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  • Best concrete sidewalk repair option

    The sidewalk going up to my concrete steps has dropped about 3 inches since the house was built 60 years ago. The steps were poured as part of the foundation, and if they has moved, the whole house has moved with them. I suspect that the walk area was not compacted when the foundation was backfilled, resulting in the sidewalk simply sinking. I live in Ohio, so we do have to deal with winter freezing. I do not use salt on the walks, but the previous owner probably did.

    I want to get this fixed right now, while I have the time. I am currently layed off, so money is tight, but I have time available. I would like to get the opinions of others on the method which will provide the best repair at the lowest price. I want to make sure whatever I do will be as permanent as the rest of the existing sidewalk.

    The walk is about 3 feet wide and curves from the steps to the driveway. About 8 feed down measured along the centerline of this curve is an expansion joint which has completely broken through. The sidewalk section has only dropped a little here. There is another tooled joint halfway between the opened joint and steps. This joint has not broken through, and the slab seems to be structurally continuous through this joint. If the slab were cut at this point and only the section from here to the step repaired, there would be an obvious slope.

    There seem to be three obvious ways to fix this walk.

    First Option: Total Replacement. The existing walk could be broken up and hauled away, and a new one poured. I would need to rent a jack hammer or other power tool to break the walk up, and would have to pay to have the old slab hauled away. I have done some concrete work and believe I could build the forms and work concrete into them. The amount of concrete needed would be less than the minimum if I were to get ready-mix, but there is enough that wheel barrel mixing or even rental concrete mixer might turn the project into a long-heavy job. Plus home mixing would require many bags of concrete mix or cement and aggregite if I were to mix it myself. This would be multiple trips to the store or a delivery charge. I plan to call a contractor and get a price to have the whole thing done professionally.

    Second Option: Lift the Slab. I did a "lower the slab" projcet 30+ years ago with a section of sidewalk at the street which had been lifted by tree roots. I jacked the slab up, cleared the tree roots out, then set it down without disturbing most of the dirt under it. The repair has lasted until today, and never settled or was lifted again. I assume if I could lift the walk into the proper position, I could put some sort of soopy concrete, perhaps a sand mix, under it to support the weight of the slab. Again, I could go the commercial route, and have the slab lifted by a crew which speciallizes in this. I have had one company look at this and they quoted $170. They would drill multiple holes through the slab, and inject a concrete slurry through them.

    Third option: Topcoat. I would chip down the last few inches of the slab where the control joint is located, and then pour a topcoat on top of the entire existing slab. At the expansion joint, the topcoat could be about a half inch thick, with it getting thicker until it gets to the step at the proper level. I would use bonding agent and an appropiate thin-coat strengther agent to keep the new topcoat from cracking or peeling from the base cement. I have used these products before with success on some small areas of an old patio, but never on something this big. I would intend to use forms and tool the top coat to match the tooling on the older walk that would be left.

    So there are the options I have thought of. Any suggestions on then best way to go would be appreciated! Like I said, I have labor available (mine and I can pull in some favors and get my children to help), but want to keep the costs down if possible.

  • #2
    Re: Best concrete sidewalk repair option

    the cheapest way would be to lift and pack a sand or a sand and and cement mix (I would most likely try to do it dry the mix dry, it will set up in time with the earth's moisture), under the slab, and the best way in my opinion is to replace.
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    • #3
      Re: Best concrete sidewalk repair option

      If the cost of pro's doing a complete replacement is too high, I would opt for raising it by the company that quoted $170. If you jack it up and put a decent mix under it you will probably spend near that anyhow. We had a two story high cement block building raised that way about 25 years ago--still going strong. I have seen lots of sidewalks, patios, and concrete driveways that have been done this way. Simple, easy, quick, and it works. No, I don't have any connection to any company that does this. :-)

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