Sidewalk Replacement: 6 Tips

When sidewalks are badly cracked, when they have heaved, or when they are simply disintegrating; sometimes a sidewalk replacement is the only answer. When it comes to this kind of replacement, you will need information about both the removal of these sidewalks and about their construction. Check the tips below for this information.

1. Breaking up the Sidewalk

You obviously are not going to lift the entire concrete sidewalk when you need to load it and carry it away. not even if you have a front end loader. You'll need to first break it up into pieces. The most efficient and least time consuming, although not the least expensive method, is to use a jackhammer. You can rent one at a local equipment rental store. Keep in mind when reting a jackhammer that you'll most likely need to rent an air compressor also. When breaking up the concrete, be sure the broken pieces are small enough to be picked up.

2. Concrete Removal

Unless you have a place in your yard where you can deposit the broken up sidewalk pieces, you'll need to carry them away. You should arrange this in advance. Some development sites accept landfill, such as concrete pieces. Failing to find such a site, you can usually haul them to your county landfill. In addition to renting a backhoe or front loader to pick up and load your concrete, you'll also need a large truck. Unless you concrete sidewalk is very short, you'll need something larger than a pickup truck. Remember, concrete generally weights about 150 pounds per square foot.

3. Construct Your Form

You'll need a form to create slat edges for your new sidewalk. Make these forms from two inch by four inch planks supported on their outer sides by wood stakes pounded into the ground and nailed to your planks.

4. Lay Your Base

Before laying your concrete, you'll need to lay your base. This will require that you have a space approximately 12 inches below your proposed sidewalk surface. Of this space your base of gravel or crushed rock will take up four inches, a layer of sand on top of the gravel will use another two inches, and your concrete will occupy the last four inches. Use a long carpenter’s level to ensure that your base is level.

5. Tamp Your Base

Your sand and gravel base will lie somewhat loosely and will need to be tamped down so that your concrete doesn't settle when it has been poured and hardens. Before tamping, wet the sand down with water. Then tamp it with a compactor. You can also make a hand-held tamper by attaching a flat one inch by five inch board to a two inch by four inch one.

6. Pouring and Finishing Your Concrete

Pour your concrete into your form and tamp it to remove air bubbles. Use a trowel to smooth the surface. Make section joints, roughen the surface with a broom, and allow time for it to set.