Your backyard can get a real beating down on a regular basis. Kids are always chasing each other through it. It is a really high traffic area. And as a result of that, the grass is always left unkempt. Not only does it look bad when it rains, the area pretty much turns into a muddy mess and then the house turns into a disaster. To solve that problem. You can install a sidewalk on it. The skills you learn from this article will be useful later on, if you need to learn how to repair concrete like a pro.
It’s really not that hard. Before you begin your sidewalk, you need a reference point, which is a stake right by the patio. Because you want the sidewalk to come up and join the patio. Everything that you do from now on will be measured from this point. So you need to make sure that the stake is flush with the patio. Use this line level to make sure that you don’t have any water problems.
Put the screw in the top of the stake so that you can attach the line level and take it down to the other point. Now you need to attach the level to the stake and tie it off. You want to make sure that you give it a good tight pull before you actually tie it. This makes sure that the sidewalk is going to slope away from the patio. You don’t want any water to backwash onto your patio and possibly cause foundation problems.
Next thing to do is to measure the width of the sidewalk. Then place a stake about every three feet down to the end. But first, let me show you this. We have a sprinkler system, and since we’re going to be working with concrete and walking through here a lot, I sure don’t want to take a chance of messing up my sprinkler system. So what I’ve done is taken some cans and cut them in half. You should do the same.
And all you need to do is put them over the sprinkler heads and then they’re safe. What you’ll need to do now is mark your stake so that you know how far down to dig to lay your form before you pour your concrete. Using the level you want to pay attention to your string, make sure that you don’t let the level rest on the string and push it down, because if you do, that throws the angle of your sidewalk off.
Putting pressure of the level against the backboard will help hold the level in place. Pay attention to your bubble. You don’t want this to be perfectly centered because again, you need your water to run away from the house. So make sure the bubble is slightly off about right there and then make your mark. It’s a good idea to wear back support when you know you’ll be lifting heavy materials, you can find this anywhere the helmet drugstore’s or any of the local home centers, and they do make them for men or women.
This way, you can get good support in the lower back and won’t be injuring yourself. Now, let’s dig. It’s ideal if you have an electric jack hammer. It comes with several different attachments. Put the shovel attachment on there and you’ve got an electric shovel.
Now, we’ve just finished digging out the first segment, and then put in an expansion board there in the back that’s level with mustering. What you want to do now is go back with a level and make sure that the form is where it needs to be. Remember, again, you need that slight slope in the sidewalk so that the water runs away from the house.
Now what you need need to do is attach the form to the stake. Before you pour the concrete, put the stake right here to give the form extra support so that the weight of the concrete doesn’t blow out your form and result in an uneven edge.
Expansion joints are great because they allow your concrete to either expand or contract during different types of weather, but another good thing about them is it gives you a stopping point in case you’re not able to finish the job all in one day. You can either come back to it today, tomorrow, next week, and you’ll be fine.
For concrete, you can use the type that has special reinforcing fibers in it, which simply means all you need to do is mix it up with water and pour it right in over the dirt. You don’t have to go to the extra expense of laying down a metal rebar and it saves time. But once it dries, you know that it’s as strong as if you did have the metal rebar and it will last a long time.
Once you get it mixed up good, you’re ready to pour it. Use a two by four to work the concrete down, this will eliminate any bubbles or stones that may be on the top. All you need to do is place the two by four on top of the forms and then just slowly work it back and forth all the way to the end.
What ‘s next is to use a tool to give the sidewalk a nice corner finish. Also what it’s doing, it’s separating the sidewalk from the forms so that after it’s dried in, you can remove the form and there will be no damage to the sidewalk.
Now we’re almost finished, the last step is to use the trial to smooth the finish of the concrete. But, you know, sometimes it can be difficult to get a really smooth finish using the trial. And besides all that, if it is really smooth when it rains, it can be slippery. So to offset that problem, use a broom gently to give it nice little grooves. This is giving it just enough of a texture so that it won’t ever be slippery as soon as you’re finished.
All you have to do is let it dry.
This can be a big project, and may take you a couple of days to finish digging out the area and pouring the concrete. Then you let it cure for weeks so that it would be nice and hard. Now, the last thing that you need to do is take out the forms. Luckily, that’s the easy part. You can use a pry bar and a hammer. Just put the ball right in between the sidewalk in the form and give it a couple of taps with a hammer to loosen it and then just work the form so you can get underneath it. And then it comes right up like that. And now just do it all the way around and then we’re finished.
This was a pretty labor intensive job, but it is worth it. Now, if you have a more complex project in mind and need the help of concrete professionals, don’t hesitate to contact Sunny Desert Concrete.