Given the thousands of miles of sidewalks running through New Jersey's suburban communities, sidewalk maintenance in this region is serious business. Foot traffic, erratic weather, tree roots, and other factors all contribute to the gradual deterioration of urban and suburban sidewalks, and the threat of slip-and-fall lawsuits looms large for buildings and HOAs that fall behind on sidewalk maintenance.
What are the factors that contribute to buckling, cracked, and uneven sidewalks? How can boards and managers keep their own stretch of concrete in good repair to avoid unwanted legal drama? Let's take a look.
There are sidewalks made of pavement, sidewalks made of slate, and sidewalks made of brick, but most modern sidewalks are made of concrete. Concrete, in fact, is reputedly used more than any other man-made building material on the planet.
The history of concrete is older and more extensive than most people probably realize. The ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Chinese all used rudimentary forms of concrete, and of course the Romans were well versed in its properties; the word concrete is from the Latin concretus, to harden.
After the formula was lost during the Dark Ages, along with just about everything else one identifies with civilization, concrete was re-discovered in Britain in the mid-18th century. Modern concrete is usually a combination of Portland cement, fly ash (a by-product of coal power plants), gravel, sand, special chemicals that do things like make new concrete bond to old or give it a brick-colored hue, and water.