You Can’t Paint a Dirty Wall (or Sidewalk)

We had a client this past year whose concrete sidewalk needed a facelift. It was old, dirty, and created a lackluster pathway leading to the entrance of an otherwise beautiful home. The homeowner previously tried to pain the sidewalk in an effort to hide the ugly concrete. Have you ever heard the saying you can’t paint a dirty wall ? I’m not sure if it’s supposed to mean anything more than the literal sense but what I can tell you is how much it rings true.

The task of improving the sidewalk wasn’t too daunting; the client knew exactly what they wanted and already had the materials for it. The issue came in when we needed to make the sidewalk level with the adjacent patio. Read on to see how we tackled it! 

Here is the original sidewalk, complete with grime, stains, old paint, and a sprinkle of sadness. 

Step One: Clean and Sand

If concrete isn’t cleaned and sanded, nothing will stick to it. So to start on this project, we first needed to get this sidewalk washed and primed for what was to come. 

Here is the grinder we used to remove the paint and color from the concrete. 
This image shows the rest of the sidewalk, mid-cleaning.
And voila! Here is the finished concrete, fresh and ready for the world! It needed to be dull so the new surface would stick. 

Step Two: Add the Brick

The good news about this project was that when the walkway was initially installed, the concrete was intentionally set lower than the driveway and the front porch so the homeowner could eventually add to it.

Here is the finished sidewalk! Our client had been hanging onto some old bricks they wanted us to use. Important to note that you don’t always have to buy new materials to spruce up a space, even an outdoor one. 

Step Three: Fix the Patio Next Door

To the right of the sidewalk was a paver patio that was set by the homeowner and had sunk overtime. To ensure that everything was level and would last throughout the years, we decided to fix the patio too.

You can see in this image how water is pooling between the patio and the concrete. To prevent future drainage issues, we lifted part of the patio, making it even with the new brick layer we added.

Step Four: Add a Little Pizzazz

We decided to add some landscaping by removing tons of gravel and adding ferns and mulch. The client was happy to finally have their long awaited brick sidewalk. The plantings and ensured longevity of the patio were an added bonus!

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