If you’re thinking about having a concrete sidewalk poured outside your home or around your property, you may be wondering how thick the concrete should be. The answer depends on the walkway’s purpose, but concrete sidewalks are typically four inches thick. Let’s take a deeper look at exactly how thick your concrete walkway should be.
The Exact Thickness of Your Concrete Sidewalk
As we mentioned, a four-inch thick concrete sidewalk is the average. This thickness supports foot traffic and light equipment, such as bicycles, scooters, strollers, and hand carts. A walkway of this thickness will last a long time under normal conditions.
If your walkway needs to cross the end of your concrete driveway or support motorized vehicles, the concrete will need to be poured extra thick — around six to eight inches. This will prevent cracking and buckling under heavy objects.
Why Thin Walkways Are Bad
A walkway that is less than four inches thick will be prone to cracking and buckling, even if you add reinforcements. A concrete sidewalk naturally expands and contracts based on the outdoor temperatures (which is why walkways are made with control joints). A thin sidewalk cannot withstand these temperature changes, as well as a thicker walkway. It also cracks more easily under the weight of frequent and heavy traffic.
How to Reinforce a Sidewalk
Most concrete sidewalks do not need to be reinforced, but you can have reinforcements added if you need your walkways to be extra strong. Two of the most common ways to reinforce the concrete are wire mesh and rebar.
If your walkways need to be reinforced, your contractor will likely use wire mesh for your 4-inch thick sidewalk. The mesh prevents cracking and buckling and could be a good solution for strengthening your walkway instead of paying for a thicker layer of concrete.
Rebars are steel bars that are used under walkways that will be supporting heavy trucks and machinery. The sidewalk outside your home will most likely not need to be reinforced with a rebar because the concrete is strong enough to handle normal traffic and use. Reinforcing a general-use sidewalk with rebar is not only overkill, but it can also complicate sidewalk repairs since repairs involve removing and replacing the damaged area.
Preserving Your Concrete Sidewalk
The thickness of your concrete walkway affects how long the pathway lasts. If it’s too thin, it’ll crack and break easily. The best way to ensure your concrete sidewalk is the right thickness is to hire expert contractors to install and repair the walkway.
At Capital T Construction, our contractors are licensed and experienced in front steps and concrete walkway installations and repairs near Paramus, NJ. For more information, reach out to us today!