Purpose affects sidewalk thickness. Standard sidewalks are smooth and sturdy for foot and light-wheel traffic like bikes and hand carts. 4-inch-thick concrete can tolerate this traffic when hardened. If your walkway accommodates cars or passes a driveway, add depth. 8-inch-thick driveway.
Thickness influences aesthetics and durability. Professional, long-lasting walkways require proper installation. Well-built sidewalks should meet your needs without costing more.
Rebar bolsters concrete's load-bearing capacity. It's used in thicker concrete sidewalks to support heavy trucks or machinery. Rebar is used on heavily used sidewalks.
General-use sidewalks don't need rebar. Rebar in a walkway could increase maintenance costs. Replace damaged sidewalks. Reinforced sidewalks hinder repairs.
Concrete expands and contracts as temperatures and humidity change. These variations can degrade concrete, causing trips and falls. Sidewalks don't fracture randomly. Joints don't stop cracks. Concrete joints fracture.
Pavement has two seams.
Sidewalks have control joints. One-fourth of the sidewalk's thickness is control joints (1 inch deep for a four-inch-thick sidewalk). These seams can be poured or cut into a 4-inch-thick sidewalk to avoid chipping.
Expansion joints form at sidewalk intersections. Where a sidewalk meets a building or another sidewalk, expansion joints are needed. This joint goes through the whole sidewalk to avoid abutment tension. Concrete has expansion joints.