Being a homeowner is a wonderful dream to have – but when you finally realize that dream, you’re faced with all sorts of decisions you never even thought about. There’s really no way to know what it’s like to be a homeowners until you actually experience it for yourself. If the home is newer, perhaps you won’t have many issues. But as homes age, they tend to require more maintenance and more attention in different areas.
Walkways are a good example. This is an aspect of your home’s construction that you use constantly; but how often do you stop and look at the quality? Probably not until something goes wrong, like a crack or other malformation in the surface of the pavement. That tends to get someone’s attention. Imperfections in the pavement can be anything from a minor aesthetic flaw to a structural failure that actually presents safety issues. It’s also worth noting that little flaws, left unattended and unrepaired, can quickly turn into big ones. This is particularly true in areas with cold, frozen winters. That’s due to the expansion and contraction of the pavement at extreme temperatures. When it gets very cold, the pavement contracts on a molecular level. When the Mercury rises again, your walkway will expand. If this happens a sufficient number of times – or if the walkway was not installed to a high professional standard – the pavement will weaken. You might notice this weakening on the surface of the pavement, but those surface conditions might also be a result of flaws in the base or sub-base layers of the pavement, which are just as important (if not more) than the surface of the walkway itself.
So the question is, should you have your walkways repaired? The answer may be yes, but you might want to ask a professional for an honest opinion. If you have only a few tiny cracks, you might wish to wait awhile and see if they expand. If you notice them getting larger, you know you’ve got a structural issue that needs to be dealt with.
Now obviously, you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where a dishonest contractor tries to tell you that your walkway is in dire need of professional repair when it really isn’t. But you do want honest information about how serious the defects are and whether it’s a better strategy to repair them now, or use a “wait and see” policy.
What can be said is that a lot of walkways are not correctly installed because the contracted lacked the proper knowledge, or the proper equipment, or the appropriate experience. This leads to unsuspecting homeowners having problems within a year or two after the asphalt or concrete (or other types of pavement, such as tar and chip paving), when realistically is should be several years longer before repair scenarios really come into play.
There may be a contractor in your area who has established a reputation through repeat business and positive online testimonials. It’s worth taking the time to find this contractor, whether you’re putting in a new walkway or wondering if you need to repair your existing pavement.