How to Repair a Walkway

Put an end to the cracking and crumbling with these step-by-step instructions.

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If your walkway offers something less than firm footing, tear it up and start over with a fresh layer of concrete. Here's how to do it:

Materials and Tools:

shovel
pick ax
flexible plastic siding
wood stakes
power drill
screws
scrub brush
mild bleach solution (to clean stones)
water hose
concrete mixer
several 1-by-4-inch boards
trowel
hand brush
wire brush
rubber mallet
mortar (for step areas)
small pointed trowel

Steps:

1. Excavate the walkway by pulling back the grass that has grown over the stones. Carefully remove the stones and reposition them as they were in another part of the yard. Continue to remove stones and sod, setting aside large chunks of sod to be used later as backfill for the poured walkway.

2. Dig a trench along both sides of the walkway to prepare for concrete. Continue to reduce the level of the dirt so that the entire walkway is several inches deeper.

3. Create a form by using flexible siding along both sides of the path. Drive stakes in behind the siding and secure the siding to the stakes with a power drill and screws. Be sure to drive the stakes below the top edge of the plastic siding so that when you're leveling the concrete, the screed won't be impeded.

4. If you're reusing the stones, clean the dirt and debris from them with a scrub brush and a mild bleach solution. Use a water hose to rinse the stones of mud and bleach. You want the stones to be clean and free of loose dirt.

5. Mix the concrete according the manufacturer's suggestions. Concrete should have the consistency of mud-thick but easy to spread. For a long path, it's advisable to pour concrete in sections. Pour the first batch into the path area and spread it.

6. Keep each section separate by dividing with a 1-by-4 board and stakes. Use another 1-by-4 as a screed to level the first area. Rest the screed board on the plastic forms and, using a sawing motion, pull the board slowly toward the end of the section.

7. Lay the first stone near the foot of the steps to begin stone placement. Set the stone into the concrete by stepping on it and wiggling it in. Continue to place stones, filling the gaps by placing smaller stones among the larger ones. Use a trowel to add or remove mortar to ensure even placement of the stones.

8. Once the concrete begins to cure, use a damp brush to add a rougher finish to the surrounding concrete so that it isn't so smooth and slippery when it dries completely. Use a wire brush to clean off the concrete on the edges of the stones. Continue this process for the entire length of walkway.

9. For steps that can be repaired, thoroughly remove and clean the stones and add mortar to the base. Embed the rocks in the new mortar and set in place with a rubber mallet. Fill any cracks with additional mortar and a small, pointed trowel.

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