Cracks in pavement: Why are there cracks in my patio?

Cracks in pavement: Why are there cracks in my patio?

From small landscaping projects to major yard renovations, homeowners expect their paved sidewalks, driveways and patios to last as long as the house itself. However, Mother Nature often has other plans. Cracks that form in sidewalks and other walkways are frustrating to deal with and can potentially pose a walking hazard.

How do cracks in pavement form?

Here are some common causes to why pavement can develop large cracks over time:

Cement expansion

Here is a really quick science lesson: When an object is heated enough, it expands. Therefore, when a sidewalk absorbs sunshine and heat all day, it physically takes up more space. The opposite is true when during freezing temperatures. Objects that are cold, contract. During especially freezing winters, the pressure can prove too great for paved concrete and cracks usually occur.

This is why there are pre-formed cracks placed into sidewalks when installed. One long concrete slab would crack and collapse easily from large changes in temperature. The pre-formed cracks give it space to expand and contract without damaging the rest of the sidewalk.

Tree roots

Tree roots can also cause a lot of damage to paved walkways. Tree roots are incredibly strong and can force concrete upwards from the ground when growing its root system. If left unaddressed, entire slabs of pavement can break apart and make for a dangerous walkway.

The easiest way to avoid intrusive tree roots in the first place is to give enough space between the pavement and the tree. As a general rule of thumb, tall trees need more room to grow. Trees no taller than 30 feet can be planted 3 feet or more from paved areas. Those that reach 50 feet should have at least 6 ft of space to ensure that the tree roots don’t destroy a sidewalk or driveway. This is critical because persistent tree roots that damage your sidewalk can leave space for plants to find weak spots in the concrete and push through.

If you have tree roots that are destroying your sidewalk, driveway or patio, here’s a quick rundown of what to do next, or call the tree experts at Inexpensive Tree Care.

Poorly compacted soil

When concrete is poured onto a foundation, it’s important that the construction crew properly compact the soil beforehand. If the dirt is too loose when concrete is placed, it will move and weaken over time. This often leads to cracks, total breakage and uneven footing as the concrete falls lower to fill in the space the shifting soil left behind.

Inexpensive Tree Care is committed to providing the highest quality tree trimming service in Portland, Oregon and its surrounding areas. From tree pruning, to tree removal and stump grinding, give us a call to speak with one of our experts about solving any tree problems you’re up against.

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