How to Pour a Concrete Sidewalk: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to pour a concrete sidewalk. In this tutorial, we will provide you with all the necessary information, tips, and best practices to help you create a professional-looking and durable concrete sidewalk for your home or property. Let’s dive into the process!

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Tools and Materials Required

To ensure a successful project, gather the following tools and materials:

  • Measuring tape
  • Stakes
  • Mason’s line
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Wood or metal forms
  • Carpenter’s level
  • Hammer and nails
  • Concrete mix
  • Water
  • Concrete float
  • Edger
  • Trowel
  • Broom
  • Curing compound
  • Expansion joint material
New concrete sidewalk

Preparation: Planning and Layout

  1. Determine the path of the sidewalk: Outline the desired path for your sidewalk, considering factors such as foot traffic, accessibility, and aesthetics. Remember to account for any obstacles, slopes, or drainage concerns.
  2. Measure and mark the area: Measure the length, width, and thickness of your planned sidewalk. Mark the perimeter using stakes and a mason’s line.
new concrete sidewalk Portland

Excavation and Ground Preparation

  1. Excavate the area: Dig out the marked area to the required depth, typically 4-6 inches below the finished sidewalk level. Ensure that the base is level and compacted.
  2. Prepare the subgrade: Compact the subgrade to provide a stable and even foundation for the sidewalk. Add a layer of gravel or crushed stone for improved drainage, if necessary.

Forming the Sidewalk

  1. Set up forms: Install wood or metal forms along the edges of the excavated area. Ensure that the forms are straight, level, and properly supported by stakes. Leave space for expansion joints every 4-5 feet.
  2. Prepare for concrete pour: Apply a release agent to the inside of the forms to prevent the concrete from adhering. Install any required reinforcement, such as wire mesh or rebar.
concrete sidewalk

Mixing and Pouring the Concrete

  1. Mix the concrete: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the concrete. Aim for a consistency that is easy to work with but not too wet, as this can weaken the final product.
  2. Pour the concrete: Starting at one end of the sidewalk, pour the concrete into the forms. Use a shovel or rake to spread the concrete evenly, filling all corners and voids.
  3. Level and consolidate: Use a straight-edged board, such as a screed, to level the surface of the concrete. Move the screed back and forth in a sawing motion while pulling it across the forms. Use a concrete float to further smooth the surface and eliminate any low spots or imperfections.
concrete sidewalk by eternal rock
concrete sideweak portland
concrete sidewalk by eternal rock
concrete sidewalk
new concrete sidewalk

Finishing the Concrete Sidewalk

  1. Edge the concrete: Run an edger along the inside edges of the forms to create a clean, professional-looking border. This also helps prevent chipping and cracking along the edges.
  2. Apply surface texture: For a non-slip surface, use a broom to create a light, uniform texture across the surface of the concrete. Sweep the broom in a consistent direction for a cohesive appearance.
  3. Cut control joints: To prevent random cracking, cut control joints into the concrete at intervals equal to 2-3 times the slab thickness in feet. For example, if your sidewalk is 4 inches thick, space control joints every 8-12 feet. Make sure the joints are at least 1/4 of the slab thickness deep.
concrete sidewalk

Curing the Concrete

  1. Allow initial set: Give the concrete time to set and develop an initial hardness. This usually takes 4-6 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity.
  2. Apply curing compound: To ensure proper hydration and strength development, apply a curing compound to the surface of the concrete. Alternatively, cover the surface with plastic sheeting or wet burlap to maintain moisture.
  3. Cure the concrete: Allow the concrete to cure for at least 7 days before exposing it to heavy foot traffic or other loads. During this time, avoid any actions that could damage the surface, such as dragging objects across it or using harsh chemicals.

Removing Forms and Cleanup

  1. Remove the forms: Carefully remove the forms once the concrete has fully cured. Use a hammer and pry bar to gently release the forms from the concrete without causing damage.
  2. Backfill the edges: Fill in any gaps around the edges of the sidewalk with soil or landscaping materials. This helps support the concrete and provides a finished appearance.
  3. Clean up: Dispose of any waste materials, and store your tools and equipment for future use.


Congratulations! You have successfully poured a concrete sidewalk. By following this comprehensive guide, you have created a durable, attractive, and functional addition to your property. With proper maintenance and care, your new sidewalk will serve you well for many years to come.

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