Whether you want to build an add-on to your home or construct a concrete patio, you may wonder if you’re able to do so with an easement on your property.
You may not even be aware that you have an easement.
All properties, except for rare circumstances, have an easement of some type.
We’ll help you understand what a property easement is and if you can concrete over it.
Can You Concrete Over An Easement? (Everything To Know)
Yes, you can concrete over an easement.
The consequence of choosing to concrete over a property easement is that you may need to destroy the project later.
Understanding what easements are and why you don’t actually own all your property is important if you can build over easements.
What Is A Property Easement?
There are two owners of your property.
There’s the dominant estate and the subsidiary estate.
As a homeowner, you are the subsidiary estate.
As that estate, you own most of the property of the lot that you purchased.
You’re able to build a home on the lot, put in pools, build decks, and lay concrete over the land.
However, the other estate, the dominant estate, owns certain sections of your land.
They’re called property easements.
There are several different types of easements.
How the dominant estate uses the easement depends on the type that it is.
The most common type of property easement is a utility easement.
The second most common type is a sidewalk easement.
There are also two main dominant estates that own sections of your land.
The first is the government.
They may use easements for the public good, green spaces, or even view protection.
The other is utility companies.
There can be others who can own property easements on your land, but they usually need permission from you beforehand.
What Is A Utility Easement?
The most common type of easement falls under the category of a utility easement.
It’s a section of your property where utility lines and pipes can go.
Before someone builds a home, the local utility company parcels off part of the land for themselves.
Every home needs utilities like sewer, water, and even internet service.
Those utilities require pipes, power lines, and gas lines to bring the service to the home.
Once the plans to build the home are in place, utility companies can choose an area for their utility easement.
This is an area that takes up the least amount of space on the lot and provides an efficient path to the nearby street.
After the construction is over, the utility company can install their pipes and lines in the property easement they own.
It gives them the right to dig up your property in that area to service and maintain their pipes and lines.
If you want to concrete over this easement, then you should first contact your local utility company.
They likely won’t argue with you, but they will give you a warning.
If they ever need to access your utility lines, then they’ll need to remove the concrete.
That could carry a huge expense with it.
The utility company may pay it if you’re lucky, but you’re likely going to have to carry the bill.
It also means you’ll have to concrete over the area again when they’re done.
That’s another bill to pay.
The good news is that utility companies rarely need to access their easement unless something is wrong with their pipes or lines.
Still, it’s a risk to concrete over a utility easement.
What Is A Sidewalk Easement?
A sidewalk easement is a part of the lot that’s reserved for the installation of a sidewalk.
Properties that are part of an urban and suburban neighborhood usually have this easement attached to them.
Even if your home doesn’t have a sidewalk, you may still have one attached to your property.
It’s there in the event that you ever decide to have a sidewalk installed on your lot.
Sidewalks help to keep pedestrians safe on their walks.
Many homeowners choose to have one installed as a service to their community.
Although some aspects of sidewalk maintenance are up to the homeowner, like keeping them clear of snow, actual maintenance of the sidewalk is up to the county.
That’s who likely owns your sidewalk easement, but it might also be a third party.
If a problem ever arises with the sidewalk, then the dominant party will send someone to fix it.
The easement gives them the right to gain access to your property to service the sidewalk.
You may wonder if you’re able to concrete over a sidewalk easement.
Concreting over an existing sidewalk can be problematic.
It may make some pedestrians think that they can walk on the concrete.
Because sidewalks fall under the regulation of local counties, you should consult with your county beforehand.
They may have special rules attached to concreting over existing sidewalks.
You can concrete over a sidewalk easement that doesn’t have a sidewalk installed on it yet.
Again, some pedestrians may mistake it for a sidewalk and use it.
You’ll also need to tear the concrete down if you ever decide to install a sidewalk on your property.
What Is A Driveway Easement?
Another type of easement is a driveway easement.
As its name might suggest, it’s part of your lot that’s reserved for the construction of a driveway.
A common way that homeowners create this easement is when they decide to split their land into lots.
On larger lots, a homeowner might decide to split the lot in half and rent the second lot out to another family.
They’ll need a driveway easement to connect the second lot to the street.
The creation of a driveway easement is through a deed.
The deed will state that the two parties can share the driveway to a certain point.
When the driveway turns to reach the second lot, the primary homeowner gives an easement to the renter of the second lot to use the driveway.
That means they’re allowed to drive their cars down that section of the driveway, but they’re not allowed to drive it down the part of the driveway that the primary owner uses.
The deed can also include other regulations like who has the right-of-way if both cars drive up or down the driveway at the same time.
In this case, the primary homeowner who chose to split the lot in two owns the driveway as a whole.
They give the renting family of the second lot ownership of the driveway easement that links their home to the primary driveway and street.
Concreting over this easement is possible.
If you never intend to split the lot, then you only need a driveway easement from your home to the street.
You may even decide that you want to concrete the driveway easement to create your driveway.
That’s legal and fine to do.
What Is A Dead End Or Beach Easement?
If you live on the beach, then you likely have a beach easement on your property.
This easement allows people to gather on the edge of your property if the area is public.
It keeps you from telling people to leave if they’re using the public beach area.
Pedestrians are able to walk on the edge of your property to gain access to the beach.
Some may even be able to use it as a shortcut.
The easement ensures that you’re unable to block their access to the public beach.
You can’t erect or plant anything that will keep them from reaching the public area.
