Use vinyl roll to give old garage a smooth surface - can it be an easy project?

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mdog

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Hi everyone, new to the forum here, hoping someone can help me please :)

I got myself a bargain roll of vinyl which I hope may be useful to resurface an old concrete garage floor (few small pits + expansion join) which is TERRIBLE to sweep up dust etc. I was blissfully thinking I could just tack the edge and be done...
When I rolled it out I noticed it's full of waves (thin/low cost?) and am now wondering if this was a bad idea... My hope was this would be easier/lower cost than epoxy resin coatings etc a 'quick win'.

It doesn't need to be sealed, look great or be perfectly flat but want to last more than 5 minutes and not be a trip hazard! What can I 'get away' with on this install? e.g. leveler/primer/edge sealing and full adhesion all required here?

I know as per rule of life you get out what you put in, but it doesn't need to last forever or be perfect/pretty. If there are no shortcuts, then I will stick with sweeping...
 

highup

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Might think or resale value of the home before applying and a leveler/ smoothing compound.
If the new homeowner pulls up that vinyl, he might not like what he's been dealt. You can't just scrape floor filler off and get that original garage floor look back.

A concrete reserfacing product is intended for concrete resurfacing.
"Cement based" floor fillers are really intended for being overlayed by a flooring product.
Expansion joints move. Where you live may determine how much movement. Rain/heat/cold, clay/sand/dirt Just saying that filler in the joints may break up and crumble.
That said..... if the vinyl was relatively cheap, just lay it over what you've got.
A home center or rental place might have a concrete grinder that would knock off any high spots and make the floor smoother.
Tires will stain the vinyl. Tires stain everything. If loose layed, you won't want to "steer" the car on the vinyl. That will distort it.

You might try unrolling the vinyl out in the sun, upside down. Let the sun heat it up then roll it tightly into a long tube shape and let it remain in that shape for a while with hopes of correcting some of the distortions that it has.
I'm assuming this is a solid vinyl product and not a paperback vinyl product?
 

highup

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Hope that gives you something to ponder tonight. I'm heading off to slumberland.
Be careful, you may get more advice of ideas tomorrow. 😉
 

mdog

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Thanks for your insight, some great information.

Good point about removal of mess in the future, any reason to keep it easy/low materials is a bonus!

Fortunately I don't actually use the garage for the car, mostly woodwork and gardening equipment, hence lots of dust and dirt, super fine stuff gets airborne when swept on the rough old concrete!

Loose lay sounds ideal if I can just get the wrinkles out. I will try putting it out in the sun and can bring straight back without needing to re roll in between unless thats required to get the crinkles out? It is solid vinyl, I think probably super thin as low cost stuff, perhaps half the reasons it's wavey?

One thoguht I had was to adhere one edge then with heat/roller/tension and weights on top pull it flat and adhere the other sides. I'm guessing easier said than done and probably a reason it's not done that way!?

Also, for loose lay, as I will have joins (6Mx6M garage) some adhesion is needed there but can I avoid sealing?

Thanks
 

DarisMulkin

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If you are in a cold climate like I am[Mi] floor filler to enclose expansion joints won't work, the movement of the floor pushes it out. Speaking from experience in my own garage. I haven't had a car in my garage in 36 years. Once or twice a year I open the doors and a leaf blower cleans it out really good.
 
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Are you planning on parking on the vinyl?

Just a few words of caution....

I don't know the construction practices in New Zealand but here in the U.S. it's very unlikely that a residential concrete garage floor would have an intact vapor retarder underneath the concrete slab. They just don't plan on those spaces having a moisture sensitive flooring such as sold vinyl sheet put on them.

That being said, if you put this down in your garage be prepared for it to accumulate water between the slab and the back of the vinyl. If there's any sort of organic material there you will begin to grow mold and mildew. This can lead to a "damp basement" type of an odor.

This is also important because "tacking it down at the edges" with any type of adhesive will probably end up in a bond failure down the road. When ground moisture passes through a concrete slab it does so in a gaseous state (water vapor). As this is happening it picks up the alkalinity salts that are present in the concrete slab. Without anything to stop it, the water vapor just evaporates into the ambient air above the slab. However, when you cover it with a solid product such as a piece of sheet vinyl, the water condenses back to a liquid state when it reaches the surface of the concrete and the back of the vinyl. This creates an increased concentration of the alkalinity salts that are being carried in the water and raises the surface pH of the slab. Today's adhesives are very sensitive to high pH and will break down fairly quickly in the presence of a high pH slab resulting in a bond failure and a sticky mess. I've attached a photo so you can kind of see what can happen.

