Sidewalk sloping towards house, suggestions?

18 Replies

Hi, I've got a sidewalk sloping towards the house and I'd like to correct it properly. I've talked to a mudjacker and he believes the sidewalk is too old and should just be replaced. I am considering pouring new concrete over it to correct the slope. Does anyone have a better/alternative suggestion??? thx!

here's a couple pics of it:

hmmm. I'd talk to a second mudjacker. I'm no expert but that concrete looks pretty sound to me. It needs something actually wrong with it (besides "old") before it requires replacement I'd think. Concrete can remain sound for a very long time. A thin overlayment might be prone to chipping/failing though. Curious to hear what those with more expertise have to say...

Alternately, you could rip it out, re-grade and put in preformed paving stones

The older the concrete the harder it gets. Old makes no difference.

Is this a rental or a flip?

What are your concerns?

If a rental, I would be concerned about potential trip hazard which you could just level off near those raised corners. If you have water getting into the basement, then you will probably want to change the grading. 

I have heard that foam can be used rather than grout :

It will be a long term rental, my main concern is water damage to the foundation over the next 20-30 years.  There doesn't appear to be any leakage in basement but the parging is damaged along this side of the house(I've since fixed it) while the parging on the rest of the house is in good shape.  I'm assuming that this slope is what has caused water damage to the parging and I'm looking to prevent any future long term problems.

I'm not a mudjacker and don't have any experience but I would vote for tear out and new. If money is an issue tear it out and regrade to slope away. 1 ft drop in 10 ft from foundation is standard. If the walkway is not often used. The remove the sidewalk. Grade to drain like I said above, cover in plastic to the property line and then landscape if crushed or river rock 1"-2" diameter or whatever is cheap locally. If you are really thrifty you can hire someone off Craig's List to break your current sidewalk into small pieces and use it for part. I prefer smooth river rock as it is less likely to poke holes in your plastic.

@Sol Bergren  These sidewalk issues just suck, don't they? 

I'm wondering what you'd spend on mudjacking it -- may not be worth the bother compared with replacement.

I'd agree with Bill S. and would probably replace it -- then it would actually look new once you're done spending money!  Also, I'd probably pour it right up to the house (maintain expansion joint / sealant) -- the little strip of dirt isn't gaining you much.

 I wouldn't agree with Bill S. on a cross-slope at quite 1 in 10, however.  That's 10%, and for reference, half of that (5%) or even less is plenty for water drainage on soil away from a house  -- but when you're talking about sidewalk, realize that max ADA cross-slope is 2%.  Not that you need to accommodate ADA in SK (!), but cross-sloping at 5 or 10 percent would be pretty noticeable / uncomfortable when walking on it. 

Also, regarding leaving it in place and pouring over it -- this is typically not a great idea.  You need to pour thicker than you might think.  Properly done, you'd need to lay a "separator" course including a rock base, and then pour another full 4" of concrete with proper reinforcing.  From the photo, it doesn't appear that this condition would be a great candidate for that because of factors like the low height of the window sill, as well as the need to match up with existing sidewalks to be left in place.

They make concrete re-surfacers, but your existing slope looks much too great to mess with those.

Thx for the quick detailed responses everyone, very nice to get some alternative suggestions :)

I talked with another mudjacker and he estimated he could do that section and part of the backyard for about 2k, so I'm still mulling over my options.

@Kurt F.  Yup, this issue has been pretty annoying, almost every other problem with the house has had a clear straightforward solution.  This sidewalk, not so much :)

2K sounds high. How many square feet is it? It doesn't look like a lot. In my area, tear out and repour would be $5-8 per square foot. If you really want to save cash, you could bust out the sidewalk and replace with patio stones. Don't pay to get rid of the old concrete. Run an ad on CL under the free section. People will come get the concrete for fill, firepit, etc.

Originally posted by @Rob K:

2K sounds high. How many square feet is it? It doesn't look like a lot. In my area, tear out and repour would be $5-8 per square foot. 

That's exactly what I was going to post.  I don't see this as a mud jacking project.  Two grand spent on an old, spalled concrete sidewalk?  No thanks.  ;-)

@Kurt F.  - for clarification. The 1 in 10 was for soil. While soil will drain at less than 10%, the local building officials require that slope away from the house or structure for 5 feet (6in of fall in 5 ft). They use the IBC and claim it's required by that. IBC is widely used I believe. For sloping a grass lined swale the minimum slope is 1% by several local drainage design guidelines.

