- The driveway from the street to the garage, carport or parking pad of the residence may be dirt, gravel or paved with a hard, solid surface, such as concrete or macadam. Solid surfaces should be sloped slightly to one side, so that water will be directed away from house and foundation area. Some cracking in driveways can be expected, however, they should not cause a tripping hazard, erosion or in any way negatively impact the house.
- Asphalt bituminous or macadam surfaces are common driveway surfaces. This type of material develops surface cracks as it ages. Cracks that go through the entire thickness of the material are the result of heavy loads or an inadequate base. Through cracks cannot be repaired without removing that section of the asphalt driveway and repairing and compacting the subsoil underneath. Filling or re-coating the surface can repair minor cracking from aging of the asphalt surface.
- Concrete is an excellent driveway surface. Concrete is prone to cracking as a result of normal expansion and contraction, frost heaving or an inadequate base. Heaving may occur if water gets under the concrete and freezes, forcing the surface up. Improperly mixed concrete and concrete that has not been properly cured, may deteriorate very rapidly.
- Be sure that the driveway is not sloped towards the house. If the residence is situated lower than the street level, it is important that a “catch basin” or “drainage area” be incorporated in the driveway prior to the drive reaching the residence or garage. This type of drain should be free flowing, so that the water is not discharged near the structure.
- The minimum width of a driveway area is 8 feet, although 9 feet is preferred. If the driveway is used both for cars and a walkway, it should be at least 10 feet wide.
- A vertical displacement of 13 mm (0.5 in) or greater at any point on the walkway that could cause pedestrians to trip or prevent the wheels of a wheelchair or stroller from rolling smoothly.
Badly cracked concrete
- Holes and rough spots ranging from hairline cracks to indentations wider than 13 mm (0.5 in).
- Fragments of concrete or other building material detached from larger structures.
Raised or Settled areas that trap water
- Sidewalk segments with depressions, reverse cross slopes, or other indentations that make the sidewalk path lower than the curb. These depressions trap silt and water on the sidewalk and reduce the slip resistant nature of the surface.
Tree root damage
- Roots from trees growing in adjacent landscaping that cause the walkway surface to buckle and crack.
- Ground cover, trees, or shrubs on properties or setbacks adjacent to the path that have not been pruned can encroach onto the path and create obstacles.
- Objects located on the sidewalk, in setbacks, or on properties adjacent to the sidewalk that obstruct the passage space. Obstacles commonly include trash receptacles, utility poles, newspaper vending machines, and mailboxes.
- Any safety issue that a pedestrian or sidewalk inspector believes should merit attention.
- Blocked drainage inlets and inadequate flow planning.
- Temporary construction interruptions.
- Inadequate patching after utility installation.
- Although sidewalks are usually elements of the public right-of-way, some city charters assign the responsibility for sidewalk upkeep to the owner of the adjacent property. City charters commonly specify that the city cannot be held liable for any accidents or injuries incurred due to sidewalk conditions.
- When homeowners and businesses are responsible for sidewalk maintenance, they are allowed to decide whether to hire a contractor, perform repairs on their own, or have the city do the repair. Homeowner associations in some neighborhoods address right-of-way maintenance as a group to minimize the cost to individual members. In some areas, the city will subsidize property owners for sidewalk repairs. Local laws may also dictate whether or not a homeowner must hire a professional contractor to undertake sidewalk repair. Regardless of the approach for sidewalk maintenance, municipal inspectors should review and approve all repairs to guarantee that the improved sidewalk meets pedestrian access needs.
- Check with your local authorities to find out who is responsible for sidewalk maintenance, clearing snow, etc. This information will prove very valuable to you if you are responsible for upkeep & maintenance of the sidewalks that run through your property.