Understanding Concrete Sidewalks: Knowing When They Require Repair or Replacement

Concrete is a tough and durable construction material that can easily resist deterioration. Yet there are some conditions under which it can break down or register damage. Fluctuating temperature, shifting of the ground, and persistent stressful weight are especially bad for the health of the concrete.

It is important to be conscious of the cracks that may appear due to these conditions since these cracks can be hazardous. So, how does one know when concrete driveways need basic fixing and when do they need to be replaced? Macomb, MI homeowners who have concrete sidewalks in their homes are puzzled by this stuff. In this article, we’ll fix the information gap to resolve this dilemma.

Before we can answer this question, Macomb, MI, homeowners need to know the basics of concrete sidewalks.

Sidewalks are of two types: private and pedestrian sidewalks. Pedestrian sidewalks are also known as shared user sidewalks. These come in the category of city easements. However, they are part of a homeowner’s property and homeowners must take care of the pedestrian sidewalks. Homeowners must also know the repairing and replacement needs of these sidewalks are fulfilled by the city’s ordinance.

On the other hand, as the name suggests, a private sidewalk is meant for personal use. It leads the homeowner from the pedestrian sidewalk or driveway to their front door. This walkway is purely managed by the homeowners themselves. Usually, the maintenance and replacement conditions for these sidewalks are determined by the city’s policies and standards, and it is a good idea to take them as a guide. Sometimes the sidewalks also need to be patched or resurfaced with high-quality concrete.

So, the repair and replacement of sidewalks are determined by the types and the severity of the damage noticed.

Cracks: There are two kinds of cracks: narrow, and hairline. Narrow cracks are usually easy to tend and can be replaced smoothly. Thus, narrow cracks are not too much of a problem. However, these cracks should not be confused with hairline cracks, which are more severe as they run across bigger areas of the sidewalk.

A Hairline crack should be visualized as a spider web. Their presence signifies the faulty mixture of the concrete. Their appearance suggests that it is a time to replace the sidewalks, if not entirely, then at least partially. If you’ve difficulty seeing them, just walk over the blurry cracks and observe if they become larger or more prominent.

Exposure with time: Though the durability of concrete is evident, overpowering weight and rough weather conditions can leave it damaged. It is, therefore, not uncommon to observe an old sidewalk shifting and cracking. These cracks, we know, are hazardous. And as the height of the sidewalk’s surface starts fluctuating, there is an increased risk of falling or tripping. Therefore, if you observe the difference between the two sections of your sidewalks becoming more than a half-inch, you should consider replacing it altogether.

To conclude:

You should repair your sidewalk if you see:

  • Typical wear and tear
  • Small crack or chips
  • Damage within two inches

You need to replace your sidewalk if you see:

  • Fully broken slabs
  • Deep cracks affecting the sub-base of a 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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