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If pedestrian walkways and other key passages on your property are anything but smooth sailing, you’re not alone. Even the strongest, most resilient hard surfaces are challenged by “what lies beneath.” Roots of mature trees will grow through most any surface. They’ll push up pavers and concrete, cause buckling at sidewalk joints and literally “root” themselves into pathways.

Weather is another factor that can cause uneven surfaces. Hail pounds coin-sized pits into surfaces and the freeze-thaw pattern we endure during winter (even in Atlanta!) gives hard surfaces a workout. With all of that expansion and contraction of soil and base, a surface can endure only so much before it heaves or cracks.

Also, normal wear on your commercial property from pedestrian and vehicular traffic naturally breaks down materials over time. This is why ongoing maintenance is important for preserving the integrity of your grounds, and ensuring the safety of people who live, work and play on your property.

Uneven surfaces should be addressed promptly because they do present a serious risk—and property owners can be responsible for injuries and accidents that happen because of landscape liabilities. If replacing an area of pavers or resurfacing a walkway sounds expensive, consider the potentially exorbitant fees associated with a lawsuit if someone on your property slips, trips, falls and sustains and injury.

Our advice: Don’t even go there. Address uneven surfaces and prevent those trip-and-fall hazards from developing on your Atlanta property. Here are three surface strategies you can implement.

#1 Grind Uneven Sidewalk Joints

Older properties naturally deal with more “surface issues” because of mature tree roots that disrupt surfaces, and overall wear-and-tear. Sometimes, a fix is simple and does not require replacing areas. Do you have sidewalk joints that are buckled and uneven—or chipped or ruptured of concrete near joints, or broken and disrupted pieces that could cause a person to trip? (If the answer is no today, this is an issue to watch out for because most properties will eventually discover these issues.)

If yes, those joints can be grinded down so they are smooth and level. Additional patching can create a smooth, safe surface. This maintenance is a cost-effective alternative to repaving asphalt or concrete, or ripping out and reinstalling pavers.  

#2 Replacing Damaged Pavers

Even the highest-quality pavers that are built for longevity require ongoing maintenance. Even the most diligent property owner that tend to paver surfaces will find that Mother Nature can throw their efforts off course. In some cases, improper installation of pavers results in settling problems down the road. Perhaps the ground was not properly leveled or base was poorly compacted. Installing pavers is a specialty—and even expert paver jobs are subject to settling because we just can’t control what soil does. So, if pavers sink due to settling, the surface can dip or ruptures in the surface crop up. These areas are potential hazards for pedestrians.

The best strategy is to remove the pavers in the compromised area, then re-grade the surface. Proper preparation before re-installing pavers is essential for preventing future issues.

Because paver replacement cost depends on the area, properties with significant surface issues might choose to address one area at the time. We always recommend mapping out high-traffic zones and fixing those promptly to prevent accidents.

#3 Address Mature Tree Roots

If you’ve got mature trees near walkways, you can practically plan on the tree butting out a nearby surface. Mature trees can buckle and break nearly anything—including, of course, cement. The best solution is to remove the damaged surface area; then enlist in a professional to grind down exposed roots. This can be done effectively without causing irreparable damage to trees. Then, new surface can be laid down.

Tree roots on the surface of a hiking trail.jpeg

Safety First: Fix Uneven Surfaces to Avoid Costly Liability

The safety of people who visit your property is of utmost importance. While maintenance of surfaces is an additional budgetary expense, it’s critical for creating a healthy environment. And, should an accident occur on your grounds, you’ll be liable—and that can cost a lot more than fixing problems at the onset.

Let’s take the time now to do a walk-through on your Atlanta property so we can point out any areas pedestrian safety concerns. We can identify priority areas that should be fixed immediately, and spaces that need attention down the road.

Call us any time at 678.298.0550, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.


Last modified: March 4, 2017