You can plant or erect something on the edge of the easement to block your view of them, however.
You can concrete over the easement as long as it doesn’t interfere with their ability to reach the public beach.
You may want to create a patio that overlooks the beach, for example.
That’s acceptable as long as the patio doesn’t cut off traffic to the beach.
If it does, then you’ll need to remove it once the county becomes aware of the situation.
What Is A Conservation Easement?
This type of easement is growing more popular as cities and counties take action to preserve the environment.
They establish green areas to help soak up the carbon dioxide in the region.
You may live next to a green space.
If that’s the case, then you may have some difficulty concreting over it.
Concrete destroys greenery like grass, trees, and other plants.
It’s something you may be able to get away with if the concrete resides solely on your property.
However, if it enters the green area, then the county may ask you to remove it.
Before concreting or a conservation easement, you should first speak with your county.
They can give you clear instructions on what you can and can’t do with this type of easement.
What Is A View Easement?
One final type of easement is a view easement.
This is a relatively new easement that is gaining traction as more homeowners come to care about their views.
Certain homeowners who rent parts of their home or their entire home to vacationers, for example, have an interest in controlling the view from their home.
To protect the view, they may place a view easement on the properties around them.
A view easement is a type of easement that prohibits homeowners from building more stories or planting large trees.
The goal is to prevent the blockage of their view.
This is important for homes that have incredible views of forests, beaches, and even city skylines.
If a neighbor blocks their view, then it may impact their rental business.
Because a view easement can impact whether you can build a second or third story on your home, you should determine if your property has a view easement on it.
When it comes to concreting over a view easement, you still can do it as long as the project isn’t vertical.
A concrete patio, for example, shouldn’t be a problem with a view easement.
If you’re making a vertical structure made out of concrete, however, then you may face some problems.
How To Concrete Over An Easement
There are a few steps you should follow to concrete over an easement.
This can check your bases and ensure you don’t need to tear down the project later.
Step 1: Locate The Easement
One of the first steps to take is to understand where the easement is on your property.
Determine its length and width and if it has any depth to it.
You may only end up concreting a part of it.
Step 2: Contact Easement Owners
You need to determine who owns the easement and ask them about concreting over it.
In most cases, it’s going to be your local utility company or your county.
It’s a good idea to receive written permission from them to concrete over the easement.
They can also give you tips to make the job easier.
If there’s a risk of tearing the project down later, then they’ll also warn you about the consequences.
Step 3: Prepare Land
Once you have your permission, you can start preparing the land.
Flatten the area where you want to pour the concrete.
If you’re concreting over a utility easement, then you want to be careful how deep you dig.
Going too deep can expose the utility lines and pipes.
Step 4: Pour Concrete
After the land is ready, you can start pouring the concrete over the easement.
Follow the instructions on the label or hire a professional to ensure the concrete cures the correct way.
Step 5: Consider Making Access Points
Because you don’t own the easement, it’s a good idea to make access points to it for those who do own it.
Not all projects can support access points, but if you can install them, then you can decrease the chance of needing to remove the concrete later.
An example is a sidewalk easement.
If you want to build a concrete patio on the location of the sidewalk easement, then you may choose to pour concrete along the edge of the patio.
That edge may turn into a sidewalk later.
It gives pedestrians the sidewalk they need and allows you to keep your concrete patio.
Step 6: Finish The Project
Once the concrete is in place, you’re able to finish the project.
If it’s a patio, then add some outdoor furniture or a fire pit.
If it’s an addition to the house, then it’s time to start building the walls.
Can You Concrete Over An Easement If You’re Building A Pool?
You can concrete over an easement if you’re building a pool.
The process can be difficult if you need to tear out the pool later.
Building an above-ground pool made out of concrete or with a concrete deck is easier than a below-ground pool made out of concrete.
The deconstruction process will cost less.
The complexity also depends on the type of easement that you want to build the pool on and concrete over.
A utility easement, for example, is complex.
Building an above-ground pool on it is a better option than an in-ground pool.
An in-ground pool needs to be deep.
Pouring the concrete that deep may bring it too close to utility lines.
The utility company may not allow it.
If there’s a problem with your utility lines or pipes, then the company will need to destroy the pool to access them.
You can bulldoze an above-ground pool with ease.
You have to dig out an in-ground pool.
While it’s possible to concrete over an easement to build a pool, it can be an extremely costly thing to do if there’s ever a problem with the easement.
How To Find Out If You Have A Property Easement
There are a few ways you can determine if you have a property easement and its location on your property.
The first is to determine whether your home has utilities or not.
It’s likely that you do.
If your home has sewer, water, internet, or electricity, then you have utilities.
The presence of utilities means you have a utility easement.
You can contact the utility company to determine the location of the easement.
It’s going to be where they buried the pipes and lines.
Another way to find out about property easements is to speak to your county.
They have records and documents that show the easements on your property.
They’ll also disclose who owns them.
Finally, you should speak with your neighbors.
If you share a beach with them, then they likely have similar property easements as you.
They may even have a private easement on your property that they established with the previous owner.
Speaking with them can help you become aware of where the easements are and who owns them.
It’s possible to concrete over an easement.
There are several different types of easements, and each one determines how difficult or complex concreting over one may be.
Speaking with your local county, utility company, and neighbors can help you determine the location of the easements on your property.
Consider this information when you plan to concrete over an easement on your lot.
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