Asked on Dec 16, 2012

Sinking sidewalk - any suggestions?

Ella360 Sod (Donna Dixson)Woodbridge Environmental


Our front entry sidewalk has been a victim of severe drought in Texas! It has dropped away from the porch approximately 2.5-3 inches so that the entire L shaped walkway is lower than the porch and on the other end, the driveway. What is something creative I can do to even things out?
9 answers
  • Vintage Headboards
    on Dec 17, 2012

    The walkway, in some cases can be jacked up. The challenge is keeping it from sagging again. If the base has not been properly compacted it will continue to sink.

  • It sounds like the soil and base below was not properly compacted. How old is it? Is it concrete? Do you have any photos you can show?

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Dec 17, 2012

    As a worries me that the side walk has that much drop in front of the home, and I have seen some articles on foundation issues with that in Texas. I think I would have the foundation checked to make sure the house is still sound. But as a landscape professional I would jack hammer that concrete sidewalk out and correct the level, then replace with a paver or flagstone. To hide a problem without fixing it could be more expensive in the long run.

  • There are companies that do what is called Mud Jacking. This method works well on sidewalks that are settling much as yours is. They drill a few holes into the surface. And using a special machine, they mix a slurry of cement and soil and pump it into the hole at high pressure. As this happens the pressure fills the voids below the cement and through hydrolic action lifts the slab up to the level location were it once was when new. Not all patios, or walkways are good candidates for this process, But if there are several sections that need to be lifted the cost and the lack of mess makes this a wonderful option to use. The cause of this is simple. When houses are constructed, they dig soils away from where its located to put in foundations. This loose soil is then back filled to level the ground once the construction is complete. The issue then is compaction of the soils. They cannot compact the soil against the house for fear of pushing in the foundation walls. In sidewalks and such, they the contractors use loose soil to level the ground before they put down the stone and cement. They fail to compress the soils properly and over time the soils begin to settle. The further away the sidewalk is from the house, the harder the soil becomes as its not disturbed as much during the building process. The result is the outer edge of the sidewalk in your case is sitting on hard pack soil while the lower side was sitting on the softer unpacked side. Once you pump this back up, you will not have this issue anymore. The last option is to bust up the slab and re pour it. Not fun.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Dec 17, 2012

    This is not due to drought...but merely settling due to poor soil compaction after the build. I had to fix some settle concrete for a client last year. The front of the house had a very large solid concrete stoop...about 3 wide feet by 12 feet long and 2 feet thick. It had pulled away from the house and tipped. We ended up decking over it.

  • Straight Nails Construction
    on Dec 17, 2012

    Mudjacking is the way to go, but I would only suggest if the current sidewalk is in good shape. (meaning no cracks or voids). If you have a cracked sidewalk, the mudjacking will not repair that problem. It is much less expensive for this treatment then to bust up and and have redone.

  • To add about the drought and the settlement. Normally the entire sidewalk would settle about the same as all the soil dries about the same rate. But if the prep work was not done properly and enough clay based soil removed under the sidewalk then as it dries it will shrink. Once wet weather returns the clay will then expand the push the walk up. However I doubt very much that is the issue. As I and Straight Nails said. Mud jacking may be the answer to the issue. This again has to do with condition of slabs of cement and just how big the area is that needs to be fixed.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Dec 18, 2012

    This is one of the articles on the foundation issues with the drought in Texas

  • Ella
    on Oct 13, 2015

    I have this problem , there is mudjacking but there is also a new product made of poly that is supposed to be better.

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