A concrete sidewalk will provide you a nearly maintenance free walkway for your home. A concrete sidewalk is safer to walk on, and easier to keep clear of debris. It’s somewhat challenging but can be done by the do-it-yourselfer with some tools and a few friends.
Here’s how you can do this on your own:
Step 1- Place Forms
You will want to start by placing sidewalk forms in the area you are going to install the walkway in. The standard width for service walks is two feet, and four week for main walkways.
Be sure to set the forms to run parallel at a height that is consistent with the height of any existing walkways. This will prevent people from tripping over a change in level.
Step 2- Place Bulkhead
Set a bulkhead at the end you will start working on. This is so you can pour the concrete amount you are comfortable working with when you are ready. This is especially useful if you are using ready made concrete since it will produce less waste.
Step 3- Prep the Area
Remove any sod and dirt to a depth of at least two inches deeper than the depth pf the walkway. The extra space will give you what you need for the sand. Use your tools to compact the ground so that any loose dirt won’t cause sinking or cracking later down the road.
Step 4- Mix and Pour the Concrete
Concrete can be very cumbersome to work with. This is where the help of some friends will come in handy. You will need to create a slope of at least 1/8 inch per square foot if you are building a walkway near any structure. This helps with drainage.
Mix and pour the concrete in to the forms. It’s best to use a concrete material that is not a quick dry formula, especially if you are working with a larger area. You will need to work the concrete to get it level.
Step 5- Dealing with Edges
You will want to use an asphalt joint material at any points where the walkway will come in to contact with other bodies of concrete. Driveway edges, patio edges, etc, will all need this compound for added strength.
Step 6- Finishing It Up
Cut control joints for every five feet of length. You can create these with a concrete groover.
Step 7- Allow Time to Cure
Your sidewalk now needs time to cure. You will want to stake off the area so unsuspecting people won’t walk through it. Depending on the type of concrete used and the size of the sidewalk it will take anywhere from 24-72 hours before it can be walked on. The edges of driveways that will bear more weight may need longer. Check with the instructions provided by the manufacturer for specific dry and cure times.