Sidewalk construction may be a simple process, but eventually the sidewalk begins to break and lift, causing trip hazards. Sidewalk surfaces usually begin to lift because of large trees with growing roots, heat expansion and soil movement. As trees get older, the roots become thicker and stronger, often spreading into sidewalk surfaces.
Often what will happen, rather than starting sidewalk construction all over again, sidewalk grinding takes place to make it level or tree roots are cut. The main issue is that these are only temporary fixes, and the tree’s roots will eventually grow into the sidewalk again, and cutting them can kill the tree over time.
Good sidewalk construction consists of proper formwork, concrete placement, finishing and curing. The formwork should be straight and strong with a form release agent, if required, to ease stripping. After, concrete needs to be poured as close to possible to the final position to be set. The next step in sidewalk construction would be to level the concrete and protect it from damage. Curing is the last step and the most crucial in sidewalk construction. The type of curing is based on weather temperatures and the process is adjusted accordingly.
Although joints are used in sidewalk construction to help the sidewalk move without damage, they are not always effective. The average service life of a sidewalk is 20-40 years, but problems can occur as early as one to five years after construction.
One new way that has been improving the sidewalk construction process and prolonging its life is a product called TripStop™. These new kind of joints are placed throughout areas that may end up problematic. When the sidewalk does begin to move or split, the joints will allow it to move gradually, maintaining a smooth sidewalk and eliminating the need for more construction or killing of trees.