Replace Your Sidewalk In A Day Using These Tips
Sidewalks are a critical safety element in urban, suburban and rural environments. They provide a dedicated path between street and property for pedestrians. Over time, sidewalks can become damaged and need repair. This is especially true if they’ve been exposed to water or ice for an extended period of time.
Prepare The Area
A well-maintained sidewalk goes a long way toward protecting pedestrians from falls. Sidewalks that are damaged beyond a small amount of concrete – such as hairline cracks or a half-inch or more of crumbling – should be replaced. Likewise, sidewalks that have roots that push up through the concrete and lift panels should be replaced as soon as possible. To prepare for the job, start by digging out the path to a depth of about 6 in. Widen both sides of the paint marks to leave room for forms and topsoil later.
Remove The Old Sidewalk
To properly remove the sidewalk, use a jackhammer and break apart sections of it into manageable pieces that can easily be removed without creating a safety hazard for neighbors. If you don’t have a jackhammer, a hammer and chisel can also do the trick. When you’re finished, dump the broken slab into a rented dumpster or trash receptacle.
Install The New Sidewalk
When pouring a new sidewalk, it’s best to do it when the weather is nice. Otherwise, rain can ruin the concrete and cause it to not set. Before you begin, prepare the area for your sidewalk by removing any dirt or debris. This includes slicing off sod with a sod cutter and digging out the path to a depth of 6 inches. Next, lay down 4 inches of gravel to create a solid base for the concrete. This will help the concrete hold up better in high traffic areas and keep it from moving around too much during the curing process. Once the gravel has settled, pour your concrete and fill in the forms. Level the forms on both sides and space them using a homemade gauge board-just a 1×4 that’s a few inches longer than the width of the sidewalk.
One of the most rewarding aspects of sidewalk construction is the resulting curb appeal. If your sidewalk is in good shape, it’s a surefire way to improve the quality of your property. A new sidewalk will increase the value of your home by up to 10 percent, and can add a nice touch to your landscaping plan. And as you might expect, a sidewalk replacement is no small undertaking. Fortunately, the process is relatively straightforward and should be completed in a single day with minimal disruption to your neighborhood. The only hiccups you’ll likely encounter are finding the right tools and the patience to complete the job. Thankfully, there are plenty of local contractors ready to help you get the job done, so your sidewalk will surely be back on the street in no time!