Pouring a sidewalk can be a difficult project for the beginner, but with a bit of preparation, the job should result in a visually pleasing finished product. Before starting the project, the builder should be sure to have all the correct tools on hand, and the area in which the sidewalk will be poured should be prepped properly. Pouring a sidewalk does not simply involve pouring concrete and letting it set; many steps must be taken to ensure the concrete does not crack, bulge, or otherwise become damaged after only a short period of time.
The soil on which the concrete will be poured will need to be leveled and tamped down flat. In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to place a layer of gravel over the soil to aid in drainage and prevent cracking in the set concrete. For an exceptionally strong sidewalk, rebar can be placed above the soil before pouring a sidewalk over it. This rebar should be suspended a few inches over the soil so it ends up being in the middle of the concrete slab. Concrete tends to have low tensile strength, so the rebar will add the strength the concrete otherwise lacks.
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The concrete used for pouring a sidewalk should be considered carefully as well. It is possible to have a cement truck deliver the concrete already mixed, and the builders will need to work quickly to pour and finish the concrete before it sets. Concrete can also be mixed on site using a portable cement mixer or even a wheelbarrow and hose, though the latter method may not create the best mixture. Concrete comes in a variety of types, and the pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) will have an impact on the overall strength of the concrete sidewalk.
After pouring a sidewalk, the concrete will need to be finished quickly. To buy a bit more time, the builders should work in cooler temperatures, as the concrete will set more slowly. A wood float can be used to even out the surface of the concrete and eliminate bubbles, and a broom can be used to create the final texture of the set concrete. It is important to ensure the surface of the concrete is flat as it sets to prevent water from pooling in any divots on the surface once the concrete hardens.