How to Keep a Concrete Patio or Sidewalk From Sinking

Save

Many homeowners choose to install concrete sidewalks, walkways and patios in and around their homes. Concrete sidewalks and patios offer a stable, long-lasting area to walk, entertain or relax. Some concrete patios and sidewalks sink, crack and become otherwise unstable because of improper ground preparation and concrete installation methods. Concrete sidewalks and patios can also sink from installation on soft soil. Preventing sinking keeps the sidewalk or patio from becoming unlevel and incurring damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Vibrating plate compactor
  • Post-hole digger
  • 2-by-4 inch lumber
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Concrete
  • Wheelbarrow or trough
  • Dig out the area for the patio or sidewalk with a shovel and compact the soil with a vibrating plate compactor. Soft soil areas benefit from tightly packing the soil to get rid of air pockets; air pockets lead to settling. Compressing the soil tightly provides a stable base for the concrete to lie.

  • Dig 6 inches below the frost line with a post-hole digger. Tamp the base of the hole with a 2-by-4 piece of lumber. Add 4 inches of a sand and gravel mixture to the bottom of the hole and tamp the gravel to compact it tightly. Mix concrete with water in a wheelbarrow or trough. Pour the concrete into the hole until concrete fills the hole. Allow the concrete to set for 72 hours before continuing with the sidewalk or patio installation. Dig and fill holes with concrete every 18 to 24 inches throughout the sidewalk or patio field beginning 4 to 6 inches from the edge of the patio or sidewalk.

  • Add 4 inches of a gravel and sand mixture to the base of the compacted sidewalk excavation or 6 inches of a gravel and sand mixture to the base of a large patio to provide adequate drainage under the concrete structure. Water flowing under a concrete patio or sidewalk causes erosion that leads to a sinking sidewalk or patio. Run the vibrating plate compactor over the sand and gravel mix to compact the ground further under the concrete. Avoid compacting over the concrete support piers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Metal support piers are also available to help keep a concrete patio or sidewalk from sinking. Typically, metal support piers require professional installation.
  • Wear a dust mask, gloves and eye protection when working with concrete.

Related Searches

References

  • "Masonry"; Time Life Editors; 1977
  • "Masonry and Concrete"; Creative Homeowner Editors; 2009
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • How to Repair Sinking Concrete Without Breaking Up the Slab

    Concrete is a building material made from Portland cement, water, sand and gravel. It is known for its versatility, affordability and ease...

  • How to Build Concrete Piers

    Building an outdoor deck is a popular home-improvement project. Many homeowners that undertake this job may wonder the best place to start....

  • How to Repair a Settling Sidewalk

    A settling or sinking sidewalk is not only unattractive, but it can also be dangerous. Guests approaching your home can trip on...

  • How to Repair a Sinking House

    Being a homeowner comes with many challenges. There constantly will be repairs needed and new issues to be dealt with. The house...

  • How to Keep My Paver Sand in Place

    Rows of properly installed brick pavers provide a low-maintenance, durable outdoor surface. After installing pavers atop a base of gravel, you must...

  • How to Install a Concrete Sidewalk

    A concrete sidewalk provides a smooth surface for foot traffic, bikes and transporting equipment without taking attention away from gardens and landscaping....

  • Why Is My Walkway Sinking?

    Landscape materials are subject to all sorts of weather conditions. In cold areas, constant freezing and thawing can degrade even the hardest...

  • Outdoor Sink Ideas

    An outdoor sink can be both decorative and useful. You can recycle old cast iron sinks into accent planters for your garden,...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!