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Common Types of Sidewalk Damage in NYC and Their Causes

cracked sidewalk in nyc

Sidewalks in New York City face a constant battle against the elements. Over time, weather, wear and tear, and heavy foot traffic can all contribute to cracks, uneven surfaces, and other types of damage. While the interior of your home is important, maintaining a safe and attractive sidewalk shouldn't be overlooked. Not only does a well-maintained sidewalk prevent trip hazards for pedestrians, but it also enhances the overall curb appeal of your property.

Common Types of Sidewalk Damages

Let us talk about the signs that show it is time to fix the path:


Cracks are the most visible signs of wear and tear on sidewalks. These appear as splits or separations in the concrete surface. Weather conditions, soil erosion, or tree roots can all contribute to cracks forming.
Before getting your sidewalk repaired, it's important to identify the type of crack, as different cracks require different repair methods.

Trip Hazards

A trip hazard is an area of the path that is uneven, raised, or sunken, making it difficult to walk on. Poor sidewalk design, harsh weather conditions, or shifting soil can all contribute to trip hazards. These uneven surfaces pose a serious threat to pedestrian safety and should be addressed promptly.

Uneven Slabs

An uneven sidewalk is a walking path with a surface that is not level. This unevenness can be caused by poor construction, unstable soil settling over time, or tree roots pushing up on the concrete.
These uneven surfaces create a tripping hazard for pedestrians and can be especially dangerous for people with disabilities.

Fading Color

When the sidewalk is new, it looks smooth and fresh. Over time, the color fades and goes gray or light gray. Snow and sunshine are examples of harsh weather that can cause discoloration.
When the color fades, the inner layers are more likely to get damaged and cause cracks on the surface. To make faded steps strong and long-lasting again, they need a fresh coat of paint.

Water Damage

Sometimes rain or melted snow can pool up on sidewalks because they're not perfectly flat, and the water doesn't know where to go.
This can create a couple of problems. First, it can be messy to walk through, like stepping in a puddle. Second, if the water sits there for a long time, it can damage the sidewalk itself.

What are the Causes of Sidewalk Damage

Our sidewalks face a lot every day. Here's a quick rundown of the main culprits behind sidewalk damage:

Tough Weather

Severe sunlight, extreme snow or rainfall can cause sidewalks to deteriorate or get damaged. It is important to act quickly.

Tree Roots

The roots of the tree seek nutrients and in their search, they may grow underneath the concrete and cause cracks by exerting pressure on the surface.
According to expert sidewalk contractors like Eden Concrete Contractors NY, planting trees too close to sidewalks is a common cause of cracking. They recommend a minimum distance of:

  • 3 feet (1 meter) for small trees that mature below 30 feet (9 meters) in height.
  • For medium-sized trees that reach 30-50 feet (9-15 meters) tall, an ideal distance of 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters) is suggested.
  • For large trees that exceed 50 feet (15 meters) in maturity, it is advised to plant them at least 8 feet (2.4 meters) away from the sidewalk to minimize potential damage.

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Improper Installation

Poorly installed sidewalks can also contribute to sidewalk damage. The use of subpar materials, insufficient cure time, and hiring an unprofessional contractor are major causes of improper installation.
For professional services that ensure quality and durability, you can call Eden Concrete Contractors NY, who have over 25 years of experience in the industry.


Don't let a cracked sidewalk crack your wallet! Fixing minor damage now saves you money later and boosts your property value. NYC regulations might seem complex, but ignoring them creates safety risks. Hire a pro to assess the damage and keep your sidewalk safe and stylish.

If you are looking for a professional sidewalk violation repair contractor in New York, then please call 718-819-7770 or complete our online request form.