipment in your garage.

Don't forget these four steps when you are giving your old garage a new and improved foundation. If you need help with the project, work with an experienced foundation repair company like Abalon Construction.