Building a walkway is an excellent way to create a focal point in your landscaping design. Walkways also increase the definition of your outdoor space and make the area look neater. However, if you have set your mind on undertaking this project, you need to ensure you follow all the correct steps to achieve a near-perfect result. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on building a nice walkway for your home.
Build strong forms and use hardboard for the curves
It would be best to use 2×4s or 2×6s to create strong forms that will not collapse under the pressure of the wet concrete. You should also ensure you place your stakes not more than 3ft apart and pack soil against them if they extend below the ground. We suggest using hardboard for areas where your walkway will curve since it is cheap and flexible.
Ensure stakes are below the top of the forms
We all know that screeding concrete is a challenging task. If your stakes extend above the top of the forms, you will have difficulty using your screeding board to smoothen out the concrete. Take your time to cut off any protruding stakes before you move on to packing the base.
Pack the base
Now that your forms are in place, it is time to install a firm and well-drained base with a plate compactor that will prevent the concrete from cracking. Your choice of the base material will depend on the climate in your area. If you are unsure whether you should use compacted soil, gravel, or sandy soil, we suggest consulting with your local building inspector. It will help you avoid costly mistakes as you build the walkway.
Pour your concrete
The next step would be to pour the concrete into the form on top of the solid base. If you don’t know how to pour a large concrete slab by yourself, there are plenty of nice guides and tutorials online that will show you how to get the job done. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to mix the concrete to get lasting results.
Get rid of air bubbles
If you leave any air pockets trapped against the forms in the vertical surfaces, your walkway will resemble Swiss cheese and become weak. To nip this problem in the bud, grab a 2×4 and use a plunging motion along the forms to eliminate air bubbles. Finish off by tapping the sides of the forms with a hammer.
Float the concrete as soon as possible
Immediately after you eliminate air bubbles through screeding, have someone else use a bull float to flatten the slab’s surface. Floating also forces the heavy stones to move to the bottom, allowing the cement cream to move to the surface. The final step would be to cut deep control joints with a special groover and slightly roughen the surface of the concrete with a stiff broom.
That’s it! Follow the steps above to get a lovely walkway for your outdoor space. Ensure you avoid some common mistakes while building your walkways, such as working alone, ordering just enough concrete, building your walkway during the rainy season, or sprinkling extra water to the surface of the slab. As you work, you should also ensure you wear protective gear such as gloves and long pants to avoid getting burned.