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bigdaddydavy 05-29-2012 02:11 PM

Replacing a concrete front door approach with a boardwalk?
First time poster....

I have a concrete sidewalk approach that leads from the public sidewalk to my front porch. It is in pretty bad shape, in both a safety and aesthetic sense. It is about 15 feet long and includes 2 sets of 3 steps. I have gotten various concrete estimates and they are in the ~$2000+ range.

I am not too interested in discussing my concrete options in this thread, but I am curious to know what others feel or have experienced in terms in building a boardwalk in the front of the house as their main approach. I think it would look nice, but have not found any other examples to confirm this. It would probably only cost less than $500 if I did it myself, which I find very appealing, from a cost perspective and a DIY perspective.

I would tear up the concrete sidewalk and then install something like a cedar or redwood boardwalk with either steps or longish levels. Something like this, perhaps:

I have been able to find pictures of boardwalks in gardens and the like, but nothing in the front of the house. Is this feasible? Would it look good? Does anybody have any links to pictures of wooden front approaches?

cortell 05-29-2012 03:14 PM

Indeed. I cannot think of a single home that I've seen with a wooden stepped path leading up to the front door. I think it might look awkward architecturally. I suppose you could paint it gray. I just don't know.

KevinPh 05-29-2012 03:48 PM

The only place I've seen a front boardwalk is in cottage country. If you have a cottage or cottage style house, it would probably look appropriate.

7echo 05-29-2012 04:54 PM

As KevinPH mentioned it depends on the style of the house. Can you post an image of the front of the house that includes the current sidewalk?

rdy2go 05-29-2012 05:44 PM

Have you though about concrete pavers. It can be another DIY alternative, depending on skills and energy :-)

bigdaddydavy 05-31-2012 11:27 AM

Here is a picture of the front of the house. It is from Google Street View and is a few years old. I would replace the approach leading from the front sidewalk, including the 2 sets of 3 steps. The blank area over to the right, there used to be a big pine tree there. Now there are a bunch of ornamental grasses. If I did a boardwalk, I would expect to do something similar along the boardwalk.

Given that you know what the house looks like, do you think a boardwalk would work? What other sorts of approaches work with a brick front (the sides of the house are white stucco)?

cortell 05-31-2012 01:11 PM

I suppose you could make it work (visually) if you painted the wood the same color as the brick. However, I wonder if you're not underestimating the work and cost involved, and overlooking that the result will likely have a shorter lifespan than properly laid concrete steps/path.

hand drive 05-31-2012 01:23 PM

maybe a wood border with brick walkway or maybe a composite lumber walkway to match the brick color more closely than wood would.

KevinPh 05-31-2012 03:29 PM

I think the walkway would look better with revamped concrete - a thin layer (2 in) of concrete can be placed on top of the existing, but you must roughen up the old concrete first - you can use coloured concrete (expensive) or stamp it with a pattern to make it look like stone or brick. I haven't done this myself, but have seen good contractors can make it look fantastic, just like real stone. They can redo your steps and put a bullnose on them as well. Of course, if you do this, you will have to also do it to your front porch to make it level with the steps.

Another option is to rip out all of the concrete for the stairs and walkway, and redo it in concrete pavers. You will have to remove the existing steps and walkway in order to make the finished grade level with the front portch. For the steps, you can buy pre-made concrete steps or you can buy concrete stacking steps, there are many options at a landscape supply store.

rdy2go 05-31-2012 06:11 PM

I can give you my opinion for free :-) and you can take it for what is worth. The wood path from the link will fit in a back yard as part of a lush landscaping, but will look out of place in the bare lawn. It will not look good.

I can see a mix of concrete with concrete pavers (or even bricks) or with some of the compacted small aggregate, (broken clay?), with edging. All of it in pavers would exarcerbate the brick view, but a combination with the proper paver color, may give some continuity with out being overwhelming. Stamped finished concrete may be an option at a cost.
The other point I can bring up, which is very personal opinion, is that from a curve appeal perspective, your front yard would benefit from some curves. Again, very personal taste, and will not dwell any more into it.

One solution you could look at is a flag stone path which I would let meander a bit. You could spread the three intermediate steps along the path. I would use rustic step shaped stones, not refined ones. You could even make a side patio on the right side of the main steps, next to the house wall and put a bench or two on it. With some learning on the WEB, this is something you may be able to do yourself.

21boat 05-31-2012 09:08 PM

I would use brick pavers that would tremendously enhance your home.

Geotextile cover

6 inch 2a modified stone

spike paving edging,

Then concrete 3/4 concrete sand

Lay brick pavers.

A bag of Techno Seal Sand. swept in then tamp brick 2nd application of seal sand then lightly hose.

Material list prices in my area.

2 A Modified Stone $ 19.41 per ton
Concrete Sand $ 29.50 per ton
Brick Pavers ( 53 DD ) $.65 cents a piece
Geto Tech Cloth $ 1.15 Sq yd
Edging 8 foot piece $ 10.34
Spikes for edging $ .53 cents each
Techno Seal Sand (grouting pavers) Small Joints $ 27.05 per bag

All a DIY project

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