Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>patching concrete sidewalks
14 posts / 0 new
Last post
addiefields
patching concrete sidewalks

A city owned tree has cracked a 4' x 3' section of my sidewalk. They will not remove tree, just grind the roots down. I've been advised by tree experts that roots will grow again in 3 to 4 years and break sidewalk again. Quotes for new sidewalk are from $2,500 to $3,500. The broken pieces are large and should fit back together like a puzzle. Can I remove the pieces, grind the tree roots down, add as many layers of gravel and sand to stabilize then put the pieces back and cover with concrete resurfacing product? I can't stand the thought of spending thousands of dollars every few years to replace this dangerous sidewalk. Thanks for any advice!!

jkirk
Re: patching concrete sidewalks

why should you pay for the repair, in most areas this is a city issue. their crews should be fixing it. the only thing i can recommend as a temp fix though is if you have access to a mini grinder is to grind the concrete where the crack is to lesson the chance of a trip hazard

A. Spruce
Re: patching concrete sidewalks

Kill the tree, the city will fix the sidewalk when they remove it. Just don't make it obvious that the tree was purposefully harmed.

ordjen
Re: patching concrete sidewalks

I had a similar problem in my former house in suburban Chicago. The Village had a co-operative sidewalk replacement plan. For $25 per section they replaced several of my sidewalk sections. I thought it was a bargain. Check with your City/Village to see if such a program exists.

I would have to agree that the problem will probably just re-occur so long as the tree continues to grow. I have seen where a City has actually made a radius around a particularly nice tree, rather than cut it down.

jkirk
Re: patching concrete sidewalks

my neighbor did something similar back when i was a kid... they had a tree they wanted to get rid of sooo... they drilled 3/4" holes into it and drove copper pipe into it.. this allowed rain to get into the tree which caused it to rot fromthe inside thus killing it

A. Spruce
Re: patching concrete sidewalks
jkirk wrote:

my neighbor did something similar back when i was a kid... they had a tree they wanted to get rid of sooo... they drilled 3/4" holes into it and drove copper pipe into it.. this allowed rain to get into the tree which caused it to rot fromthe inside thus killing it

1/4" holes are less noticable. uncover and drill larger roots, then inject with round up. A couple weeks later the tree will be nice and brown, ready for the city to come remove it and repair the sidewalk! :D

If anyone asks, you heard this from Gizmo, not me! :p

Brookworld
Re: patching concrete sidewalks due to Tre Roots
A. Spruce wrote:

Kill the tree, the city will fix the sidewalk when they remove it. Just don't make it obvious that the tree was purposefully harmed.

(1) Several big cities have ordinances requiring property owners to maintain city sidewalks – for example, New York and San Jose where I once lived. Basic issue is money and high union labor costs -- they can't maintain roads/streets so they're not touching sidewalks unless part of a below ground project.
(2) Killing a public tree ? -- highly unethical, but my car was "keyed" once or twice and I've done the same to jerks, so that's the way of the world. I suspect my backyard neighbors and/or their contractors are dumping brush debris on my side of the property line.
Hope your neighbors don't take the same liberties with your property, landscape, etc. when they don't like something.

Here's a Twilight Zone ending to killing a city tree -- it'll take years for the tree to die and in the meantime, you'll have a brown tree with no shade and the potential of toppling on your house. After 5 phone calls to the City, they send out a crew who will take down tree to the stump, and leave. You'll have a stump on the front of your property and broken-up sidewalk which the city isn’t legally responsible to fix or don't have the money (after laying off 10% now that stimulus money & spending will be cut).

A. Spruce
Re: patching concrete sidewalks due to Tre Roots
Brookworld wrote:

Here's a Twilight Zone ending to killing a city tree -- it'll take years for the tree to die and in the meantime, you'll have a brown tree with no shade and the potential of toppling on your house. After 5 phone calls to the City, they send out a crew who will take down tree to the stump, and leave. You'll have a stump on the front of your property and broken-up sidewalk which the city isn’t legally responsible to fix or don't have the money (after laying off 10% now that stimulus money & spending will be cut).

The trees actually die quite quickly. Once the tree is dead, it's no longer an continuing issue for the sidewalk. Let the city take down the tree, then the property owner can deal with the sidewalk. If you don't want to kill the tree, cut the offending root from under the sidewalk.

Now, I'm not particularly condoning the killing of innocent trees. IMHO, common sense applies here, as it does with all things, however, if the city can't or won't do what it is responsible for, then it is up to the citizenry to deal with it, as is always the case. For those that govern us, there is never enough money, whether in a good economy or bad, we just feel more of the pinch when things are bad.

Nestor
Re: patching concrete sidewalks

What about turning the problem upside down and cutting the sidewalk slab pieces instead?

I'm thinking you could rent a gasoline powered concrete saw and cut through the sidewalk on both sides of the root. Remove the pieces of concrete sidewalk on each side of the root and replace with crushed limestone and pieces of wood composite decking boards that won't rot. That way, as the tree grows, you could grind down the root yourself and/or cut the decking boards narrower to accomodate the increase in root diameter. And, as long as the decking boards were approximately flush with the sidewalk, no one should be tripping.

And, of course, put up a "Watch Your Step" sign or two to cover your A$$ from those who would intentionally trip and fall so they could sue you for a reasonable profit.

Gizmo
Re: patching concrete sidewalks
A. Spruce wrote:

1/4" holes are less noticable. uncover and drill larger roots, then inject with round up. A couple weeks later the tree will be nice and brown, ready for the city to come remove it and repair the sidewalk! :D

If anyone asks, you heard this from Gizmo, not me! :p

You got it all wrong Spruce......I would drill a 1/2" hole in the tree then stick/drive a 1/2" pcs of copper pipe in it. Let the pipe stick out about 12" and hang a 1 gallon paint bucket on the end of the pipe. :confused:

When the city comes out tell them your waiting for the Maple Syrup to flow out into the bucket.......;)

dj1
Re: patching concrete sidewalks

Gizmo, once again you made me crack up...but what if it's not a maple tree?

I've dealt with a few of those situations before, and in each case I solved it differently, because of the different conditions. In my city, the sidewalks are the city's property to maintain. The city gets sued for injuries and pays out millions in settlements rather than fix the pavements - but this is the American way.

It looks like removing the broken concrete, grinding or cutting the roots and pouring new concrete sections is the best solution. It lasts more than a few years.

I have a big city tree in front of a house that provides terrific shade for parked cars when the sun is blazing - why kill it? The sidewalk is a lwasuit waiting to happen and calls to the city are ignored. The city warns that anything done to the tree which is not to code (drilling, copper pipes, copper nails, even trimming) will result in heavy fines...

If your neighbor is fed up with your tree, can he just bring a chain saw and cut it down or damage it? of course no. Well the same way with the city tree.

Pages

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.