Property Manager’s Guide to Spring: Sidewalks, Steps & Pool Decks

Published On: March 4, 2022

Temperatures will begin to warm soon, which means you may start to see tenants enjoying the outdoors.  Are their entryways ready?  Did their patios and porches settle over the winter?  Are the sidewalks host to trip hazards?  Do the concrete steps have cracks or driveways need leveling? The responsibility of Spring may be a lot for a property manager to tackle, but choosing the right concrete leveling expert eases the to-do list! Read our property inspection guide below for advice on inspecting concrete sidewalks, slabs, steps, pool decks, and more!

As you walk the property for maintenance, your concrete will likely tell you when it needs repair.  Consider adding these next items to things you inspect when ensuring the safety of others at the facilities you maintain:

  • Check the porches made with concrete.  Is there a gap between the first porch step and the landing?  This may be a sign of sinking concrete.
  • Inspect the entryways of each building. Do you see lines or shading on the wall of the house, where the concrete meets the brick?  This reveals a drop in the level of the concrete slab, noting sunken concrete that needs lifting.
  • For owners of swimming pool amenities, watch for a change in the coping of the pool.  A drop in the level between this pool edge and its surround, or any crack in the pool deck, may be a sure sign that you need the assistance of a concrete repair.

Why am I seeing concrete issues now?

The harsh winter months lend to unkind and unwanted effects for outside structures like sidewalks, porch steps, and pool decks.  One small crack may allow water to seep beneath the porous surface of the concrete.  Combine this with cold temperatures that freeze water, and the result is expansion of any crack in a concrete slab that may not have been previously visible.

Frost heave is a prime example of a cause for the concrete cracks that may appear around your property at the start of the season.   An increased presence of ice in frost susceptible soil causes an upward swelling that lifts the ground above it, eventually causing unlevel concrete and cracks in sidewalks and even driveways. The images included in our property management guide should help you properly identify concrete affected by frost heave.

Vegetation also comes to life in the Spring, and the roots of all the decorative trees that line the sidewalks begin to grow.  If these trees become large enough, their roots may move the soil beneath the walkway causing cracks in concrete to form.  Now the once level surface becomes a trip hazard due to tree roots causing uneven ground which leads to an uneven sidewalk.

How can I repair unlevel concrete?

Concrete leveling and crack repair for things like sidewalks, steps, and pool decks can be achieved through a local foundation repair contractor or concrete leveling specialist like USS.  Management companies prefer repairing sunken concrete over replacing concrete because it is generally less expensive, less invasive, and when performed by USS, comes with a warranty.

The safe, effective Polylift repair made from recycled material provides an eco-friendly, moisture resistant option of polyurethane foam injection to lift uneven concrete.  Using this process, no excavation is needed to lift sunken concrete or repair cracks in concrete.  These Polylift repairs can usually be completed by a concrete leveling expert the same day, allowing use of the concrete sidewalk, pool deck, or driveway within minutes. If you need assistance with Polylift repair beyond what we have included in our property inspection guide, feel free to reach out to our experts in Middle TN, Southern KY, or Northern AL.

Can I prevent cracks in concrete?

As you prepare the grounds of the properties you manage for Spring, there are ways to prevent future cracks in concrete and pedestrian sidewalks:

  • Pay special attention to the species of trees and the distance of trees planted when landscaping and pouring new areas of concrete. The larger the tree is, the more damage it can cause beneath the surface.
  • Check the direction of your sprinklers, irrigation systems, and downspouts. Areas that collect water may call for additional drainage to prevent soil erosion beneath concrete steps, sidewalks, and concrete porches.
  • Regular maintenance checks can keep a poly repair job a small job if detected early.

If a concrete driveway is sinking, cracking, or tilting at the property you maintain if you have uneven, sinking sidewalks that create a trip hazard, or if you see sunken concrete porches and leaning concrete steps, don’t replace the concrete…raise it instead!  We hope this property inspection guide has helped you evaluate your concrete sidewalks, slabs, and stairways. If you need further help, call USS today for a free consultation on uneven concrete within the Middle TN, Southern KY, or Northern AL areas.

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