Many people have concrete driveways or patios in their homes – they’re a common sight as they provide many benefits when properly installed. However, unlike other types of ground surfaces, concrete walkways must be installed carefully to avoid damage to the surrounding areas. There are several steps involved in preparing for and installing a concrete walkway so that it can provide the expected benefits.
The Steps Involved in Creating a Concrete Walkway
1. Inspect the Surrounding Areas
The first thing you should do before installing a concrete walkway is to assess the area that will be paved. The ground surface around the walkway must be solid enough to support the weight of a concrete slab. If loose or uneven areas are around, you should fill them up first before installing the concrete walkway. Also, broken ground surfaces can cause cracks in your new walkway, so you should fill in as many of these as possible.
2. Take Proper Measurements
Before installing a concrete walkway, you must first measure where it will be placed. This way, you can ensure that the walkway is long enough and wide enough to accommodate all the people who will use it. You should keep the total width of your concrete walkway at the ground surface to at least 6m for cars and 4m for trucks. A concrete slab width of 0.5m or 1m is usually recommended to accommodate moderate or heavy traffic passages.
3. Remove Trees and Bushes
Most concrete walkways are installed on properties with direct street access. This means that there are likely to be trees and bushes nearby. Consider removing these plants before installing your walkway so it can be well-lit.
4. Lay Down a Base Layer of Mortar on the Ground Surface
Once you are sure of the measurements and the ground surface of your new concrete walkway, you can start to lay down a layer of mortar. You should pour a layer of mortar on the ground surface and spread it to form a smooth base. The thickness of this layer should be between 5mm and 10mm. The thickness of your layer depends on the condition of the surrounding ground. For example, if you are installing your concrete walkway on an old ground surface that has been used for a few years, you will have to lay down a thicker layer of mortar to bind the new concrete walkway to the existing ground. Make sure that no large stones or other foreign objects are mixed into the mortar when you spread it over the ground.
5. Lay Down the Concrete
After you have laid down a solid base layer of mortar, you can start to lay down your new concrete walkway. Make sure there are no cracks in the slab you are laying on first. Lay down a layer of concrete slab at least 18mm in thickness for a standard walkway. Make sure that the seams between the slabs are well sealed so that water cannot get into the ground surface, or it can cause your walkway to crack. Also, ensure no cracks in your slab before laying it down.
6. Smooth the Slab and Apply a Waterproofing Layer On Top
Smooth any imperfections in the concrete slab before applying a thin waterproofing layer on top of it. You should wait 24 hours before applying this waterproofing layer on top. The waterproofing that you use for your concrete slab should have a minimum of 40 microns thickness. Follow the instructions provided with the waterproofing substance to know how much to apply on the slab. This will be very important if your slab is used as a parking area, outdoor deck, or outdoor seating.
7. Apply a Layer of Grout and Smooth Down Any Imperfections
Your concrete walkway will not become a solid barrier if you only leave it as it is. You have to seal the pores of the concrete to ensure that water cannot get into it. You can do this by applying a layer of grout on top of your concrete slab. A 5mm or 10mm grout layer is usually enough for a walkway slab, and you can apply it just like your waterproofing substance.
A Job Well Done
Sealing cracks in your concrete slab will keep your walkway from becoming a breeding ground for water and microbes. You can also rely on cement to bond the concrete to the surrounding soil so that it can last for a long time. However, this only sometimes happens as it will depend on how much moisture your slabs absorb. Concrete companies can play an essential role in this process. They ensure that the concrete is well sealed and thoroughly cured before putting it on the ground. It is also advisable to hire professional concrete companies to do this work. The price to install a concrete walkway will usually vary depending on the size and quality of concrete slabs that you are installing.