Why Does it Happen
Buckling happens when foreign materials such as pebbles, dirt, and plants have worked their way into the joints between sections of poured concrete. These joints are meant to provide space for the natural expansion and contraction of the pavement. When they become filled the concrete is not able to expand outward into these joints and the stress pushes the block up, creating an uneven surface. Over time more debris settles into the gap created underneath the block. This makes it impossible for the pavement to settle back into its original space. Further, the buckling action creates larger gaps in the joints around the section, allowing more foreign materials to settle, compounding the problem.
How to Prevent Buckling
Keeping your pavement clean can go a long way toward maintaining a smooth surface and will greatly extend the life of your sidewalk. A simple routine of sweeping foreign materials out of the joints between the poured sections can greatly reduce swelling and stress fractures. Clean these areas out during the summer and do not allow your pavement to become frozen over in the winter. Water and ice also place stress on poured blocks and can cause pavement to erode and buckle over time.
Replacing Buckled Concrete
If you are already experiencing buckling and shifting you should consider having your old pavement removed and replaced by a professional service. Pavement poured by a knowledgeable contractor should have an appropriate joint that is neither too small to allow for the natural expansion and contraction of your pavement but is also not so large as to gather excessive amounts of foreign matter.
Contact us for a free evaluation of your current poured concrete walkway.