Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Sloping Sidewalks

  1. Jun 24, 2010 #1
    My sidewalks in my front yard are sloping (in the wrong direction). I'm already regrading the whole front yard (doing it myself, by hand) and was wondering what the best way to fix the sidewalks is.

    My plan was to rent a concrete saw, cut along the seams, and lift each block out so that they can be replaced after building up the soil underneath. Is this the best way to do it? Or is there another way that I'm unaware of?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2010 #2
    Call the city?
  4. Jun 25, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The property owner is usually responsible for the sidewalk adjacent to their property
  5. Jun 25, 2010 #4
    Shredder is correct. The sidewalks are on my property and therefore my responsibility.
  6. Jun 25, 2010 #5
    It's your responsibility to fix a sidewalk that everyone in the city uses? That can't be right.
  7. Jun 25, 2010 #6
    Yeah, I think it's your responsibility to take care of the upkeep, just cleaning and stuff like that. Repairs or replacing the sidewalks normally are contracted out by the city and paid for by the city. I think at least. Maybe your city is different, only you would know :tongue:.

    As for making it level again... those slabs are pretty heavy. I don't think you should mess around with a concrete cutter either. You should just contract the job out, DIY sidewalk repairs are normal just patches etc.. I've never heard of someone removing and replacing an entire section of sidewalk as a DIY project.
  8. Jun 25, 2010 #7
    If it helps at all, I'm pretty sure that is how the contractors will fix it when they do the work. As long as the conrete is in good enough shape to hold together during the repair.
  9. Jun 25, 2010 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You need to check your city laws before you do anything. Each city is free to handle things like public sidewalks any way that they please.

    The city could require you to perform maintenance on the sidewalks yourself, at your expense (somewhat unlikely nowadays since this affects public safety).

    The city could do the maintenance, but require you to pay all or a portion of the cost. That ensures sidewalk maintenance is performed up to some common standard. And you'll just love paying a contractor that knows the city will approve whatever repairs he deems necessary.

    The city could do the maintenance at their own cost, in which case you've probably already paid for your sidewalk repairs in the form of higher property taxes.
  10. Jun 25, 2010 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you do build it up, I would use sand.
  11. Jun 25, 2010 #10
    Just so we're clear, I'm not working on the public sidewalks which go alongside the street. I'm working on the concrete which go from the public sidewalks to my front steps, and around to the back of the house.

    Sorry for the confusion.
  12. Jun 25, 2010 #11
    I think I have your solution Google "mudjacking"

    Here is an article that describes the process. http://www.crc1.com/documents/LedgerTelegramArticleP28and29_090703.pdf" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. Jun 25, 2010 #12
    I was thinking about mudjacking, but I don't have the equipment for that, and didn't want to have to pay someone to come do it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Jun 25, 2010 #13
    Concrete demolition is hard, heavy and potentially dangerous work.
    The thickness and total length of your existing concrete will in large part dictate what removal method is most practical. How thick is it?

    In all cases of DIY protective eye goggles are essential(spend a few more bucks and get a full face shield)
    Ideally, the concrete should be demolished, as opposed to slab removal if your doing it on you own with a limited budget. You can rent a jackhammer(very effective!) or in some cases of thin concrete a sledgehammer works well.

    If you can, borrow a good, heavy sledgehammer and see if it sufficiently cracks the concrete without wearing you out.
    Alternately, you might be able to hire someone to use a jackhammer just for the entire demo work. Probably about 1 hour and about $100-150 dollars, maybe even less!

    Removing the resultant debris yourself will save you money.
  15. Jun 25, 2010 #14
    Thanks, but I'm not trying to demolish, just regrade.
  16. Jun 25, 2010 #15


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You might want to determine the weight of each concrete section before you try to move them. Those blasted things are heavy. The average concrete slab weighs 145 lbs per cubic foot.

    I have successfully lifted and leveled sidewalk slabs using 4 bottle jacks under the edge of each section. Mine were over 350 lbs each. The slabs can crack easily because they usually don't have rebar.


    Edit: I also used pieces of 3/16 inch steel on top of each jack to distribute the weight.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  17. Jun 25, 2010 #16
    OK, gotcha. I just now re-read your first post.
  18. Jun 25, 2010 #17
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  19. Jun 25, 2010 #18
    Well, I managed to cut them along each seam, and got a friend to come over and help move them. We've got them all moved out of the way, tomorrow I'll regrade underneath them, and then either tomorrow evening or Sunday, I'll get him to come back and help put them back. The only one we didn't move is the largest one, which we're guessing weighs over a ton, and is partly under the steps. For that one we lifted it with the pry-bar, and propped it as high as we could with blocks of wood. I'll pack underneath as well as I can, and we'll let it down. It'll settle, and we may have to redo it in a year or two, but it's better than trying to move it would have been.

    Very little damage to the pieces as we moved them, even one which was cracked, and I was expecting to break, survived intact. I think we put a good scrape in the top of one of them with the pry-bar, but it's face down right now, so I can't tell.
  20. Jun 25, 2010 #19


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've never known anyone to try to regrade under a sidewalk before. Usually, it's a lot of heavy labor with a sledge hammer to remove the old sidewalk and pour new concrete sloped in the right direction.

    I have the same issue with the walk from my driveway to my porch, that it's sloped toward the house instead of away from it (for some screwball reason, they matched it to the driveway grade). For now, I just make sure I don't let the grass or soil build up so any water entering the front yard hits the edge of the sidewalk instead of being spilled over it. Having moved just the 2'x2'x2" patio blocks in the past, I'd never consider moving while sections of sidewalk.
  21. Jun 25, 2010 #20


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My parents bought this old place when I was a kid, probably 130 years old now, that had large brick sidewalks all around the house and gardens. Over the years the trees in the yard grew causing the roots to move some areas of brick up and others down. Dad would make a projects out of removing them, leveling the ground, then replacing them. It always looked like a new sidewalk after he was done.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook