Important Facts for a Good Concrete Sidewalk
The key factor in sidewalk longevity is the quality of construction. Even a concrete sidewalk can fail after several years if poor materials are used and good design and construction practices are ignored.
First and foremost, be sure to hire a reputable concrete contractor to install your sidewalk.
- Good compaction and groundwork of the subgrade underneath the sidewalk is vital. The steadiness of the compaction is just as important as the degree of compaction. Even compaction reduces difference clearance of the concrete sidewalk and decreases the accidental crack development.
- Though concrete can be located straight on the subgrade, it’s much improved to place a rough subbase layer between the compressed subgrade and the concrete slab to deliver extra even support and to bond over minor subgrade flaws. This is chiefly significant in areas where the original subgrade soil is vulnerable to contraction due to moisture reduction.
- In warm temperatures, wet curative or the application of a liquid membrane-forming curing compound is desirable to recollect acceptable dampness in the concrete while its strength is emerging. Curing should be begin directly after finishing because the concrete surface can dry within 20 to 30 minutes in sunny, windy and warm conditions.
- To diminish cracking, control joints should be cut into the slab at spacings of about 4 feet diagonally across the length of the sidewalk and to a depth of about one-quarter the slab thickness. Decorative concrete contractors can often incorporate these joints into stamped or stenciled patterns to disguise their appearance.
- Be careful about tree location. The roots of large trees can damage sidewalks by causing uplift of the slab. Once the damage occurs, repairing the sidewalk will require removing the problem roots, which can harm the health of the tree or make it less stable in high winds. A good rule of thumb: Maintain a distance of two sidewalk widths between nearby trees and sidewalk edges. If you want to locate a tree closer to the sidewalk, plant a smaller species. A deep-rooted tree such as an oak or maple will cause less slab uplift than a shallow-rooted tree such as a spruce or poplar.