Proer Procedure for Building Concrete Walkway

Old 06-15-07, 05:55 AM
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Post Proer Procedure for Building Concrete Walkway

I would like to know the proper procedure for building a 3 1/2' x 61' walkway. A concrete contractor bidding on the job informed me that expansion joints and remesh are no longer used or recommended when building a concrete walkway which will only make the individual sections rise unevenly when frost is present. The contractor stated that the new procedure involves the use of 3500 psi concrete with special fibers in it that prevent cracking and strategically placed 1" construction grooves made with a hand tool which will allow the concrete to crack on the construction groove, without causing the sections to rise unevenly because of frost. Is this true and which method should be used?

Last edited by DACR2000; 06-15-07 at 05:59 AM. Reason: Title Should Read Proper Procedure for Building Concrete Walkway
Old 06-15-07, 07:54 AM
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Proer Procedure for Building Concrete Walkway

Expansion joints were never used in concrete sidewalks. Control joints can be sawed (much cleaner) or formed with a tool. They control where the cracks form.

The choice of wire mesh or fiber is up tp you. If it was something more significant than a sidewalk with many joints, I would go with wire mesh.

If this is a public sidewalk, you should check with the city/county to see what their requirements are.

Since you apparently are in a colder climate, you should use air entrained concrete for durability. This is normal for concrete exposed to freezing.

The 3500 psi is adequate. Many areas use higher strength concrete.

Old 06-16-07, 04:53 AM
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The confusion is just a matter of terms. Most folks call the sawcut or tooled joints "expansion joints" when in reality they are contraction or crack control joints. Expansion joints are a different animal and have no bearing in this instance.
The fiber will not keep the different sections from cracking and/or heaving. It is used a lot to control micro-cracking, but has no real structural value as far as reinforcement goes between sections. I use it in conjuntion with rebar, which will certainly tie the different sections together to prevent differential heaving/settling. If one section heaves or settles, the next section has to go with it because of the rebar, so it eliminates potential tripping hazards.
The contractor's assertion that the joints need to be at least 1" deep is right on.
If your concern is differential heaving/settling, use rebar or wire mesh (make sure it's pulled up into the middle of the slab for effectiveness. It does no good laying on the bottom of the slab). If your concern is cracking, use anything or nothing at all, because it will crack regardless. However, it should crack in a joint. Good luck.


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