Best Concrete Mix for Sidewalks: What the pros use

Concrete mix for sidewalk

As you plan your sidewalk project, it can become an expensive chore trying out mixes that don’t work. If you’re trying to make a sidewalk, one of the brands that professionals use and trust is QUIKRETE®.

QUIKRETE® offers a high-quality, cost-effective, and professional-grade concrete mix that is great for sidewalk projects because it has a higher early strength than most commercial mixes. Professionals trust QUIKRETE® concrete in constructing weather-resistant walks and slab works.

QUIKRETE® recommends using one of the following products to include in your sidewalk project.

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

QUIKRETE®‘s products can be found at Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, Walmart, and other stores. Below is a video provided by The Home Depot giving a quick overview of the different concrete mixes provided by QUIKRETE®.

QUIKRETE® 5000

QUIKRETE® 5000 is is a premium-grade blend of stone or gravel, sand, and cement that is designed for higher early strength. It is ideal for any cement project with a minimum thickness of 2″ and requires quick early strength.

For most projects, the compressive strength of the concrete achieves structural quality in the first 24 hours. In this case, QUIKRETE® sets quickly, which is perfect for colder weather conditions and has a walk-on time of 10 – 12 hours.

DaysPSI
1 Days1500 psi
3 Days2500 psi
7 Days3500 psi
28 Days5000 psi
Compressive strength of QUIKRETE 5000

In terms of pounds per square inch (psi), the minimum required for most concrete projects is 2,500 to 3,000 psi. Concrete footings such as sidewalks require a higher psi level of 3,500 to 4,000 psi. After 28 days, QUIKRETE® 5000 will reach a psi of 5,000, which is exactly what you want.

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. It can come in 36 kg, 30 kg, 60 lb, and 80 lb bags. Be sure not to leave any water unabsorbed in the mix. For machine mixing, you can use a barrel concrete or mortar mixer using the same amount of water. Source

QUIKRETE® Crack Resistant Concrete Mix

QUIKRETE®’s crack resistant concrete mix is a construction-grade concrete that has a compressive strength of 4,000 pounds per square inch. Like the 5000, this mix is specifically for concrete that is 2″ or more (preferably 4″ at the least). This mix is great for reducing cracking from drying shrinkage, has superior workability, improved freeze-thaw durability, impact resistance, and eliminates the need to put wire mesh in the cement.

DaysPSI
7 Days2500 PSI
28 Days4000 PSI
Compressive strength of QUIKRETE Crack Resistant Concrete

This mix is for sidewalks that are at least 4″ thick. If done right, this mix will exceed 2500 psi within a week and will reach 4,000 psi in 28 days. Much like the QUIKRETE® 5000, an 80 lb bag can yield 17 liters of mixed concrete. This only comes in an 80 lb bag.

For large projects, you will need a larger mixing container. You’ll need a mixer that has at least 21 liters capacity to mix each 80 lb bag.

Do not plan to cure your concrete if you expect it to rain or have temperatures below 50°F (10°C) within 24 hours. Protect the concrete from freezing within the first 48 hours. You can use plastic sheeting and insulation blankets if it can’t be avoided. Source

QUIKRETE® Concrete Mix

Building with pre-blended concrete mix

This is the standard, pre-blended mix that can be used for multiple uses, including sidewalks. Just add water. It can be used for building or repairing sidewalks, curbs, steps, ramps, and other walkways.

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

DaysPSI
72,500
284,000
Compressive strength of QUIKRETE® Concrete Mix

Before mixing, make sure you’ve removed sod or soil from the area.

There should be 1 cubic foot (28 liters) of mixer capacity for each 80 lb bag of concrete mix.

Add 6 – 9 pints of fresh water to each 80 lb bag, whether your hand-mixing or machine-mixing. Add additional water if it becomes too difficult to mix. See the graph below.

Package Size (lb)Starting Water (pt)Final Water (pt)
8066 – 9
6044 – 7
4033 – 4.5
Mixing water for QUIKRETE® Concrete Mix

Precautions: Don’t apply 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 the concrete. Protect the concrete from freezing within the first 48 hours. You can use plastic sheeting and insulation blankets if it can’t be avoided. Source

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

You can create your own concrete using a mixture of QUIKRETE’s Portland Cement, all-purpose gravel, and sand. All three are bought and sold separately. In addition to making high-strength repair mortars, you can use this mix on your sidewalk projects.

  • QUIKRETE® Portland Cement comes in 31 lb, 47 lb, 94 lb, 40 kg, and 42 kg bags.
  • QUIKRETE® All-Purpose Sand comes in 50 lb (56 bags per pallet) or 70 lb bags (42 bags per pallet).
  • QUIKRETE® 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 use 5 – 6 94 lb bags of the cement mixed in with the appropriate amount of gravel and sand.

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. Do not add too much water as it will weaken the product. In order to cure properly, the product must sit wet for several days (give or take a week). Source

If there’s a sidewalk or walkway project that’s been waiting in the back of your mind for months or even years, you should consider using QUIKRETE®‘s products. They are simple and easy to use, and there are plenty of how-to videos on YouTube 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.


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