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Best Concrete Mix For Sidewalks

If your building a concrete sidewalk then you have three main choices. Buy your concrete from a company which will get delivered in a concrete truck. This is the most expensive option. Mix the concrete yourself by hand or with a cement mixer. This is the cheapest option if you have the tools and know how. Or buy premixed concrete bags like QUIKRETE®. This is generally the best concrete mix for sidewalks if your a homeowner because the mix is consistent, the color is good, it’s strong and a decent price. Although you still have to mix the concrete yourself before pouring.

QUIKRETE® offers a high quality, cost effective, and professional grade concrete mix that’s great for sidewalks. It comes in a variety of mixes so you can buy exactly what you need for your project.

QUIKRETE® recommends using one of the following products for your sidewalk project.

  • 5000
  • Crack Resistant Concrete Mix
  • Concrete Mix
  • Portland Cement / All-Purpose Gravel / All-Purpose Sand

QUIKRETE®‘s products can typically be found at Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, Walmart, and other stores. Although Lowes generally carries a competing brand called Sakrete.

Premixed Concrete Is Great For Sidewalks

I recommend using a premixed concrete like QUIKRETE® for your sidewalk because the most important thing when working with concrete is consistency. If you mix concrete yourself and your ingredients are off just a little between batches, the color and strength can be off too. It’s hard mixing the exact same concrete batch every time but QUIKRETE® makes it easy by doing all the figuring for you.

Cement trucks are great but they’re expensive. The mix is generally consistent and of good quality. But there’s typically a small delivery charge that can sometimes be more than what your actually spending on the concrete. Unless you need around a truck load of concrete I’d recommend premixed.

QUIKRETE® 5000

QUIKRETE® 5000 is a great choice for building a sidewalk. Because it gains strength quickly, it’s good for cold weather applications. QUIKRETE® 5000 achieves 5,000 psi after 28 days. That’s a very strong concrete mix. We generally use a 3,500 psi concrete in our foundations so with this mix you won’t have to worry about strength issues.

QUIKRETE® 5000 sets quickly, which is perfect for a sidewalk. It has a walk on time of around 10 – 12 hours depending on weather conditions. In dry heat it’ll set quicker then on a cool, damp day. A fast setting concrete is good for sidewalks because it’s less likely someone will accidentally walk on it and damage the sidewalk.

Days PSI
1 Days 1500 psi
3 Days 2500 psi
7 Days 3500 psi
28 Days 5000 psi

Compressive strength of QUIKRETE 5000

Additional Info

In terms of pounds per square inch (psi), the minimum we use for most concrete sidewalks is 3,500 psi. After 28 days, QUIKRETE® 5000 will reach a psi of around 5,000, which is very strong. And it reaches 3,500 in 7 days which means you’ll be strong enough in just a week.

You can hand mix QUIKRETE® 5000 by adding 2.8 liters (or 6 pints) of water for each 80 lb bag which yields 17 liters of concrete. Bags come in 60 lb, and 80 lb bags. We use a standard bucket you can buy at any Home Depot to measure the water. Once you measure the water and mix one bag of concrete you’ll always remember how much water you need in the bucket per bag.

QUIKRETE® 5000 is best for sidewalks of at least 4″ thick. You don;t have to include wire mesh in the sidewalk with 5000 but it’s recommended.

Be sure not to leave any unabsorbed water in the mix.

QUIKRETE® Crack Resistant Concrete Mix

QUIKRETE®’s crack resistant concrete mix is a very strong concrete that has a compressive strength of 4,000 pounds per square inch after 28 days of curing. Like 5000, this mix is best for concrete that is 2″ or more. We pour most sidewalks 4″ thick so it’s just right.

4000 is great because it reduces the need for wire mesh inside the sidewalk. If your not a mason and pouring a cement sidewalk for the first time, a crack resistant concrete can make things easier. Here’s a few more good things about using 4000 concrete for your sidewalk.

  • It reduces cracking from drying shrinkage
  • A little easier to work with than 5000
  • Has improved freeze-thaw durability
  • Impact resistant
  • Eliminates the need to put wire mesh in the concrete.
Days PSI
7 Days 2500 PSI
28 Days 4000 PSI

Compressive strength of QUIKRETE Crack Resistant Concrete

Additional Info

This mix is for sidewalks that are at least 4″ thick. It should exceed 2500 psi within a week and will reach 4,000 psi in 28 days. But it’s walkable in around 7-10 hours.

An 80 lb bag can yield 17 liters of mixed concrete.

This mix only comes in an 80 lb bag.

QUIKRETE® Concrete Mix

This is the standard all around concrete mix that can be used for multiple uses, including sidewalks. It’s great for building or repairing sidewalks, curbs, steps, patios, ramps, and other walkways.

You can buy these in 40 lb, 60 lb, and 80 lb bags. The sizes yield 0.60 cubic feet (17 liters), 0.45 cubic feet (12.7 liters), and 0.30 cubic feet (8.5 liters) respectively.

