If you are in the market for a car lift or have been thinking about installing one in your garage, it is important to know how thick concrete you need to install. It's also necessary to be aware of what else needs to go into this process so that you can ensure the safety and integrity of your new flooring. In this article, we will talk about what kind of thickness concrete you need for a car lift and how much other work needs to be done before installation can take place.
Your local concrete company can advise you on what needs to be done in order to make sure the slab underneath functions as it should and is safe from any damage or problems that could arise if certain steps aren't taken during installation. This might include everything from adding a layer of gravel to make sure the concrete doesn't settle, leveling your floor out thoroughly, and making sure there are no dips or bumps in it, as well as ensuring that you have enough reinforcement.
See our selection of car lifts for sale here.
How Thick is Concrete for a Car Lift?
Most floor and concrete specifications dictate that the slab thickness should be at least 4 inches thick and be able to handle at least 3000 psi.
Additional concrete requirements will vary by lift.
- 4″ Minimum Thickness is best for 8,500 lbs – 10,000 lbs car lifts
- 6″ Minimum Thickness is best for 11,000 lbs – 15,000 lbs lifts
- 16,000+ lbs car lifts require a minimum of 8"thick concrete slab
Note: The above recommendations vary from brand to brand. Some might recommend a thicker for specified weight.
Types of Concrete Slabs
There are two types of concrete slabs in use today. The traditional slab on grade (traditional concrete) or a post-tension cable type of concrete slab. Either of them will work well.
See our article on the how much you should expect to pay for a car lift.
Traditional Concrete Slab
The traditional slab-on-grade is formed by pouring a single layer on-site and allowing it to cure before adding any weight or finishing work. It works perfectly and is the most common of the two.
Post-tension concrete slabPost-tension concert slabs are popular in areas dry areas where the soil tends to contract and form crevices, leaving voids under the slab foundation. This type of slap follows an almost similar process to the traditional concrete slab. However, For this type of concrete slab, tensioning cables are laced into a grid across the sub-surface. The ends are then mechanically tightened as the new concrete is setting up.
Concrete incorporated with a post-tension system is more rigid much stronger than concrete without reinforcement. This helps the slab to maintain its structural integrity through multiple weather changes and permanently stay in place above sometimes changing soil voids.
RELATED: Dannmar Car Lifts For Sale
If you've recently bought a new home, here is how to determine if your slab is a post-tension cable slab:
- Identification stamped into the concrete garage floor. Typically placed near the edge of the garage door
- Plastic or paper signs fastened to the wall.
- Small circle type areas of about 1 1/2″ to 3″ wide that have been patched outside of the slab area
- In case there are no visible signs, check with the builder or the local building department. The building plans may indicate more details about the concrete slab.
- If you’re still not sure the slab has a post-tensioned cable system, get it inspected. There are Post-Tension Cable locator companies that use ground-penetrating radar.
NOTE: It's important to determine the location of the tension cables. this will help avoid drilling unto them and weakening the slab.
Top 5 Tips To Building A Good Garage Concrete Floor for your Car Lift
Finding out how thick concrete you'll need for a car lift as well as what other steps are involved with installation can help to ensure the longevity and safety of your concrete setup. Here are a few things you should keep in mind before building your concrete slab:
Conduct your Research
Before you begin the concrete pouring process, it is best to do some research on garage flooring. Different car lifts require different types of concrete floors. This means that the thickness and strength will vary from one brand/model to another as well as depending on what type of structure your new car lift is going to be a part of.
Be sure you know how thick concrete you need for a car lift before beginning installation so that you can plan out every step carefully, including adding
Most floor and concrete specifications dictate that the slab thickness should be at least 4 inches thick and be able to handle at least 3,000 psi. You should first consult a building architect or your car lift distributer to find out the minimum and recommended thicknesses best for your specific needs. Keep in mind that the thickness of your concrete will also depend on the type of car lift. For instance, a 4" concrete floor will mostly be sufficient for a two-post lift but not enough for a post lift with a heavier lifting capacity.
