Does Moisture Cause Cracks in Your Concrete Sidewalks?

Cracked sidewalks are an eyesore and a potential tripping hazard. But what causes these cracks to appear? Believe it or not, the culprit could be something as common as water.

We will discuss different scenarios where moisture can cause problems, and finally, provide tips on how to prevent these cracks from forming in the first place.

Moisture Impact on Concrete Sidewalks

Water can have a significant negative impact on concrete, and in the worst cases, lead to cracks and uneven surfaces.

When water seeps into concrete, it fills the tiny pores and spaces within. As temperatures fluctuate, this water expands and contracts. During freezing temperatures, the water can expand with tremendous force. It puts pressure on the concrete and causes cracks to form.

Water can also dissolve calcium hydroxide within concrete, a key component for strength and stability. This weakens the overall structure of the concrete, making it more susceptible to cracking under stress, such as weight or pressure from tree roots or heavy vehicles.

Constant exposure to moisture can lead to erosion, where tiny particles of concrete are slowly broken down and washed away. This can cause the surface of the sidewalk to become uneven and eventually lead to spalling, where larger chunks of concrete detach and flake off.

Moisture can also affect the soil beneath the sidewalk. Saturated soil can become unstable and lose its ability to properly support the concrete. This can lead to uneven settling, causing the sidewalk to become warped and cracked.

Can Just Repairing Cracks Solve the Problem?

Repairing cracks can certainly address the immediate issue and improve safety by reducing tripping hazards.

However, it's important to remember that crack repair alone might not be a permanent solution. They can reopen due to ongoing pressure from weather, weight, or ground movement.

If the source of moisture isn't addressed, water will continue to seep in through the repaired cracks, negating the repair and potentially causing further damage.

For a permanent solution that tackles the root cause of moisture problems, consider hiring the professional sidewalk contractors in New York City. They can assess the situation, identify the source of water seepage like poor drainage, and recommend a course of action to address it. This might involve regarding the soil around the sidewalk, improving drainage systems, or applying waterproofing membranes.

While professional repairs may cost more upfront, they can save you money in the long run by preventing future cracking and the need for repeated repairs.

Tips to Help Prevent Moisture Damage

  • Ensure proper drainage around your sidewalks. This means directing water away from the concrete by sloping the soil away from the edges and making sure downspouts extend far enough to avoid pooling near the foundation.

  • Regularly apply a penetrating concrete sealer. This creates a barrier that helps repel water and reduces its penetration into the concrete.

  • Fix any leaky pipes, clogged gutters, or malfunctioning sprinkler systems that contribute to excess moisture around the sidewalk.

  • Tree roots can cause cracks in sidewalks as they grow. Consider planting trees at a safe distance from sidewalks or installing root barriers.

  • Inspect your sidewalks regularly for cracks and address them promptly. Small cracks are easier and less expensive to repair than large ones.

For a comprehensive evaluation and personalized solutions to address moisture issues and prevent future cracking, consider consulting with concrete repair specialists like Eden Construction NY in NYC.

Read Also:

Should You Fix Your Sidewalk Yourself or Hire a Pro in NYC?
Common Sidewalk Issues to Keep an Eye On



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