How Long Do Concrete Sidewalks Last
What happens to concrete sidewalks once they start wearing down over time? Are they completely replaced, or can they simply be repaired?
Concrete sidewalks provide a durable surface for walkers and cyclists. They also serve as important barriers between roadways and pedestrians. Unfortunately, these surfaces are vulnerable to wear and tear from foot traffic and excess water. Over time, cracks form, and pavements begin to deteriorate. As a result, sidewalk repairs become necessary.
Concrete sidewalks last much longer than asphalt ones. In fact, concrete sidewalks typically last at least 20 years before requiring repair. This means that property owners should plan for future maintenance costs. However, a long-lasting sidewalk path is not just made using standard concrete, property owners need to consider the soil types, chemicals, and the entire base where the concrete forms. Defective curbs often show a benign appearance and property owners are not often aware that certain situations, like cool weather, cause damage to sidewalks.
The Rule of Thumb in Constructing a Sidewalk Path
When building a sidewalk path, it is best to use a 2-inch thick layer of compacted gravel. The gravel will help protect the underlying concrete from damage caused by foot traffic. It will also allow water to drain away from the concrete.
If you live in an area with heavy rainfall, you may consider using a thicker layer of cement to gravel. If your city has a high volume of pedestrian traffic, you may need to install a thicker layer of gravel to prevent cracking and maintain a nice appearance. Concrete with bleed water causes cement paste to occur and disrupt the finishing process.
If you have a lot of snowfall, you may want to add sand to the mix. Sand helps absorb water and moisture and prevents ice buildup on the concrete. If your area is susceptive to cool weather, you might consider adding natural sand base to maintain a nice appearance for your sidewalk.
There are a lot of requirements when creating a level surface, curb ramps, and control joints on a private property. You have to consider all these when constructing a strong sidewalk path, particularly if the climate in your area is not cooperative. You can create a long-lasting sidewalk with a good-looking surface and intricate details you want with fresh concrete and structural soils.
Expansion Strips for Your Concrete Slab
Sidewalk edges made out of concrete slabs require expansion strips to keep them level. These strips are installed along the edges of the slab so that it does not buckle when exposed to extreme temperatures.
Property owners can purchase pre-cut expansion strips from most home improvement stores. You can cut them yourself if you have a circular saw.
A simple way to make your expansion strips is to take two pieces of wood and attach them with screws. Then, place the resulting strip across the top edge of your slab.
A more permanent solution would be to build a wooden frame around the perimeter of your slab. Once this is done, you can lay the expansion strips inside the frame.
Adequate Soil Volume to Avoid Damaging Street Trees and Maintain Curb Appeal
In order to avoid damaging street trees and maintain curb appeal, homeowners and business owners must ensure enough soil volume beneath your sidewalk as well as the perfect soil type.
This is especially true if you live in an urban environment where tree roots tend to grow deep into the ground. If you do not have adequate soil volume, you could end up causing damage to nearby trees.
To determine how much soil volume you need, measure the depth of your existing soil. Add 10 inches to this measurement to account for the thickness of your concrete slab.
Once you know how much soil volume you need, dig a large hole to accommodate this amount. Afterward, fill the hole with dirt and tamp it down firmly.
Next, pour some concrete into the hole and let it harden. When the concrete has hardened, remove the excess dirt and replace it with another layer of concrete.
After the second layer of concrete has been set, repeat the process until you reach the desired height of your sidewalk. This can help with your curb appeal upgrade, prevent tree root damage, and maintain your concrete surface to avoid sidewalk damage.
Different Forms of Cement Surface for Your Sidewalk
Different forms of cement surfaces are available for your sidewalk in a residential or commercial property. Some are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, while others are meant to look nice.
For example, you can choose between a smooth or textured finish. A smooth finish looks great but tends to wear off quickly. On the other hand, a textured finish lasts much longer.
However, you cannot simply apply any type of cement surface to your sidewalk. The type of cement used depends on the climate where you live. For instance, if you live in a cold region, you should use cement with a higher percentage of Portland cement.
On the other hand, if you live in an area where summers are hot and dry, you should opt for cement with a lower percentage of Portland cement. This will help prevent cracking and peeling.
The best way to find out what type of cement surface is right for you is to contact your local building authority. They will be able to tell you which type of cement is suitable for your location.
Sidewalks are one of the most important parts of any home. It’s vital that they are well-maintained so that they last as long as possible despite harsh weather. That's why property owners should be knowledgeable about the different forms they can utilize.
If you notice cracks in your entire sidewalk, you might want to consider repairing them. Cracks can develop when your sidewalk is exposed to extreme temperatures.
When this happens, water can seep through the cracks and freeze at night, particularly in places with cold climates. As a result, the ice expands and causes the crack to widen.
You can easily fix these cracks by applying a sealant to the affected areas. You can also make repairs using mortar. To do this, mix equal amounts of sand and cement together. Then, spread the mixture over the cracked sections of your sidewalk. Once it has dried, apply additional layers of mortar until the entire section is covered.
In addition to repairing cracks, you can also add new material to your sidewalk. You can either buy pre-made bricks or create your own from scratch. If you choose the latter option, you will first have to prepare the ground.
You will need to dig up a small portion of the existing soil to do this. Next, place the prepared soil into a wheelbarrow. Finally, mix the soil with water until it becomes a thick paste.
Once the paste has been set, you can start adding it to the cracks in your sidewalk. Make sure to keep the mixture moist, so it sticks to the cracks. When you’re done, let the mixture harden overnight before applying another layer of mortar.
Once all the cracks have been repaired, you can finally lay down some new concrete. To do this, you will first have to cover the entire sidewalk with plastic sheeting. Then, pour a thin layer of cement onto the plastic. After this, wait for the cement to dry completely.
Finally, remove the plastic sheeting and apply a second coat of cement. Wait for the cement to dry again before removing the plastic once more.
Concrete Sidewalk Costs
As mentioned earlier, there are different types of cement surfaces available. Each type comes with its price tag.
For example, if you use cement containing Portland cement, you will pay around $20 per square foot. On the other hand, if your choice is cement without Portland cement, you will only pay about $10 per square foot.
However, even though you may not see much difference between the two options, the quality of the cement is significantly better than Portland cement. This means that you will get a longer lifespan for your sidewalk.
The cost of sidewalk repair depends on the size of the area that needs to be fixed. For instance, if you have a large patch of cracked concrete, you will likely spend more than if you had just a few small cracks.
The average cost of fixing pedestrian sidewalks varies depending on the surface used. However, if you opt for concrete made with Portland cement, you should expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 per square foot.
If you decide to repair your sidewalk yourself, you will save money. In fact, you could spend less on concrete sidewalk costs than what you would have paid if you hired a professional contractor.
However, if you want to avoid dealing with the mess left behind after the job is finished or worsening the damage to sidewalks, you might consider hiring a professional contractor.
When choosing a contractor, look for one who offers free estimates. Also, ask them how long they have been in business.
If you live in an older home, you might find that your concrete driveway and sidewalks are already crumbling. As such, you might want to think twice before replacing them. Instead, you should focus on improving your property's overall appearance by repainting the house's exterior.
This way, you will not only make your home more attractive, but you will also make it easier for potential buyers to envision themselves living there.
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