Lastly, rubber and vinyl do not play well together and can react chemically. Over the years I've participated in several jobs where vinyl flooring was used in car dealerships. It can be done but where ever the tires will sit, you need to separate the two or the vinyl will turn a lovely shade of brownish yellow. We typically recommend that the end-user have several 12"x12" pcs. of Lexan (commonly called plexi-glass) so that the tires can be positioned on top of that rather than the vinyl flooring. It stops the reaction from occurring.

I wish you luck with your project but you may want to find a better use for the vinyl flooring. :)
 

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mdog

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Thank you all for your replies - all shaping the direction I am heading with this, which I think will be to try a loose lay and see how it goes, otherwise fall back to leaf blower :). I forgot to mention the other issue is my open crawlspace along with the garage which is another reason there is heaps of fine clay dust, hence the sweeping airborne dust issue - a vapor barrier on the clay is a plan in progress also!

As for leveler/filler I was asking as I was concerned it may cause issues not using it extensively, assuming it was 'standard practice' to use. Perhaps it is, but not for concrete garages - in this case avoiding it and adhesive may be wise due to moisture etc. Is it commonplace to use flexible fillers e.g. silicone or foam in the expansion gaps to give the Vinyl a flat finish or will this interact with the Vinyl chemically?

Thinking ill 'try it out loose' and see how it goes - that way at least I can remove it if things go bad e.g. mould etc. If there ever was a moisture barrier under the concrete, it will be decades old and stuffed by now, generally no huge damp markings on the surface however so may be OK. If I lay loose, perhaps there is some remote chance it can breathe....

Taking a step back I am not 100% it is 'solid Vinyl', to the layman I could see not obvious separate layers and no obvious fibers (paper etc). Also the 'feel' of the material appeared similar top and bottom, but now I am not so sure my quick assessment was correct. I have added photos just in case it makes a difference to the loose lay approach.

Getting this stuff flat in the sun is the next goal.


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highup

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Looks like solid vinyl. Even what we're calling solid vinyl comes in layers consisting of the pattern part some sort of cushiony center and the backing surface.
How big is the garage? Is the finish on the concrete terrible just a little bit bumpy. If it just has some rough or pointy aggregate sticking out of it maybe it can be knocked off with a carbide tool like this.
It's not going to grind the surface down but it would knock off the tips of anything sharp and pointy that's sticking up. If it's worse than that you need some sort of a concrete grinding machine.
It's hard to tell not being able to actually see and feel the surface of your concrete. Like JC mentioned, just go over it and see what happens. If the materials not very expensive then you don't have much to lose. Depending on how much you use the garage get my hold up for quite a long time just unrolled and laid in place. My only concern then would be how well the edges lay flat so you don't trip over them.
 

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Joined
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Fort Wayne, IN
For true joints (where two concrete pours come together) it's best to use either backer rod and a polyurea based isometric filler such as Metzger McGuire MM-80 or Ardex Ardiseal Plus. Brands may vary where you are. Here in the U.S. these can typically be found at either a flooring installation supply house or a concrete supply house. The reason these are ideal for these types of joints is that they have the flexibility to compress within themselves without pushing up out of the joint and causing a problem with the flooring above. Essentially, you apply the foam backer rod into the joint to about 2/3 of the joint depth. Then you apply the polyurea on top of the backer rod up to fill the rest of the joint. This material can be a little runny and it's a bit pricey so you don't want to fill the whole joint with straight product. If you can't find backer rod you can also you clean, dry play sand to partially fill the joint up to about 2/3 full.

For crack control joints such as saw cuts in the slab, it's common practice to use a cementitious floor patch such as Ardex Moisture Resistance Feather (MRF). I would use this as opposed to traditional Ardex Feather Finish for you application since the slab is susceptible to moisture vapor emission. Many regular floor patches are not hydraulic (they don't like constant exposure to moisture) and will soften from long term exposure to water vapor. MRF will not do this. It's designed to be used for a wet slab.

I mentioned the Ardex products because I know they have a division in New Zealand so hopefully you'll be able to find the products available.

Wish you the best! Keep us posted on how you make out.
 

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