Step on a Crack, Break Your Mother’s Back

Two weeks ago, I got called to pour some concrete for a new section of sidewalk. It wasn’t a huge deal, and I like to work with concrete. I think it’s cool.

Sidewalk Cracks

We intentionally put cracks in our work — are we crazy?!

You might’ve seen this before when dudes are setting up to put in a sidewalk. You first have to measure and set up a wooden frame to go around where you want to pour the concrete. Then you mix up the concrete and pour.

When we make sidewalks, we also put cracks in them. I’m sure you’ve noticed these cracks before. Every couple feet is a break, indent, or crack in the concrete.

Why do we put cracks in sidewalks?

Because concrete, like a lot of materials, expands and contracts when the weather changes. So no matter what you do, over time that concrete will crack and break apart on its own. Instead of having that happen destructively or in bad locations, we put a crack in the concrete, a weak point. So when the concrete expands and contracts, it will crack exactly where we want it to — in the weak spot that we made.

Ever seen a walkway without pre-made cracks? They usually are all bumpy and buckled and cracked everywhere. Not always easy to walk on because it’s not cracked and shifted in set places.

Next time you’re on a sidewalk, look into the pre-made crack, often you can see that the concrete down there has cracked — right where we wanted it to. Although some places use fancy stuff to try and cover up the sidewalk cracks we make, and if you live by sidewalks like that, well, come out to where the rest of us live and check ’em out!


Step on a Crack, Break Your Mother’s Back — 25 Comments

  1. Pingback: Weekend Business and Financial News | Freedom 35 Blog

    • Yeah, many driveways have the cracks in them too, of course, a lot don’t as well and you can see the cracks form in them. Sucks I didn’t get to you sooner, man!

  2. Yep, and water gets through those cracks and can start making the slabs sit uneven. This was happening on our driveway to the point that when I was shoveling, I almost separated my shoulder a couple of times pushing the shovel into a section that was just raised enough to cause it to catch. Last year we had the driveway evened out, then had the cracks filled with sealant which prevents the water from getting under the slab in those spots. So far everything has stayed even! We got lucky, though, some people in the sub have had cracking a lot worse and are past the point where sealing would work.
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  3. I have done a lot of flat work and usually when you are just about done the neighborhood kids want to walk in the fresh concrete ………also I am almost 61 and I still do not step on cracks…I skip and hop if I have too…

  4. Our concrete doesn’t crack as soon as it must in other parts of the country, because it rarely drops even down to 32 here. But my driveway is a maze of cracks…I think because previous owners drove heavy equipment onto it. Oh well. Gives the place character.

    In back, though, here’s a problem: The Evil Devilpod Tree has shot its roots under the ginormous slab that is the back patio, which is coated in KoolDeck stuff. It hasn’t cracked yet (that I can see), but the accursed roots have lifted the slab just enough that it no longer drains away from the house. Water backs up where it’s not welcome.

    Is there any way to fix that? The Devilpod Tree was cut down, but I couldn’t afford to have the stump removed, and…well…it’s undead. As one would expect of a Tree from U-No-Where. It still seems to be putting out roots.
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  5. I grew up in the northeast. Our sidewalks were made of pieces of slate…the cracks were between the pieces. Part of my mind does not even see a sidewalk when I look at poured concrete with lines in it – it looks too fake…lol.

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