Sidewalks are a critical part of urban environments, and according to ADA accessibility guidelines, they should be provided on all urban streets. They are also associated with higher property values, and if your business does not have one, laying down a sidewalk isn't just a one-step process.

Concrete can be tricky to manipulate without the right combination of materials and equipment, so here are just a few ways the pros achieve a professional finish with concrete sidewalks.

Know the Safety Precautions

Pouring a concrete sidewalk isn't a job that can be stopped and then restarted easily, so first and foremost, the pros always check that the site is conductive and safe for the pour.

This includes contacting local departments to learn about permitting and building setbacks and checking with the local call before you dig line to identify if there are wires or pipes.

Professionals also ensure they have the appropriate equipment like heavy work boots, long pants, gloves, safety glasses, and long-sleeved shirts to protect their skin and eyes from the wet concrete.

Outline & Mark the Space

Knowing the size and form is another critical part, and in the best-case scenario, the ground will be level, so there's a flat sub-base, and you get an even pour.

Once the site has been picked out, the area needs to be measured and marked, and this can be done with flags or string and stakes, and various colors can be used to identify areas with different functions from others.

Get the Site Prepared

The site prep can be intensive, and the slab needs to be at least 4 inches thick, so 4 to 6 inches of soil will be removed. Any odd-shaped or sized stones, sticks, twigs, or other obstructions are taken out, and a leveler is used to ensure the ground is completely flat.

Make a Frame & Subbase

The standard is to use 2x4 lumber with duplex nails and create a form around the perimeter of the work site.

If the section is curved, the plastic concrete form can be used to manipulate the concrete into specific shapes, and the gravel sub-base is laid down for extra support.

Get Mixing & Pouring

While DIY might hand mix the materials, professionals use a construction-grade mixer concrete supplier to deliver the mix for the perfect finish.

The concrete is poured into the form until it reaches the top edge, and special concrete rakes and shovels are used to move the concrete around until it’s spread evenly.

Finishing

Once the surface is smooth, a large metal or wood board is used to screed the top to help smooth it out, and a float compacts the concrete even further. While most sidewalks have a smooth or broom finish, if there's any texturing or stamping that needs to be added to the design, this will happen at this point in the process.

While there are some quick-drying options, on average, the sidewalk stays marked off for at least one to two days before light foot traffic can access it. A car can drive on it in 7-10 days.

Need Commercial Concrete Services in Minnesota?

As you can see, pouring concrete is not a simple process and takes the right experience and tools for a professional finish. For over 25 years, our team has been providing exceptional concrete services in the Twin Cities area, and we're experts in everything from personalized stamped concrete patios to concrete sidewalk construction.

Requesting a quote is just a click away, or you can reach out to our New Brighton office at 612-414-7932 to schedule your appointment.