Building a concrete path
While a graveled walkway can have a quaint appearance and feel, and is the best for certain architectural style, sometimes, a concrete walkway installation may be better. Like a concrete walkway next to driveway to minimize the amount grass, leaves and general dirt inside your car.
For a homeowner that is considering a concrete walkway installation, there are many concerns and questions. Like, how do you prepare the ground for concrete? A concrete walkway installation will provide you a lasting walkway with these steps:
- The Path Placement : Determine the location and size of your concrete walkway installation project. Using wooden stakes and string to outline it then use paint to draw the pattern on the ground. So, can you lay concrete on dirt? Keep reading to find out.
- Excavate: With the plot outlined and marked, it is time to excavate. Dig down eight inches and remove any debris along with all the grass and roots. Next tamp the soil down to flatten it for the base. Then add four inches of gravel and tamp it until it is flat and level.
With the preparation done, how do you build a concrete walkway?
- Build the Form: Anytime you’re pouring concrete, you need a form to hold it in place. For this project, use 1″ x 4″ boards that are 4’ long. This will be the side forms for your concrete walkway installation. Next, drive wooden stakes every 4 feet along the string for the length of the walkway. Then attach them to make the forms for the walkway sides. Drive the wooden stakes down the path at four foot spacing, placing them just outside the planned pathway. Attach 1″ x 4″ boards inside the wood stakes using screws. This create the concrete form! All the boards should be level and plumb to each other, and the wood stakes should be lower than the form boards.
- The Concrete: For a DIY project like concrete for walkway, pre-mixed concrete is recommended. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing. Start at the lowest point for the concrete walkway installation, pour the mixed concrete into the form and move upward. Level the concrete roughly with the back side of a garden rake immediately when the pouring is completed. Then level and smooth while the concrete is still pliable with a 2”x4” board.
Do you need gravel under concrete sidewalk?
When pouring concrete for a patio or a walkway, experts recommend having a strong gravel base when preparing the ground. This will prevent the concrete from cracking or shifting, especially when there is clay soil. Clay soil doesn’t drain like other soils and without a gravel base, water will pool under the concrete walkway and erode, causing the concrete walkway installation to crack and shift.
How long does a concrete walkway last?
With normal wear and tear, a concrete walkway installation can last up to twenty-five years or longer, under ideal setting, a concrete walkway installation has been known to last as long as 80 years. The things that can factor in the longevity of a concrete walkway installation includes:
- The quality of the concrete
- The thickness of the concrete
- Use of mesh or reinforcing bars
- Use of a sub-base
- Tree roots
- The weather
Things that can make a concrete walkway installation fail:
- A poor base soil.
- Lack of or poor sub-base preparation.
- Tree roots causing cracks and displacement.
- Heavy vehicle traffic
- Insufficient thickness
- Lack of reinforcement
Which is better, a concrete walkway, cement walkway? The materials that make up cement is calcium and silica-rich materials, like clay or limestone. The distinctive adhesive properties of these materials make a superb binding agent. However, cement cracks easily.
Where cement and concrete are alike, there is cement in concrete, making the two materials similar and are confused together. Adding water to a cement mix makes a paste, add gravel and sand, and you have concrete. Concrete is a durable material and will last centuries where cement isn’t as durable and very susceptible to the environment.
Perhaps your concrete walkway installation has gone well and you’re ready to venture into something bigger and more complex, like a concrete walkway and stairs. The concrete walkway installation will remain the same, the stairs will take more preparation, or are wooden steps easier?
When cost is a factor, wooden stairs are the less expensive and the easier option to build. While concrete steps are about the same in cost, and you can purchase ready-make steps of standard dimension will take more work. Perhaps going with stone steps are an option, but the cost is higher because they are made from cut materials and then they need to be stabilized.
Regardless which way you go, with or without steps, DIY concrete steps or ready made steps, the end results will be one you can enjoy for years. Call 254-716-8685 today for your concrete walkway needs in Waco and Temple, TX.