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5 Signs Your Parkade Needs A New Traffic Deck Membrane

BY Lindsay Stroud

A properly installed traffic deck membrane equals longevity for your parking garage, reduced disruptions to residents and customers, as well as time and money saved which would otherwise be spent upkeeping a “big-ticket item” for your buildings’ surrounding environment. 

So how do you know when it’s time to install a new traffic deck membrane? What are some of the signs that your existing traffic deck membrane has reached the end of its life span? 

Today we’re covering 5 signs your parkade might need a new traffic deck membrane, to help you to determine whether your parkade should stay … or should go.

Why it’s important to maintain your Traffic Deck Membrane

Before getting into the 5 signs your parkade needs a new traffic deck membrane, it’s important to first cover why you should be taking care of your traffic deck membrane in the first place

Maintaining your traffic deck membrane by utilizing the proper traffic deck coating is vital to any parking lot with a lot of traffic and/or exposure to extreme weather. Parkades in northern climates not only endure harsh environments, but also exposure to chemicals considered corrosive to concrete (i.e. deicing salts), which are often tracked into parking garages by deicing vehicles. These chemicals may then be absorbed into the surface of your parkade’s concrete, penetrate the cracks and cause expansive corrosion to the steel underneath. This results in cracked parkade surfaces, not to mention costly repairs for you, your business, or your strata.

Looking after your traffic deck membrane (TDM) as well as ensuring its proper initial installation can save you from repairs related to the deterioration and degradation of your TDM sooner than they need to take place. This includes early application of sealers, as well as properly addressing cracks in the concrete.

The 5 Signs

  1. Age

The general rule of thumb when it comes to the life cycle of traffic coating throughout a parking garage is five years. Certain factors play into whether or not this lifespan can be extended, including if it was originally installed correctly, how well it has been maintained and the volume of movement and vehicle weight throughout the traffic deck.

If your TDM hasn’t been replaced in over ten years, it’s likely close to the end of its life span and warrants an inspection.

  1. Wear on Turn Areas

Wear on turn areas and the specific level of your parkade, can also be a deciding factor as to if you need a new traffic deck membrane and/or it requires maintenance. Connecting floors between parkade levels are widely considered to be the heartiest of all levels throughout a parkade, taking on the most pressure and stress as more traffic passes between these levels.

Turn areas on these particular levels (the end of the driving aisle), are considered the most vulnerable spots throughout a parkade. It’s important to see if these turn areas are showing wear on their topcoat, as it serves as an indication that the waterproofing membrane or concrete may be exposed underneath. 

  1. TDM turning Green

A healthy traffic deck membrane will typically be grey, charcoal, or black. Custom colours are available but are rarely requested. Older coatings of these colours become weathered over time due to increased UV exposure and may start to change colour. Changes to the hue of your TDM should be paid close attention to, as it may indicate your parkade requires a new traffic deck membrane.

Over prolonged periods, all traffic deck membranes (especially those made of polyurethane) start to turn green. Older TDMs become increasingly rigid and start to lose their flexibility once this occurs. This can potentially lead to cracking in the pavement, which allows for water penetration of the slab and may cause possible damage. 

  1. Small Black Spots

Another physical feature considered by many in the industry to be a sign of an older traffic deck membrane (and one that should be closely paid attention to), is small black spots.

Sand is added during the initial installation phase of the TDM’s topcoat, for increased grip and durability. The appearance of small black spots throughout the traffic deck coating is an indication that sand is slowly being removed from the coating, meaning the TDM’s topcoat becomes less durable.

As the sand is loosened and gets free, it leaves small indents in the coating, which is then quickly filled with dirt. This creates the small black spots commonly seen in older traffic deck membranes.

  1. Bubbling and blistering of the coating

Lastly, if your traffic deck coating is bubbling or blistering, this may be indicative of an older traffic deck membrane, but also brings into question the quality of the original installation.

Bubbling in the coating of your traffic deck membrane may result from an initial installation of thick coating. This may leave the TDM with a spongy, soft texture with unbroken or circular blistering.

If there was moisture present at the time of installation, this may cause multiple problems later in the life of your traffic deck coating, including improper adhesion to the concrete, as well as mildew, mold, and bubbling in the completed traffic deck coating. A thorough moisture test is necessary when first applying parkade coating, as moisture is often at the root of traffic deck membrane deterioration.

As with any concrete surface or major upgrade throughout your building’s life span, getting ahead of the curve in terms of conducting maintenance and minor repairs on your traffic deck coating, can save you from major repairs in the future. 

Without a restoration team to review and quote your traffic deck coating, it can be difficult to determine whether you’re due for a new traffic deck membrane. With these five signs, you will be better equipped to determine whether it’s time to call it quits on your current TDM.  

Is your parkade showing signs of old age? Applied Coatings and Restoration can assist with making your traffic deck membrane look brand new. Call or click for your custom quote today!

About the author

Lindsay Stroud is a freelance content writer and ghostwriter from Vancouver, Canada. Her published works can be found on Jiyubox and Passion Passport, in addition to producing ghostwritten content for Owl Labs and Wonderment. She is currently accepting new clients. Find her online at or connect with her on LinkedIn.