Fixing a Cracked Sidewalk

There are two different ways you can go about fixing a cracked sidewalk- you can hire a professional to do it or you can do it yourself. If you are dealing with a minor crack and if you have the time, then there is no reason why you can't do the latter and make fixing a cracked sidewalk a DIY job. However, before you head down the driveway to your sidewalk you need to be sure that you have the tools and time needed in order to do the job right the first time around, just as you would get the right tools for your door weatherstripping project.

Why Sidewalks Crack

Before you can determine how to fix the cracked sidewalk you need to find out why it cracked in the first place. Cracks in the sidewalk are quite common and normally occur because there are not enough control joints in the area. If there is not enough control joints keeping the sidewalk together then the daily pressures can become too much. Furthermore, concrete has a tendency to contract and expand with heat, rain, wind and other pressures which can result in cracks.

Sidewalks can also crack if there are tree roots close by that are invading the space of the sidewalk. You may have this problem if there are trees growing near the sidewalk, especially ones that have been there a while and have firmly implanted roots. As the roots make their way underground they can tunnel up the sidewalk base and push the concrete up. This can result in a cracking on your sidewalk as well as an unattractive base to your home.

Cracked Sidewalk Fixes

Once you have determined whether the cracks are caused by a tree or due to a lack of control joints you can get started on fixing the problem. If a tree is causing the problem them you dig out the problem tree and get rid of the roots, as long as the tree is on your property. Keep in mind however that digging up the roots of a tree can actually kill it which is something that many homeowners are not prepared to do.

If the problem is due to a lack of control joints then you will need to add more. You can use a concrete saw and cut lines across the sidewalk every two to three feet. These will act as control joints but be sure to only saw about a half an inch deep as you do not want to make even more cracks. You will then need to fill in the control joints with concrete grout or caulk, depending on how big the holes are.

If you are dealing with fairly small cracks in the sidewalk then concrete grout is your best option. It can be purchased at any hardware store. The grout can be poured into the cracks which will bond the cracks together causing a more solid walkway and an easy solution to the cracks. However, before you simply pour the concrete grout in, you could give the cracks a clean and wet the surface for better bonding.

If you are fixing a cracked sidewalk with caulk then you will also need to give the cracks a bit of a clean and a wet first. You can use a chalking gun to insert the chalk into the cracks until it is level with the sidewalk. Chalk is your best option if you are working with fairly large cracks in your sidewalk; however, if there is ever any doubt or if the cracks are especially large, then your best bet is to enlist the assistance of a professional.

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