Again I was not suggesting 10% slope on concrete. Minimum slope on concrete is about 0.6%. Flatter than that and you end up with bird baths.

@Sol Bergren  

It doesn't look bad;  Create a level wood form on the left end of the photo and pour self-leveling concrete over it and be done with it.

Bill -- Sol is in Saskatoon, so the IBC wouldn't apply.  But the IBC wouldn't apply anyway -- it'd be the IRC.  Per 401.3, minimum drainage for the first ten feet is 5%, not 10%.  Swales are 2%, not 1%.

Local AHJ's may go a different route than the IRC, but bear in mind that per ADA, a 10% slope is considered a ramp, and would per code require handrails.  Not very likely.

All of this code talk is useless anyway due to Sol's location.

I assume mudjackers are the guys who drill hole through concrete, raise it with foam or something similar. 2,000  is a lot, that would cost me about 500 in my area. 

We just had a 30ft sidewalk, two slabs in front of a garage, and a section inside a garage leveled for 550.00 this week.  I would get a couple more quotes.

If you have more time than money, Another option, that we have used is quickrete resurfacer, the blue bag, its great stuff. Use it to build up the low side, with a layer or two,  for a professional finish after you have done that, take a squeegee and put a very thin layer of resurfacer over the entire sidewalk and broom finish it, looks like new. 

A few month ago I drove past a couple properties where we had applied it, to see how its holding up, still intact both locations with no chipping or peeling.m

$2k is pretty high for what I see there, I've done a 40'+ section that also had to have some high spots ground down and all joints sealed with Vimco for $1800. It was along a street so the sidewalk had to be jacked to meet the curb then all joints sealed. This was commercial contractors on a commercial site with a one year warranty. Replacement was around $3800. 

The only thing I'm wondering about is currency exchange...CDN dollars to US. That may be throwing us off a bit? 

@Dell Schlabach  

Dell -- good to hear you've had good luck with the quikrete leveler.   Here's my question / comment -- I've seen the leveler applied and it's always been very "liquid" and applied with a squeegee...   hence the 'leveling' descriptor as it seeks it's own level.  Which, in Sol's case would make a level sidewalk -- but he'd have no positive drainage pitch -- so he wouldn't  solve his problem completely.

This stuff dries so fast, too -- I think they recommend doing like a 12'x12' area at a time due to the quick drying and also due to the relatively small amount that you can feasibly mix up at one time.

So, per your suggestion to Sol on building up one side, have you been able to mix the stuff thick enough to create a positive drainage slope of a couple percent or so?  Also, have you ever tried it on concrete that's in really  rough shape?   I know the manufacturer's data / disclaimers -- you need to maintain joints, cracks may reappear, etc. -- I'm just interested in your firsthand experience with the stuff.   

My first experience with the stuff was when we installed a couple sidewalks in the middle of a hot summer day on a project, I was there for the framing and pouring, My new guys who had a couple years experience with concrete work at a previous company assured me they could take it from there, and I could head to another project. I left about 2:00 and came back at 7:00, the rear sidewalk was not bad, the front sidewalk had never been touched with a trowel after the pour. Apparently the concrete set up much faster then expected and by the time they got to the front sidewalk they couldn't do anything with it. 

My guys called a couple concrete contractors they knew and they both said only option is tear out and re-pour or do an overlay which they expected to cost more than tearout and redo. 

I called a couple people and someone suggested I try the resurface. I, wasn't expecting much from previous work with the vinyl bags and other materials. But what did I have to lose. 

 I bought a few bags headed back to the jobsite, mixed poured and squeegeed it in the hot sun. It was working pretty well, drying fast. I would take a broom and do a broom finish as I went, kept doing the entire sidewalk, all the time I was certain it would peel, chip and look like crap, but what do i have to loose. 

Waited about an hour, everything was totally dry, did a few scratch tests and it seemed to hold. Then I took the saw and did the saw cuts for the sidewalk, I was totally surprised. It acted like it was part of the original concrete, no chipping no flaking no peeling or cracking. That was two years ago, today you cant tell it was not all an original pour.  One of the few times a product delivered beyone my expectations.

Since then we have used it a lot, for pitted chipped, sidewalks garages etc. 

For sidewalks leveling, we will put a board on the low side, unless its against a wall, do a buildup out maybe six eight inches, about 3/8 inch thick at the low point, feather it to nothing, you can repeat this a coupe times with longer trowels, and then when we have a bit of a slope, we do another squeegee coating over the entire sidewalk and do a broom finish. 

@Dell Schlabach  --- hey, I appreciate you posting the long explanation....thanks!

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