Concrete Sidewalks Contractor In Houston TX
Sidewalks: Providing Safety and Convenience for Your Customers
Sidewalks have proven safety and foot traffic-drawing benefits, both major priorities for commercial property owners. Because they’re everywhere, it’s easy to discount their value to a property, but data shows that people notice when sidewalks are missing or in poor repair.
According to a National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) survey, pedestrians are more likely to consider their space needs met when sidewalks are present. A Florida Department of Transportation study determined that people are more likely to walk in areas where sidewalks are present. There is also plenty of safety-related data associated with sidewalks, showing their importance in preventing accidents.
As a result, they’re considered a basic necessity for developed properties. Sidewalks, though, should only be installed by an experienced professional, as poor installation will cause early failure.
Three Reasons Why Every Business is Improved with Concrete Sidewalks
Developing a commercial property? If sidewalks aren’t already present, here’s three reasons to add them to your development plan:
- They encourage additional foot traffic to your business – People are drawn to sidewalks, so if your business relies on foot traffic at all, they are essential for routing people to your building.
- They reduce safety-related liabilities – One study, commissioned by the Federal Highway Administration, found that pedestrian-involved accidents were twice as likely along roads without sidewalks, compared to those that did have them.
- They improve your property’s “curb appeal” – Any property without sidewalks appears underdeveloped. It suggests to passersby that the property isn’t being cared for. Sidewalks can also boost a property’s appearance, as they can be colored, stamped with designs, or fitted with decorative objects.
Why Do Sidewalk Installers Prefer Concrete
With rare exceptions, sidewalks are made with concrete. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Durability – Concrete is the most durable paving material available and will last for decades as long as it’s properly installed. Concrete is excellent at resisting compressive forces, and if it’s reinforced with steel, it’s also durable against tension. Concrete also shrugs off most weather conditions without issue.
- Low maintenance – With its durability, concrete requires minimal maintenance to remain in good shape. The occasional sealing and crack repair is usually it as far as maintenance is concerned. This low-maintenance design means concrete is inexpensive to upkeep once installed.
- Traction, both dry and wet – Concrete’s dry and wet traction can be improved with certain finishing techniques. If textured, concrete provides a safe surface for pedestrians, even during heavy rain.
- Water resistance (with sealers) – Speaking of heavy rain, concrete resists water intrusion and damage better than most other construction materials. It does need to be sealed to exhibit this water resistance, but if sealed, concrete is an effective material for curbs, drains and basins.
Of course, concrete isn’t an easy material to handle, especially when tons of it are being transported, poured, leveled, cured, and finished at commercial sites.
How the Professionals Install Sidewalks: A Step-by-Step Overview
Placing commercial sidewalks is a job for the professionals. That’s because it’s an involved process that requires expertise at every step. As for those steps, they include:
- Site inspection and soil sampling – Before any work is done, the pavement contractor will send an estimator to the site to check it out. They’ll inspect the quality of the existing sub-base and take soil samples for analysis. These samples are checked for their chemical composition, as some soils may present stability issues for the concrete.
- Gravel base installation – Assuming the soil is appropriate for construction, the pavement contractor will first lay down a base material where the sidewalk will go. This is a gravel base that allows for better drainage and load-bearing capacity. In most cases, the base will be around a few inches in depth.
- Formwork placement – The formwork acts like a guide for the pavement crew, containing the concrete during pouring and ensuring it cures in the proper shape. In this way, wooden formwork is like a wooden frame.
- Concrete pouring – The concrete is now ready to pour into the forms. It’s poured from a low height to prevent trapped air. Following pouring, the viscous mix is vibrated using a special tool, and this gets rid of any more trapped air.
- Concrete screeding – The concrete will set quickly once it’s poured, so it must be leveled as soon as possible. The pavement team will do this using screeds, which are handheld tools passed over the concrete’s surface to level it out.
- Broom finishing – Sidewalks must provide adequate traction for pedestrians, especially when conditions are wet. Fortunately, it’s easy to impart better traction into the concrete. In fact, it’s typically done with a broom, which is passed over the concrete and creates shallow grooves in the pavement.
- Curing – Now that the sidewalk is poured, shaped, leveled and finished, it’s time for it to cure. The pavement team may add chemical agents to facilitate this process, as curing agents help the concrete retain water for stronger results. It typically takes several days for the concrete to cure enough for foot and vehicle traffic.
- Joint cutting – Soon after curing starts, the concrete will be able to take joints. These joints allow the sidewalk slabs to expand during thermal stress. They also control cracking to an extent, so if the sidewalk does sustain damage, it’s less likely to result in total pavement failure.
There are many more small tasks involved in and between these steps. Given the scope of most commercial projects, an entire pavement team is needed for a commercial sidewalk project.
The American Paving Team Has Experience with Concrete Sidewalks Installation
For experienced pavement contractors, sidewalk installation poses few challenges. The American Paving team regularly places sidewalks, curbs, drainage systems, and other concrete construction for commercial and nonprofit organizations.
Expert pavement crews have seen it all during sidewalk installation and have worked in all conditions. This knowledge is valuable in keeping to project deadlines and budgets. With so much to account for during sidewalk installation, working with an experienced team like American Paving ensures everything is done according to best practices.