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Gap-filling material for r.r. tie sidewalk

2058 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  jklingel

We’re doing remedial landscaping with r.r. ties. A narrow, plain concrete sidewalk from the driveway to the front door was replaced with a broad sidewalk of r.r. ties. The ties are laid down side by side for some 40 feet. The ties are spiked so as not to move or wobble when walked on and are quite solid. And all ties are level with respect to each other so nobody stubs a toe. However, despite the fact the ties are all laid quite snugly up against each other, there are of course small surface gaps between the ties. Some gaps are a mere one-eighth inch wide across the width of the sidewalk, some gaps are close to a half inch wide. All gaps are due to the uneven surfaces of r.r. ties.

I want a filler material put into the gaps so nobody in high heels manages to get a shoe caught while walking up to the front door. I looked at various caulking or sealant products to fill the gaps. But nothing so far meets the requirements. The fill material needs to withstand the penetration factor of a high heel. stand up to outdoor temperatures and occasional rain, snow. Summer temps are almost 100 degrees and winter lows get down to minus 10. The color needs to be some shade of dark brown, either via a dye additive or a Ready Mix that’s somewhat close to the proper color to begin with. The fill material can be a bit flexible (elastic). It would be helpful if the material is either pourable or applied with a caulking gun as troweling material into these gaps is problematic.

Thinking outside the barrel, a thin consistency, non-shrinking grout with a color additive was suggested. A concrete supply house said that’s a cement based grout, sets up brittle and will crumble over time. Sonneborn SL-1 was also suggested, as was Sonneborn SL-2 (for wider gaps). But SL-1 only comes in light grey and SL-2 only comes in buckets, needs to be troweled into place, and cannot be thinned to pouring consistency. Star Quartz Grout Lock 2 (urethane) was suggested. Can be used outdoors, is a bit flexible, has low shrinkage, high crack resistance, and self sealing. But it has to be troweled as well. And some people have expressed concern that any elastomer-type product would take weeks (or longer) to cure in some of the thicker, deeper gaps. One bright spark suggested wooden door shims for the narrow gaps, and for the wider gaps use the wider, thicker wooden shims used in setting up mobile homes. Wood shims are relatively inexpensive, readily available, and very thinly tapered at one end for ease in tapping into place. They would also take a dark brown stain. But I prefer something with fluid or semi-fluid properties to better fill the gaps. I even investigated Five Star Rapid Repair V/O but cannot find any info on how much it can be thinned, if at all.

Does anyone out there have any other ideas? Anybody have any experience using somewhat-thinned Dap’s Plastic Wood, either latex based or solvent based? Thank you for your patience with this long post.

High Country Homeowner
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