How to Repair Uneven Concrete Sidewalk
An uneven concrete sidewalk is an aggravating issue for both realtors and homeowners. Not only does it mar a property’s appearance, but it can also be dangerous. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 1 million Americans suffer a slip or trip injury each year; many due to uneven, cracked, or otherwise damaged sidewalks. Residents and visitors to Dallas-Fort Worth are as likely as anyone else to fall victim themselves.
Let’s take a look at what causes uneven sidewalks in the first place. Then we will discuss three ways to fix this common eyesore and safety hazard.
Concrete Damage is Usually Due to Natural Causes
A properly laid concrete sidewalk can remain in place for many years before it starts to shift. When it does begin to move, the problem is usually due to one of three natural causes:
- Erosion: Rain seeps beneath the sidewalk, washing away the supporting soil and causing the concrete to sink. This happens regularly here in the Southwest, where gully washers are a common occurrence.
- Expansive Clay Soils: The clay-based soil in our region expands in the presence of moisture and contracts when dry. This “heaving” process can damage concrete sidewalks and shift them out of place.
- Frost: Our part of the country enjoys mild winters most of the time. Yet sometimes, the mercury drops low enough to freeze the ground, causing sidewalks to crack or heave.
When you understand the causes, you are now ready to find some concrete sidewalk repair solutions.
DIY sidewalk repair
The sheer weight and size of a sidewalk make DIY repair an arduous task indeed. Still, there are a couple of options available:
- Scarifying: This method uses a machine to grind the sidewalk down to a uniform level. Unfortunately, it does nothing to address the eroded soil underneath. Also, scarifying can leave ugly blemishes (“scars”) on the sidewalk’s surface.
- Ripping up and redoing the sidewalk: This labor-intensive approach is best reserved for those with extensive concrete pouring experience. When performed poorly or in haste, it can actually make the problem worse.
The best approach: professional concrete lifting and leveling
Known as “slab jacking,” “mud jacking,” or simply “concrete leveling,” this option attacks the problem by correcting its underlying cause. Here’s how it works:
- A skilled technician drills holes in the sidewalk surface: This is done with care to avoid causing cracks or fractures in the concrete.
- A compound is injected into the underlying earth: As the product cures, it raises the depressed sections of the sidewalk to a smooth, even level.
- The technician fills the drill holes and corrects any aesthetic concerns: The customer is left with a renewed sidewalk that’s both beautiful and safe to walk on, giving it a “good as new” appearance.
Here at Align Foundation Repair, our people are experts in all aspects of sidewalk repair. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our concrete raising services. We can put your crooked path back on the straight and level where it belongs.