Concrete & Cement Walkways for Homes & Businesses
A concrete walkway or sidewalk is regularly considered the main thoroughfare for any home or business. Whether there’s one or a labyrinth guiding pedestrians, these features can be designed and created to work in the background or stand out above all else.
Design Options For Sidewalks
Though gray sidewalks are still common, design options abound for concrete embellishment.
Mixed-In Color & Staining
Colors and stains are a way to give off the allure of a cobblestone walkway, for example, without the expense and labor. Most stains are water-based and become an everlasting part of the concrete, bolstered by reapplying a sealer to the walkway as needed. Your contractor can mix in color to the concrete before pouring.
Concrete Walkway Stamps
The great thing about stamped sidewalks and walkways are the many features that can be used to accent the overall design, including:
· Hand-painted colors and stains;
· Saw-cut and stenciled designs; and
· Unique shapes created with stamps.
The only major maintenance part of a stamped walkway is resealing the surface every few years to slow natural degradation from weather and use. Plus, the frequency of concrete walkway repair is less with stamping as the surface has the appearance of stone pavers, for example, but stays in place during the freeze/thaw cycle.
An appealing feature for using cement stencils to spruce up a walkway is the speed of application, followed by ease of use. Concrete walkway contractors use a range of paper stencils to mask off the area then apply paint or stain. The result is a fresh-faced sidewalk also featuring faux mortar joints mimicking the real thing.
How Can I Protect My Sidewalk From Damage?
Three factors – weather, soil, and care/maintenance – play a large role in damaging your concrete walkway or sidewalk. Weather, especially in areas where the freeze/thaw cycle occurs, erodes and weakens the structure. It also, by extension, causes shifts and settling when soil erosion occurs due to rainfall and runoff.
Another cause is using de-icing chemicals, specifically those with calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate, magnesium chloride, and sodium chloride. These chemicals, according to a 2007 study by the University of Kansas, cause changes in appearance and elasticity to the concrete. Then, soil movements, such as those with nearby construction work, force the concrete to shift and/or settle and create cracks, gaps, and other tripping hazards.
Can A Concrete Walkway Be Resurfaced?
A form of repair is concrete walkway resurfacing but whether it’s appropriate for your walkway depends on the severity of damage. Generally, the area can be resurfaced if visible cracks don’t extend through the depth of the slab. If the issue is spalling, small pits that form when the initial mix uses too much water, then a concrete resurfacer evens the affected area. Then, if desired, stamping or stenciling can be used on the top layer.