A trip hazard on a sidewalk or driveway is a must-do repair. Not only does it look bad, it also is a safety concern and as the homeowner, you are responsible for any injuries that occur due to tripping. Uneven concrete slabs are one of the more common trip hazards. These are caused from uneven settling, frost heave, or from tree roots pushing up from underneath. The following guide can help you determine the best way to repair the issue.
Option #1: Replacement
This is the most expensive and time consuming option. Your concrete contractor will need to break up and remove the old slab, then they must repair or replace the base before pouring the new concrete. There are also some issues to consider. The color of the concrete may not match the rest of the walkway. The concrete may also settle differently, creating yet another uneven section.
Generally, this option is only considered when the state of the concrete is beyond other means of repair. For example, when it has become badly cracked or is starting to crumble.
Option #2: Ramping
Ramps are made from a concrete epoxy. They are applied so that a smooth surface is created from the lower slab to the higher slab on the walkway. This is a quick fix that can be completed in a day. It is not always the most attractive fix, since the epoxy doesn't match the concrete exactly. It looks best in areas where the level of settling is uniform, as opposed to locations where the ramps needed may be higher on one end of the uneven slab as compared to the other.
The biggest drawback, other than appearance, is that epoxy is not a permanent solution. It will eventually begin to crumble or peel up. This will require removal and replacement. How quickly it breaks up depends on the amount of traffic on the walk, along with the weather conditions.
Option #3: Grinding
Grinding is another quick option that can usually be finished within a day. In fact, it may even be more quick than epoxy since there is no drying time for just basic grinding. A concrete grinder will grind down the top surface of the concrete until it is level with the lower slab. The finished grind is then honed so it is smooth.
The main issue with grinding is that it does create a thinner sidewalk slab, but this may not be a concern if the slab was relatively thick to begin with. The grind area may also be noticeable, but it generally blends in well. You can also have your contractor resurface the concrete after grinding to create a more durable and uniform surface. This involves lay a thin layer of concrete over the old. While more expensive and time consuming, the result looks like a new walk or drive. Contact a company, such as the Concrete Coring Company, if you have problems with an uneven sidewalk.