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sidewalk 101

Posted by bc on July 10th, 2000 10:54 AM
In reply to brick or stone sidewalk by Lynn LeJeune on July 10th, 2000 07:11 AM [Go to top of thread]

Here is what I wrote before. Quikcrete has a book for 6 bucks at home cheapo and may have info on their web site.

Sidewalks in my city are 4' wide and 4" thick. Scrape off the grass and sod to below the
root level. A bobcat with a bucket works real good and quick at this. Make it 4.5' wide
so you can get your forms in. It is better to go a little deeper than leave vegitation under
the concrete. Lay out and level your forms on each side with stakes about every 3' or
so. Nail the 2x4" forms to the stakes and then level the forms by driving the stakes with
your hammer. Nail the stakes so they are below the edge of the forms so you can
screed the concrete later. Use a 2x4" blocks 4' long as spacers to check the width of
the forms as you go. Allow your sidewalks to slope a 1/4" per foot in the direction away
from the house. Use expansion joints whereever you butt up against existing concrete
such as the house foundation, driveway, or other sidewalks. I would also put an
expansion joint every 20' or so of sidewalk you pour although I have seen people pour
50' without doing it.

Fill the sidewalk with a layer of sand to bring it up to the 4" deep level. Take your 4'
block, trim off a .5" to pull easier, then nail a half inch spacer and a 3/4 inch stake onto
each end so the stakes stick over each side of the forms and the 2by fits down in the
forms. Pull it down along the forms to level the sand. It would help to run a compactor or
tamp the sand/ground for compaction purposes but not everyone does it. Then lay
6"x6" remesh between the forms. You could also use 3 rows of 1/2" or 5/8" rebar with a
cross bar tied every few feet for a more stronger walk. Spray your forms with diesel so
they don't stick to the concrete.

If over a half yard, order a cement truck with at least 3000# cement. Run it between the
forms pulling the remesh so it is halfway up. Stroke the concrete with a shovel to get
any air pockets out and tap on the side of your forms with a hammer to avoid a rough
edge. Site down some 2x4's until you find one 5to6' long with a straight edge for a
screed. Shuffle it back and forth on top of the forms perpendicular to the sidewalk
slowly moving in the direction of the pour to level the concrete.

Then bull float the concrete to get a smooth cream to the top(a wood float or
magnesium float will work for small jobs). After a while use an edging tool to do the
edges. Concrete also needs to be cut to make it crack in the right places. The general
rule of thumb is to cut a groove 1/3 of the depth of the concrete which would be about
1.33" for a 4" slab. To get the cut spacing double the depth of the concrete (4+4=8)
then square it in feet (8'by8') so a 4" slab would have cuts spaced every 8 feet and a
5" slab would be spaced at 10'. For a sidewalk I would make a cut every 4' so they look
like squares. You can either come back a day later and cut it with a concrete blade in
your circular saw or else use a v grooved double edger when you do the side edging.

Before the surface gets to hard, use a stiff bristle broom to pull brush marks one broom
width at a time and perpendicular to the sidewalk. The brush finish will make it easier to
walk on in icy areas. I don't recommend steel troweling it to make it slick.

Finally, if you are going to do it this winter, cover your sand/ground so you don't pour
concrete on a frozen surface. Then cover the concrete for a couple days after. Also
have extra stakes handy in case a form gives out during the pour. Good luck.

Length times width times depth. Then divide by 27 when using foot increments. That
will get you cubic yards. Add 10%. Verify with concrete company when placing order.
Good luck.

Sample: 12' by 12' by 4" deep. 12x12=144 x .33=47.52 divided by 27 = 1.76 cu. yd.
Order 1.9 to 2 yards. Think of something else small to make with leftover (patio blocks,
base under downspout, a step, etc.)

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