2 Tips For Installing A Concrete Sidewalk

Posted on: 3 June 2016

Business owners with a basic understanding of concrete work often choose to perform tasks like putting in a new sidewalk on their own. Yet even if you have a firm understanding of the fundamentals, you may find the results less than satisfactory if you don't arm yourself with a few additional tips. If your commercial landscaping plans involve installing a new sidewalk on your property, read on. This article will present two helpful things you may not know about working with concrete.

Cut your control joints before the concrete gets too hard.

Once poured, your sidewalk will form one continuous river of concrete. While it may be tempting to simply leave that concrete the way it is to dry, this tactic will surely leave you with less than desirable results. You see, during the drying process, water inside of the concrete will be evaporating, thus causing the concrete to shrink. This leads to the formation of cracks, as sections of concrete pull away from one another.

To keep such cracks from marring the aesthetic appearance of concrete, it is customary to cut so-called control joints. These regularly spaced grooves help limit the formation of cracks. There are two ways create control joints. The first involves using a circular saw to cut through the semi-hardened concrete the day after pouring. Though this method is quite common, it results in both more work and a greater mess.

Instead, plan to cut your control joints while the concrete is still wet. To do this, you will need only a straightedge--an appropriately long 2x4 works great--and a hand tool known as a concrete groover. The groover is drawn perpendicularly across the surface of the sidewalk. When purchasing a groover, bear in mind that it should be sized so as to create grooves of a specific depth. This depth should be approximately 1/4 the thickness of the concrete sidewalk

Get the right finish by using a push broom.

Using a metal trowel is a wonderful--and attractive--way to finish indoor concrete. Yet troweling your sidewalk can end up causing unintentional problems. That's because the finish it creates is simply too smooth, meaning the sidewalk won't provide enough traction. This increases the chances of slipping and falling, especially in the winter when ice is present.

A much better way to finish outdoor concrete is with a broom. This method provides traction, while also helping to hide any imperfections present in the surface of the concrete. When broom finishing a sidewalk, take care that your broom strokes are parallel to the slope, if one exists. This will help encourage water to drain off of the sidewalk, rather than pooling up. Talk to a landscaper, like Excel Commercial Maintenance, for more ideas about sidewalks and hardscaping.