Days PSI
7 2,500
28 4,000

Compressive strength of QUIKRETE® Concrete Mix

Additional Info

Add 6 – 9 pints of fresh water to each 80 lb bag. Add additional water if it becomes too difficult to mix. See the graph below.

Package Size (lb) Starting Water (pt) Final Water (pt)
80 6 6 – 9
60 4 4 – 7
40 3 3 – 4.5

Mixing water for QUIKRETE® Concrete Mix

QUIKRETE® concrete mix is a great all around concrete. We use a few bags for just about every job we do because it’s good for fixing cracks or repairing damaged concrete. It’s easy to use, strong and affordable.

I recommend using some wire mesh with this mix but it’s not required. 4000 psi after 28 days is very strong. And it’s walkable in about 7-10 hours depending on weather conditions.

QUIKRETE® Portland Cement / All-Purpose Gravel / All-Purpose Sand

You can make your own concrete using a mixture of QUIKRETE’s Portland Cement, all-purpose gravel, and sand. All three are bought and sold separately.

It’s great for use on sidewalk projects if you know what your doing because you can alter the mix to meet specific conditions. With a cement truck or premix you use what you get. But with custom mixes you have more freedom to do whatever you want for the application. Although I don’t recommend doing this unless your an experienced mason and know how to alter mixes for a specific result.

  • Portland Cement comes in 31 lb, 47 lb, 94 lb, 40 kg, and 42 kg bags.
  • All-Purpose Sand comes in 50 lb (56 bags per pallet) or 70 lb bags (42 bags per pallet).
  • All-Purpose Gravel comes only in 50 lb bags with 56 bags per pallet.

To make a concrete mix, you need 1 part QUIKRETE® Portland Cement, 2 parts QUIKRETE® All-Purpose Sand, and 3 parts QUIKRETE® All-Purpose Gravel. Typically, you would figure out how much total concrete you need and then calculate the appropriate amount of gravel and sand for the strength mix you need.

Additional Info

If you want to try and mix your own concrete then do some research and planning first.

  1. Figure out what typeof mix you need. For example, will you need a 5000 psi concrete or something more typically which is around 3500 psi. Each psi rating will have a different ratio of sand, gravel, water and cement.
  2. Find out how much concrete you’ll need to do the job. If you have a 3′ wide sidewalk that’s 100′ long and 4″ thick then that’s how much concrete you’ll need. Add at least 10% over just in case.
  3. Calculate how much sand, gravel and cement you’ll need to buy in order to mix the amount of concrete required to do the job.

Make sure you measure everything carefully. If your mixing multiple batches, each batch has to have to the exact same ratio of ingredients. If your off even just a little then strength will vary and so can color. You probably won’t notice if an area of your sidewalk is only 3400 psi instead of 3500 but you’ll definitely see a color change.

General Tips

For large projects, you’ll need a larger mixing container. I recommend a mixer that has at least 21 liters capacity to mix each 80 lb bag. There should be 1 cubic foot (28 liters) of mixer capacity for each 80 lb bag of concrete mix. Mixers are often overlooked as a part of a concrete job. You probably don’t own your own mixer but you can rent them.

Don’t use curing compounds in rain or temperatures below 50°F. Don’t use curing compounds during the late fall and if de-icers are used to melt snow and ice. This can prevent the air drying of your concrete.

Don’t add too much water because it will weaken the concrete. Water makes concrete easier to work with but it comes at a cost.

Don’t plan on curing your concrete if you expect it to rain or have temperatures below 50°F (10°C) within 24 hours.

As with all of QUIKRETE®‘s products, protect from freezing within the first 24 – 48 hours. You can use plastic sheeting and insulation blankets if it can’t be avoided.

If you have a concrete sidewalk or walkway project to do then I recommend using QUIKRETE®‘s products. They’re simple and easy to use, come premixed in just the right ratios, and there’s plenty of how-to videos and resources out there to help with whatever project you have.

QUIKRETE® has been around for 75 years and it is one of the best manufacturers that provide commercial-grade concrete at an affordable price.

Summary: Best Concrete Mix For Sidewalks

If your building a concrete sidewalk then you have three main choices. Buy your concrete from a company which will get delivered in a concrete truck. This is the most expensive option. Mix the concrete yourself by hand or with a cement mixer. This is the cheapest option if you have the tools and know how. Or buy premixed concrete bags like QUIKRETE®. This is generally the best concrete mix for sidewalks if your a homeowner because the mix is consistent, the color is good, it’s strong and a decent price. Although you still have to mix the concrete yourself before pouring.

QUIKRETE® offers a high quality, cost effective, and professional grade concrete mix that’s great for sidewalks. It comes in a variety of mixes so you can buy exactly what you need for your project.

QUIKRETE® recommends using one of the following products for your sidewalk project.

  • 5000
  • Crack Resistant Concrete Mix
  • Concrete Mix
  • Portland Cement / All-Purpose Gravel / All-Purpose Sand

QUIKRETE®‘s products can typically be found at Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, Walmart, and other stores. Although Lowes generally carries a competing brand called Sakrete.

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

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