Sinking Steps / Sidewalk Cracking

It may not be true that “if you step on a crack, you break your mother’s back”, but if your mother comes for a visit and trips over a crack in your sidewalk…that may be another story. Sinking steps can also be a liability as well as an eye sore.

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How Concrete Contractors Build Steps and Sidewalks

Sidewalks and steps are part of most homes, and while some use lumber, the majority are constructed out of concrete. Similar but various techniques are used for steps and sidewalks.

Concrete sidewalk

Concrete Sidewalks

Sidewalks employ most of the same methods as driveways, with a standard 4″ thickness for most residential homes. Expansion joints are similarly used to help prevent cracks in the larger portions of concrete. Contractors should always use sufficient gravel under sidewalks before pouring concrete or the walkway will be weak.

Concrete steps on front porch

Concrete Steps

Steps are different in their construction, usually poured as one monolithic unit. There aren’t expansion joints between steps, for example. Some methods use compactable soil as fill, while others use only gravel. Some steps include metal rebar to reinforce and strengthen the steps. Some concrete contractors will lag the steps into the side of the house to help prevent sinking next to the front door. Construction methods often determine the longevity and stability of concrete steps, but a large majority will eventually experience some sort of sinking or settling.

Why Do Steps and Sidewalks Sink and Crack?

Steps and sidewalks may begin settling and sinking / cracking for several reasons, including:

  • Poor or improper construction
  • Poor drainage
  • Heavy rainfall / washout of soil
  • Expansive or unstable soil underneath
  • Damage due to heavy equipment or blunt force
  • Tree roots pushing up or rotting and sinking down

How to Fix Your Steps or Sidewalk

Replacing a sidewalk or steps is a gigantic undertaking, and isn’t typically recommended unless damage is irreparable. Fortunately, our eco-rise polyurethane injections are affordable, flexible, minimally invasive, and long-lasting. Small holes are drilled into affected areas and (in most any weather) polyurethane foam is pumped in, raising and attempting to level sunken and cracked concrete steps or sidewalks. Contact us for a free, no-obligation estimate.