Garden paths, concrete walkways, do-it-yourself

Cast concrete tracks have a number of advantages, they can be made with your own hands and directly in place, such tracks are easy to keep clean in winter and summer ...


Concrete garden path
This article discusses the option of making a pedestrian walkway with your own hands, where the track is cast from concrete sections.

Foundation preparation


To start making tracks from concrete, you need to markup. We mark the track, hammer the pegs and pull the cord around the perimeter. Next, you need to prepare the base of the track, the so-called (pillow).

reinforcement for concrete
If your soil is not strong, then you need to select the top layer of soil, then, preferably, lay a geotextile in the trench, over which sand is poured, carefully compacted and wetted. Crushed stone can be used laying it between two layers of sand.

Geotextiles are used to separate the bedding layers with the soil and prevent mixing of the lower layer with the upper one. It is also necessary to take into account that the track should be above ground level, this will save the track from being flooded during heavy rain or snowmelt, since concrete constantly in the water can delaminate after a certain number of seasonal cycles of freezing and defrosting. We fill the sand in a trench to ground level.

Formwork


Next, you can do the formwork. Formwork is best done from the board, which is attached to the pegs at the edges of the track. Also, you need to remember about the slope of the track, the slope can be from edge to edge (hump) or one way, normal, it is considered a slope from 0.5 cm to 2 cm per 1 m.

So that the track does not crack, it must be separated by expansion joints.

Therefore, it is advisable to divide the track into sections every meter and a half, separation can be done using metal or hard plastic (direct trim from siding is perfect).

If you will remove the separator after the solution has dried, it is advisable to pre-lubricate it before installation (for example, silicone grease, or car mining), as well, the separator can always be left in the plate, putting it before pouring, flush with the guides.

Reinforcement


To stiffen a concrete track, it is advisable to use base reinforcement. The following can be used as fittings: a “chain-link” grid, pieces of wire, various metal elements, old water pipes, etc.

It is advisable to lay the armature so that it appears in the middle of the body of the concrete slab, it is not advisable to lay it directly on the ground, to hang up the armature, you can use special clamps to hang out the armature, or the knitting wire from which it is made like legs, with which the armature hangs in the air.

If reinforcement is used in the manufacture of the track, then the thickness of the concrete base can be made smaller. If the reinforcement is not used, the thickness of the plate must be increased to 15 cm or more. , and reduce the size of the sections to 1 meter.

The strength of the cast slab depends on the brand of cement, reinforcement and the size of the section of the slab itself, the smaller the area of ​​the concrete section, the more guarantees that it will not burst due to seasonal soil fluctuations or mechanical stresses.

Single-layer reinforcement does not give a full guarantee against cracking, but in any case it protects concrete from breaking up into fragments.

And so, the formwork is done, it is desirable to lay the bottom of the formwork with polyethylene. This measure will protect against moisture penetration into the soil from the solution, and accordingly, will prevent the concrete from drying out quickly. The formwork is ready, the film is laid, the fittings are laid, the dividers are inserted, now you can prepare the solution.

Solution preparation


concrete preparation
For the preparation of the solution, it is better to use a cement grade of at least M500, the solution can be prepared at the rate of 1 part cement to 3 parts sand, or 1 part cement 2 parts sand and two parts of medium gravel.

To improve the positioning (laying) of the solution and reduce the volume of water, many use special additives, and frost-resistant and hydrophobic additives in the solution will increase the track's service life.

The mixture is diluted with water to obtain a thick and plastic consistency. The main thing to remember, doubling the amount of water (water-cement ratio) reduces the grade of concrete by 5 times.

It is difficult to distribute a very thick (greasy) solution in the formwork, very thin (skinny) in the process of drying can crack. You can prepare the solution in a portable concrete mixer, who does not have a concrete mixer, and if the volume of concrete surface is not large, you can use a powerful puncher with low speeds and a mixer nozzle for granular mixtures.

When preparing the solution, the dry mixture is poured into water and mixed to a homogeneous consistency, with mechanical stirring, the strength of concrete is much higher than when manually mixed with a shovel.

In the preparation of concrete, the addition of fiberglass and water-repellent additives may not be out of place. Also, it is worth remembering that the addition of crushed stone to the solution will significantly contribute to the strength of concrete.

The distribution of the solution in the formwork


To evenly distribute the solution, without special vibrators, with small volumes, you can use a spatula or any convenient object that vibrates the concrete mass, with a little tapping on the reinforcement or formwork, the mass will lend itself to better compaction, which eliminates the formation of voids in concrete.

Concrete laying, distribution
For the final alignment of the top layer, you can use the rule or a flat board, relying the rule on the wooden edges of the formwork and drawing the rule along the track. Concrete pouring is best done in stages, from the separator to the separator.

The solution is poured, after which it is better to cover it with polyethylene, this will save the solution from erosion by rain and prevent it from drying out quickly, the longer the solution keeps moisture in it, the stronger the finished product will be.

The day after pouring, until the mortar has finally risen, if desired, a pattern imitating fragments of limestone stone can be applied to the concrete path. With a screwdriver or other sharp object, the surface of the not matured solution is cut, the depth and width of the slot should be at least 0.5 mm.

Subsequently, soil will accumulate in the seams, which will create the illusion of individual fragments of chipped stone.

Throughout the entire drying time of the concrete, it is desirable to moisten the track.

Separators can be carefully removed the next day, walk carefully along the track after 3 to 4 days. Formwork can be removed on the 5-6th day. Full formation of concrete 21 days.

To give shine to a concrete path, it can be treated with special impregnations or polished.

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