Wednesday, January 5, 2011

City Sidewalks

When it came around to doing the sidewalk in front of the house, many options came to mind. Being that it was a brick building, the first thing that popped into mind was a brick walkway, perhaps in a herringbone pattern, but matching old bricks get tricky, not to mention what vintage bricks cost. Another thought was cobblestone, but there was nothing style-wise to tie the cobblestone to. Looking up and down the block, I saw mostly uneven blacktop. Even if it formed a consistent look along the street, I couldn't picture asphalt sidewalks 100 years ago, so I refused to have anything blacktopped .

Considering form, function, and budget, we laid a cement sidewalk. Cement was the most durable option we had being that slate or stone is more susceptible to the elements and traffic. If they are not cemented in place, water (snow or rain) seeps in  in the colder months, that water freezes, slowly dislodges the stones over time. If the stones are cemented into place, the mortar tends to wear away and then you still have the problem of the stones being displaced.High foot traffic also displaces these walkways over time. The biggest factor we considered was what was the best when it came time to start shoveling snow off of the sidewalk.

 As a small compromise to having a cement sidewalk, we stenciled a brick border around the sidewalk. It wasn't the bricks I wanted, I had even considered inlaying real bricks for the border, but another thing working against us was the seasons changing. It was late fall when we were finally done with anything that had to run underground from the street to the building, and wanted to get the sidewalk in before winter hit.

Laying the sidewalk took a day. With as much cement as we needed we had a truck deliver premixed cement, we'd spend less time and money just going with the cement delivery, not to mention a cement truck is better equipped and has more control than if you were trying to mix it yourself..

 As the sidewalk was done and we were roping off the sections of fresh cement, I was wondering if the smooth finish would survive the night, wondering if I'd find names, drawings or who knows what etched into the cement the next morning. I'm happy to say that nothing was disturbed overnight, and the sidewalk had set just as we left it.


  1. It looks great! Who's doing the work on your house?

  2. All the work was done by my husband, he's the reason everything was doable...