Add a Layer of Gravel
Adding gravel under your concrete not only helps with leveling and makes sure that there are no dips or bumps in it, but also ensures that any settling will take place on top of the ground instead of within. If you skip this step, it can cause damage to your car lift over time. This is not something to skimp on, so make sure you add the recommended amount of gravel.
Before laying concrete, it's important to flatten out your garage floor and ensure that there are no dips or bumps in it; otherwise, this can cause cracking to your new concrete slabs over time. It's recommended to add and press a thick layer, about four inches of gravel or stone before pouring concrete to make sure the ground beneath won't move due to weight when you are using your car lift.
Reinforcement & Expansion Seams
In most cases, adding a layer of reinforcement is also recommended to make sure your concrete slab can withstand the weight and stress that comes with car lifts. This includes things like re-bar (steel bars used often in cement or stone for strength) as well as wire mesh to create a reinforced concrete slab that won't easily crack under pressure. Also consider including an expansion joint as well, which will allow the concrete to expand and contract without cracking.
Curing and Finishing
Finally, make sure that you allow your concrete to cure and finish properly after it is poured. Allow a minimum of at least 28 days for the concrete mixture slab to be well cured. This is especially important if you add a layer of reinforcement or expansion joints to the concrete, as these would require that you allow more time for it to dry and cure properly before putting any weight on top of it for a safe and successful installation.
- For proper installation, a level floor is recommended. Slight variations in floor slopes can be adjusted for with adequate shimming. Consider a site assessment or the option of laying a new level concrete slab if a floor has a dubious pitch.
- The minimum aging time of a new concrete slab should be at least 28 days.
- Do not install a lift on any surface other than concrete that meets the concrete outline dimensions compressive strength, age, reinforcing, and thickness requirements as stated above. Do not install on asphalt surface as it won't hold and could cause accidents.
- DO NOT install lift on an old or damaged slab or expansion seams without first doing appropriate repairs.
- Install the lift on a level surface for safe and reliable function without the risk of slipping or collapsing.
- Never install a lift without first consulting building architect especially if installing your car lift on the second floor or an elevated surface.
- DO NOT install auto lift outdoors without special consideration to protect the power unit from inclement weather conditions.
- There should be adequate space to operate the hoist safely and without constraints.
- The lift staging area should be clear of overhead obstructions such as heaters, building supports, electrical wires, doors, lights, and so on.
- Visually inspect the location of the lift will for cracked or damaged concrete.
How to Install a Car lift on an Old or Damaged Concrete Garage Floor?
If the slab in your home is probably cracked or defective concrete, not thick enough, or excessively worn; all is not lost. Installing a vehicle hoist can be done by changing the slab in a few ways.
In this situation, you can carve a 1m × 1m square out of the existing slab and pour a new concrete slab to a depth of around 300mm (approx. 1 foot deep). You may then use it to connect this unique part of the slab to the existing concrete slab.
If you want peace of mind, you may use chemical anchors to strengthen the bond between the old and new concrete slab portions, securing your car lift to the slab. Now that you are more determined than ever by coming this far, it is time to start the installation process. Have you already determined the optimum depth of concrete slab in your workshop? I bet you already did that.
Whatever technique you pick in the installation process, keep in mind that the anchor bolts on the hoist need regular checking. Like any other piece of heavy-duty industrial equipment, a vehicle hoist will provide safe and dependable service if utilized and maintained appropriately.
While the proper lift installation is simple, it is critical to understand floor and concrete specifications before getting under your car.
Respect and adhere to the weight restrictions of the automobile lift at all times. Don't attempt lifting a 9,000-pound vehicle on 6,000 pounds rated car lift concrete. It might end up toppling on you while you're working beneath it.
So, if you want it go for it!
If you have a spacious home workshop, there’s no doubt that installing a car hoist will be a good idea. With good professional advice and some planning, you can have a safe and successful installation.
How Thick Concrete For Car lift? FAQ's
How thick should a concrete car lift be?
The recommended thickness for a car lift concrete slab is 4 inches minimum for most two-post lifts and four-post lifts. Additional thickness may be required for specific applications or different car hoist models.