Building a concrete paths..

Pour concrete paths advantages.

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Building a concrete path.

 

Because concrete installs as a liquid and cures to a hard durable solid, it adapts easily to any design. You can pour it in gentle meandering curves or in a straight formal configurations. Modern concrete techniques such as stamping,  coloring, texturing, and embedding with aggregates, can create a dazzling path walkway surface.

 

 

 

 

Pour concrete paths advantages

·         Unlimited design potential

·         Requires little maintenance

 

Pour concrete paths disadvantages

·         Requires careful planning and on large projects some heavy equipment.

·         Installation is hard work and requires careful preparation. Large projects require helpers.

·         Concrete has to be worked within specified time limits.

 

            How to install concrete paths

 

·         1.    Remove sod then excavate. Install forms, pour, and finish.

How to estimate concrete

·         2.    Determine the volume of your path, and add 5%.

·         3.    A 40 pound bag of pre-mix makes 1/3 cubic foot- a 60 pound bag, ½ cubic foot, and an 80 pound bag, 2/3 cubic foot. A 4+20 foot walk 4 inches deep requires 26 2/3 cubic feet of concrete, about 1 cubic yard, 27 cubic feet.

 

 

 

 

Design tips for your concrete path

You can easily plan concrete projects on paper, concrete will conform to any contour and width. Include the stamped pattern or aggregate design on your plan to get a sense of proper scale. With such details even the sidewalk that leads to the trash containers will look attractive. Include all the details on paper before pouring, you won’t be able to make changes after you start.

 

  Building concrete paths

 

1.     Excavate . Dig the path to a depth that will accommodate a 4 to 6 inches gravel base and 3 to 4 inches of concrete. Just how much of each material you need will depend on local conditions and how the surface will be used. Most walks hold up well with 3 inches of reinforced concrete.

 

2.    Make the forms. Install 2+4 forms, drive stakes into the ground along the layout lines, setting them so they will be flush with or below the final form level. Then fasten the forms to the stakes with 2 ½ inch screws. The forms not only contain the concrete, they also act as guides for screeding it level.

 

3.    Add gravel. Bring gravel to the site by wheelbarrow, and spread it as level as possible with shovels and garden rakes. Then wet it down and pack it with a power tamper or a plate compactor.

 

 

 

 

          Pouring the concrete path.

 

1.    Bring concrete to the site by wheelbarrow or truck. Fill the forms, working from the farthest  end of the path to the mixing site. Pour the mix in piles next to each other, spreading it with shovels and making sure it fills all recesses. Try to get the piles about an inch higher than the forms so you won’t  have to move as much concrete to level it out. Work the concrete in sections of about 5 feet.

Than consolidate or settle the concrete by jabbing a shovel or 2+4 up and down in it. Make sure the mesh stays center, pulling it up with a garden rake.

 

2.    Screed the slab. Once you have filled a 5 foot section pull a screed board, a straight 2+4 across the surface of the concrete to level it. Screeding is best done with two people seesawing the board back and forth, pulling it across the surface of the path and keeping it in contact with the forms at all times. If the screed  rides up over the concrete back up a little and start again. Repeat the screeding after filling in any depressions.

 

                 Finishing your concrete path

 

1.    Concrete finishing needs to start right after each section has been screeded. Float the surface. Floating levels the concrete and forces the aggregate below the surface. Most paths are narrow enough to reach from one or both sides with a wooden darby. Move the darby  in overlapping arcs, keeping the leading edge slightly raised as you smooth the surface. Use light pressure and stop when water appears on the surface.

 

2.    Make control joints. Control joints are grooves cut in the surface of the concrete. They create a place for stresses in the slab to make cracks below the surface not on top. From control joints at intervals equal  to 1 ½ times the width of the walk every 4 ½ feet for a 3 foot walk. Lay a straight 1+4 perpendicular to the path, use it as a guide to scribe a line in the concrete with a pointed trowel. Set the jointing tool in the line and place the 1+4 against the edge of the tool so you guide the jointer along the line. Run the jointer back and forth, keeping the leading edges raised.

 

               Applying the final finishing

 

Final finishes add interest to your slab, but you have to work quickly before the concrete sets up. Have one of your crews begin finishing a section while other sections are still bring poured and screeded. You’ll know the slab is ready when the water sheen disappears, but if there is still water on the surface when the concrete begins to set, sweep the water off and begin the finishing.  The concrete should cure for five to seven days before you use it. The trick to curing is to keep the slab from drying out too quickly. Cover the slab with plastic.

Applying a broom finish

Use a course, stiff bristled broom, pulling it toward you. Work in sections without overlapping.

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