Demystifying Concrete Sidewalks – Knowing when they can be fixed and when they have to be replaced 

Certainly, recognized as a highly durable material used in construction, concrete does have the capacity for deterioration over a period of time. This is due to harsh weather conditions like fluctuating temperatures during freeze and thaw cycles, basic movement of the ground and incessant, stressful weight.

This means they crack, and the cracks become hazardous eyesores. So, how do you know if your concrete sidewalk can be easily fixed? And how do you know when it can’t? Is not knowing the reason you don’t do anything at all?

If so, you’re not alone. Concrete sidewalks are a bit of mystery to those homeowners who have one. It’s not a scary or intriguing mystery. It’s mostly because it’s difficult to get simple, straight forward guidance on when, how and why to fix or completely replace a concrete sidewalk. This article will attempt to rectify that information that’s been lacking.

But, first a couple of concrete sidewalks basics.

Sidewalks are classified in two different ways – there are private sidewalks and pedestrian sidewalks. The latter, which is also referred to as a “shared user sidewalk” is characteristic of city easements. In this case, it is usually you – the homeowner – who is charged with responsibility for taking care of it. But it usually is up to your city’s ordinance as to whether it should be or will be replaced.

A private sidewalk leads from either the pedestrian sidewalk or your driveway to your front door. This walkway isn’t managed by your city but you’ll find it useful to rely upon your city’s policies and standards for determining when or if your sidewalk needs replacing f you can actually get it resurfaced or patched – with high-quality concrete materials, that is.

The extent and type of damage to your sidewalk determine if it needs if it can be fixed or if it needs to be replaced.

Cracks – Narrow cracks at various places won’t cause you a problem, they are easy to tend to and can be repaired efficiently. No need to pull out an entire slab if you just have narrow cracks. However, don’t confuse narrow cracks with obviously apparent hairline cracks that run across large areas of your sidewalk,

Envision a spiderweb to get a feel for what is meant by hairline cracks. These can indicate that the original mix of concrete was faulty. So, if your sidewalk is showing this type of cracking, it’s time to warm up to the notion of replacing the sidewalk – if not in its entirety then at least most of it. Stay on top of the crack and notice as they become more rampant or larger.

Exposure over time – Despite its reputation for incredible durability, even an old sidewalk has to be retired at some point. After decades of exposure to excessive weight and weather, sections of the sidewalk are going to shift and crack. These cracks are hazardous. And, when the height of the sidewalk’s surface starts fluctuating, the sidewalk becomes an eve greater trip and fall risk.

If you notice a fluctuation in height between one of your sidewalk’s sections and another that exceeds a half inch, it is time to replace the sidewalk.

Give Flat Rock Concrete Construction, Inc. a call today!  Our office numbers are (248) 379-0250 or (586) 726-6091!

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