How to Use a Concrete mixer?
What's the Best Type of Bagged Concrete to use for a Walkway?
“If you want to get your walkway back into service fast, ” says concrete expert Frank Owens, “your best choice is ‘high early strength’ concrete.” This type of concrete has a higher percentage of cement in the blend so it sets up faster than standard concrete mix. You can walk on it within 10 to 12 hours, compared with several days.
It also generates more heat than standard bagged concrete mix, which means you can tackle your walkway project earlier or later in the season, in temperatures as low as 35 degrees F, with less chance of setting and hardening problems.
However, if your walkway has many steps or landings with exposed edges, Owens recommends fiber reinforced crack-resistant concrete mix. It contains thousands of little plastic fibers to make it more resistant to shrinkage cracks, edge chipping, impact damage and scaling during freeze/thaw cycles. Crack-resistant concrete takes three days to set up, so your walkway will be out of commission that long, but it can make concrete steps more durable under harsh conditions.
“The right concrete for a project is a matter of tradeoffs, ” Owens says. “Consider setup speed, surface durability and the amount of weight the surface will bear.” No matter which product you choose, Owens recommends using as little water as possible. “The lower the water-to-cement ratio, the stronger the concrete and the better the shrinkage resistance.”
Editors’ Note: Visit quikrete.com for an excellent comparison of bagged concrete choices and to check out its video library of tips and techniques for working with concrete.
Meet the Expert
Frank Owens has more than 28 years of experience in the concrete industry and has been with The Quikrete Companies for the past 25 years.