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Concrete Sidewalk Cost Guide

Concrete sidewalks serve a variety of needs for outdoor decor. In addition to defining parts of a yard, they can provide easy access to various areas. Maintenance is minimal, making it easy to place concrete and reduce the need for yard care. Numerous concrete techniques and finishes have been developed and perfected in recent decades, making it possible to achieve beautiful results that add intrigue and value to a property. Deciding on the right features and sizing may vary based on decorative and functional needs along with budget.

Cost of Concrete Sidewalks

  • The minimum cost of concrete is approximately $70 per cubic yard.
  • The maximum cost of concrete is approximately $80 per cubic yard.
  • The square footage covered by a cubic yard of concrete varies based on the depth of the feature to be poured.

Materials Needed for Installing A Concrete Sidewalk

Forms must be used to define the shape of a sidewalk before concrete can be poured. These are usually constructed from boards, and the pricing of the materials can range from $1.00 to $1.50 per linear foot. Metal stakes are used to hold the forms in place, and these can range from $4.50 to $5.00 apiece. Subbase materials may be needed to level the surface on which a sidewalk will be poured, and pricing can range from $10 to $15 per cubic yard. Reinforcement materials that help to limit cracking of concrete range from $0.10 to $0.20 per square foot.

It's important to remember that one of the greatest expenses associated with concrete sidewalks is that of labor. While many homeowners approach outside decor from a DIY standpoint, professional work can be critical for more elaborate sidewalk projects. Labor costs can range from $10 to $40 per hour based on the intricacy and magnitude of the project.

Different Uses & Advantages of Concrete Walkways

While a basic sidewalk is the most affordable choice for homeowners to consider, many are interested in more decorative results. Others are interested in obtaining better use of their outdoor spaces. Advantages to consider in planning a concrete sidewalk include:

  • Border - A concrete sidewalk serves as an excellent means of outlining part or all of a yard. A sidewalk can separate a garden from a play area. It can outline the entire yard to facilitate easy movement around the area.
  • Access - Grassy or rocky areas can be difficult to navigate for those who may have issues with balance or depend on a wheelchair to get around. Concrete provides such individuals with a smoother route for exploring and enjoying the outside areas of a property.
  • Stability - The permanence of concrete makes it possible to pour a walkway that will last for decades, a more stable choice than using pavers or stepping stones that could become loose over time.
  • Decor - Elaborate effects can be achieved at surprisingly affordable rates through the use of techniques like stamping. Colors can be added to the concrete, or stains can be used to create colorful effects. Features such as curves and steps can be engineered into a sidewalk for a more intricate visual appearance. These add enjoyment for those who will use the property, and they can increase property value as well.

Disadvantages of Using Concrete

Because concrete is somewhat permanent, it is important to be certain that the effect is consistent with current and future plans for use of an area. While concrete can be removed, the process is very labor-intensive and can cause damage to surrounding features and areas. It's important to plan carefully for any major concrete walkways.
A poor installation of concrete can produce results that are unattractive. Problems that may be noted include:

  • Cracks - While concrete is often affected by cracks, a poor installation can result in excessive and large cracks that affect the appearance of the finished sidewalk.
  • Uneven edges - Poor setup and finishing can leave edges uneven and ugly.
  • Unlevel surfaces - Poor finishing of the surface can leave a sidewalk unlevel, making it possible for those using the path to trip. It's also possible to experience problems with water drainage after storms.
  • Slick surfaces - Smooth concrete can be slippery and dangerous during wet or icy conditions. It's important to consider this issue in an area prior to installing outside concrete features so that a proper finish can be used to add some grip to the surface.

Special Effects

In planning a decorative concrete sidewalk, it's exciting to consider the variety of finishes and effects that can be used to create a stunning look. Exposed aggregate, for example, adds intricate texture through the embedding of pebbles or other materials. Colorful glass chips can be used to add varied hues. Architectural concrete techniques can be used to add geometric or whimsical detail within a walkway. Stamped concrete effects allow for patterns to be impressed into a surface. Concrete stains can be used to add colorful highlights or artwork. The possibilities are limitless as long as the installer understands the products and processes being used.

It's important to plan carefully prior to ordering materials for a concrete sidewalk project. Additionally, it's wise to complete the clearing of the area for the sidewalk in advance so that measurements can be verified. Because a sidewalk can be a large-scale project, it may be better to order concrete by the yard rather than to mix it in small batches. This will ensure greater consistency in the poured material and finish. However, it will also increase the labor needs for the project. A batch-by-batch solution may be more ideal for a basic sidewalk, especially for the homeowner who needs an affordable approach to the project. 

Last updated on May 23, 2016

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