Pathways do not only add elegance to your home but they also add a sense of direction from your door to your garden or to other parts of your house. Concrete pathways can stay strong and stable for more than 30 years if they were built correctly and if the materials used were of good quality. If you are planning to have your own concrete pathway built, this article will give you tips so that you can make the most out of your money and at the same time achieve the kind of concrete pathway you always wanted.
- Nobody wants to have a concrete pathway that can easily crack, to avoid this from happening, it is important to consider the compaction that is to be made on the ground. The compaction should not only be uniform but the degree of compaction should also be considered. This way, differential settlement is avoided which is the usual cause of cracks. The subgrade must also be prepared properly before placing the concrete.
- Although prepared concrete can be directly poured above the subgrade, it is still advised that a granular sub-base layer be placed in between the concrete and the subgrade. The reason for this is to provide a gap or a bridge in case there are minor defects on the surface of the subgrade. This sub-layer also adds uniform support to the concrete. This technique is very important especially if the concrete pathway will be built in a soil that is at risk of shrinking due to lack of moisture.
- In places where it is cold, newly poured concrete must be protected from freezing for at least 5 days.
- However, in places where the weather is warm, moisture must be preserved by using wet curing method or the application of a liquid membrane-forming curing compound while the concrete is developing its strength. Curing must be done immediately because concrete can easily dry and become hard within 20 to 30 minutes when the weather is sunny or windy.
- Another technique to prevent cracks is by cutting control joints into the slab. Make sure to leave spaces of about 4 feet transversely across the length of the concrete pathway and a depth of about one quarter of the thickness of the slab. These joints can be hidden by incorporating them with stamped concrete or stencil patterns.
- When building concrete pathways, you must also take into consideration nearby trees. Roots of large trees can cause the slab to lift and crack the concrete. In order to repair this, removal of the roots that are causing the problem is needed. However, doing this can make the tree unhealthy and there is also the possibility that it can get uprooted during storms or strong winds. The best way to address this problem is to avoid them. Make sure that you a lot a distance of at least two concrete pathway widths from trees. Or, if you want to provide shade in your pathway, plant trees that do not grow too big.