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Steps To Remove and Replace A Concrete Sidewalk

An average concrete sidewalk lifetime is 10-25 years– sometimes more– depending on the circumstances. Over time, the concrete surface often requires the appropriate amount of maintenance and repair. Services like crack filling, releveling, and sealing are small repairs that can be done by most concrete specialists. But there are times when concrete is so damaged that it requires a total upgrade. When this happens it’s necessary to hire a paving contractor to remove and replace a concrete sidewalk.

Remove and Replace is exactly how it sounds. The old, broken concrete is removed with special machinery. Then, it’s replaced with brand new concrete paving that should last for the next decade or so.

When To Remove and Replace Concrete Sidewalk

How do you know if your sidewalk needs to be replaced or simply repaired? Generally, once a concrete walkway starts becoming a hazard or causes harm to people or vehicles, it’s time to get it replaced. But there are other signs that can let you know your concrete might need to be worked on within the next few years. Some of the most obvious signs include:

  • Prominent cracks throughout the sidewalk
  • Water pitching or flooding issues
  • Unsightly potholes
  • Crumling or cracking curbs
  • Rising or lowering of seams or expansion joints
  • Tree roots invading the sidewalk area
  • Larger cracks caused by natural forces such as storms or earthquakes

A properly installed sidewalk can still develop underlying issues after years of wear and tear. A complete removal and replacement allows the paving contractor to see any potential obstacles and accurately plan ahead to avoid recurring maintenance or repairs in the future. 

How Is A Concrete Sidewalk Properly Removed & Replaced?

The process can vary depending on the scope of work required for your sidewalk or property. Before removal or replacement begging, though, both you and your contractor will need to evaluate the sidewalk and surrounding area for potential causes of damage. In highly trafficked locations like city sidewalks or concrete walkways near shopping centers, more damage can result from common pressure. Smaller concrete structures, however, can go through just as much damage caused by the elements. 

Once you and your paving contractor establish what’s causing your damaged concrete, they can make the right adjustments for your new sidewalk replacement. 

Removal of Old Concrete Sidewalk

The first step after evaluation is the removal or damaged concrete. Sometimes the entire sidewalk will be removed and replaced, which is the most ideal action. Other times a specific section or block of the most damaged concrete is removed. Removal starts with using a special saw to cut and remove broken concrete down to the proper depth. Old materials are delivered to the appropriate dumping site where it is often recycled. 

After the concrete is removed, the base gets compacted for proper stability. It’s essential to make sure the base (the part underneath the ground where concrete is going to be poured) is stable, precise, and free of obstacles. Then, it’s time to get ready for the replacement.

Replacement With New Concrete

After initial setup and removal is complete, the new concrete is poured into the formed area. This process demands following the proper guidelines and measurements specific to the project. Therefore, hiring an experienced paving contractor is absolutely necessary in this process. You don’t want to be stuck with a new sidewalk that isn’t even installed properly! 

Once the fresh, new concrete is laid, the surface needs to be finished. It’s leveled with a brush, hand-trowel, or special machine. Next, of course, it needs to dry completely before use.

What To Ask When Hiring A Concrete Contractor

When you are looking for a reputable sidewalk contractor to remove and replace a concrete sidewalk, keep in mind the following expert practices:

Special Drying Processes for Hot or Cold Temperatures

In overly hot and dry climates, a new concrete paving job might require wet curing while drying. This is when a liquid substance is laid over the concrete surface to assist in strengthening while drying. On the other hand, in cold climates where it snows or rains a lot, it might be necessary to prevent the concrete from freezing for up to a week after freshly poured. Ask your contractor if weather is a concern of yours.

Compaction and Subgrade 

Properly compacting and preparing the subgrade underneath a new sidewalk is vital for a long-lasting walkway. If compaction is not carefully completed at the right degree or uniformity, it can cause the concrete to settle in uneven ways. This results in future cracks or slants of the sidewalk surface.

Many times, a subbase layer might be the best option between the subgrade and the concrete layers. This extra layer offers stronger and more even support over the initial subgrade that’s prone to small imperfections. A subbase is most often used in concrete pavements that will be used by both pedestrians and vehicles. Alternatively, it can be used in sidewalks with more severe seasonal weather conditions. 

Tree Roots and Concrete Placement

All kinds of details go into proper concrete sidewalk placement. Tree roots are one of the most common, as they cause irreversible damage to many sidewalks every year. When removing and replacing concrete, it’s important to be aware of the location of tree roots. Larger trees can eventually push up slabs of cement. Depending on the type of tree, most paving contractors know to keep a few sidewalk’s width worth of spacing between any trees and new concrete.

ADA Compliance and Sidewalk Upgrades

Especially if your paving project is for a large parking lot or commercial center, ask your contractor about their experience with ADA compliant sidewalks. As laws can be confusing and change every so often, your paving professionals should be well-versed in this area. Upgrading your sidewalk through the proper concrete removal and replacement can also include updating appropriate ramps, signage, and more within your sidewalk. 

Need To Remove and Replace A Concrete Sidewalk? 

If you or your business establishment need a sidewalk removed and replaced, get the job done now. Don’t wait, as that can incur further damages down the road, and in some cases, expensive lawsuits. Reach out to South Coast Paving, Inc. today for southern California’s #1 Paving Contractors and see why we love to help your property improve over time with paving as an investment. 

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