Landlord Worried About Broken Sidewalks, Finds Permanent Fix With Cold Mix

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Few words send chills up the spine of landlords like “premises liability.” This is an area of personal injury law that enables an injured party – renters, guests of renters, even delivery people – to sue the owner of the property for failure to provide a safe environment. Every day, there are 25,000 slip, trip and fall accidents in the U.S., which account for 21 percent of all ER visits, according to the National Safety Council.

So what could lead to such accidents and the possible lawsuit to follow? Broken sidewalks, rotted steps and slippery, just-mopped floors are among them.

But just because something like a sidewalk has a few chipped up, loose or otherwise deteriorated sections should not require a complete reconstruction of that walkway. The labor and materials involved could costs many hundreds and even thousands of dollars, which is not something most property owners relish in a time of significantly-reduced real estate values.

This landlord found a creative solution in EZ STREET cold mix asphalt. The product comes in 35 and 50 pound bags, which are handy to keep on premises for times when needed. It also requires no messy mixing or heating. You literally can use a garden shovel or a small hand trowel to drop the asphalt into cracks and holes (remove loose debris with the same trowel and maybe a broom before filling).

From there, it’s a simple matter of tamping down the mix, which can be done easily and gently with a sledgehammer and flat board or any other heavy blunt object. In areas of heavy traffic, such as a frequently-used driveway, leave a slightly raised crown so that the car can tamp it down further. But a flush-finish is safest where only human foot traffic is involved.

Did it matter that the do-it-himselfer was repairing concrete with asphalt? No, this cold mix asphalt will adhere just as well to adjoining concrete as it would other hard surfaces. Aesthetically, it might be appear different (doesn’t that one crack look a little like a map of Italy?). But compared to the gaping cracks and weeds that were previously growing there, it’s a marked improvement. And no lawyer can say you neglected the safety of the sidewalk.

concrete sidewalk pothole patch

The repair in the photo took less than 20 minutes to do by an inexperienced, non-professional.

The repair was done in the waning days of a Chicago summer – anticipating the snow shovels to scrape this pavement a few months down the road. But what if a hole or crack opens up during the winter? This brand of cold mix asphalt works in all weather conditions, and can even be pressed into place in standing water.