Adding Instant Curb Appeal in One Weekend: Part One
Posted by: Erika Green on January 8, 2020
This blog was written by Adam Beasley of Lazy Guy DIY, who recently partnered with The Home Depot Rental. Adam was itching to replace his tired sidewalk with beautiful pavers, and to do so, he needed a variety of tools, equipment, and materials. Check out how The Home Depot Rental was there for Adam throughout his DIY project – from start to finish.
Over the last few years we’ve been bringing our 1920’s Craftsman Style Bungalow back to life with small DIY home improvement projects and the occasional contracted update. We’ve fought back overgrown shrubbery and added new landscaping. We even switched up the house color to something more historically accurate. But something was missing… or more to the point… something out front was rather bland. Our concrete sidewalk had to go. So we teamed up with The Home Depot Rental and decided it was time to add a new paver walkway and turn that curb appeal up to 11!
One of the questions I always get about a home improvement project like this is “how difficult would this be for a beginner?” And to that I say, it’s not difficult at all. It is labor-intensive in terms of breaking up the concrete and hauling all the pavers around, but this is a project I completed all by myself in one day. Yes, one day. Okay, I had a little help from my wife laying out pavers in the home stretch and my toddler supervised at one point. I absolutely recommend bringing a friend to help because a bucket brigade-style line makes the final steps go by so much faster.
Before I did any work, I did contact “Miss Utility” (calling 811 is an alternative option!) to make sure I could safely use equipment and not worry about hitting power or water lines. It took less than 48 hours to get results back that I was safe to proceed.
Paving The Way
Our current concrete sidewalk was around 16’ by 4’ and butted up to the city’s sidewalk and the poured-concrete front step of our house. So when picking pavers I knew I was going to have some limitations or at a minimum have to cut some of the stones.
I ended up going with a hybrid “basket weave pattern” (that I’m claiming as my own design!) using Valestone Hardscapes 7”x 7” and 7” x 3.50” concrete pavers I picked up at my local The Home Depot. Speaking of… I don’t have a truck… which is where I started this journey with The Home Depot Rental.
When I looked at having someone professionally demo and install our new sidewalk, estimates started at around $3,000 and went as high as $6,000. I was able to complete this entire project in one weekend including materials and rental costs for under $2,000. That’s right, I’m Lazy and Cheap! Because of my lack of truck, I ended up renting a Flatbed Pickup Truck to haul my additional rentals, including a Hilti Pro Small Breaker, Hilti Pro Gas Concrete Saw, Paver Saw, Wacker Neuson Plate Compactor and then a 6x10 Dump Trailer to bring the 300+ pavers home and take the busted concrete away.
What’s great is that there is a huge selection of well-known brands that The Home Depot Rental offers in many of the categories for tools and equipment. For example, for the concrete saw, I had almost a dozen options to choose from. Between different tool brands and a consumer-grade or pro-grade level of equipment, if there was a tool I needed, I had plenty of options.
I arrived bright and early Saturday morning at my local The Home Depot and despite the mob of people looking to pick up their rentals, my local crew had everything loaded and ready to go for me. Because of the truck, I needed to bring a copy of my insurance plus my driver’s license and a credit card then I was ready to roll!
One of the big unknowns was wondering what was in my existing concrete sidewalk. Was it just poured concrete or was there rebar in there? Also, I had to make sure I didn’t damage the existing city sidewalk. So, I started out with the Hilti Pro Gas Concrete Saw. I started at the joint by the sidewalk and slowly cut my first pass with the concrete saw. It’s like a giant circular saw with guide wheels that you can roll across the ground. I made my first pass with a lot of dust and no issues (and all of my safety gear), then made a final deeper pass. I repeated this process with each of the seams, so I ended up with several separate sections that I hoped would make the next step much easier…
Dreams do come true! I got to use a jackhammer! Ok, not a full-sized jackhammer, but a Hilti Pro Small Breaker. Using the flat chisel attachment, I started at the edge of my segmented concrete squares and broke controlled, angled sections of concrete. Because I was going to be doing the hauling myself, I broke off manageable chunks that were around 8”-15” wide. As each section broke free, I used any new cracks to easily start the next area for removal. The question I know I’m going to get is, do you need to be a big strapping dude to use a breaker? Not at all. The breaker weighs less than my toddler and as you lean your body weight onto the chisel tip the impact level increases. It was very user-friendly.
In combination with a good shovel and a prybar, demolition was the easiest part of the whole project. Unloading all my pavers by hand and then loading up all the busted concrete into the 6x10 dump trailer is what wore me down.
Stay tuned for part two where I show you how I prepped the surface, laid the pavers, and got rid of the mess! Hint: it involves even more tools and equipment from The Home Depot Rental!
This project has been sponsored by The Home Depot Rental. All rental equipment was provided in exchange for a review of my experience with the tools and service… and spoiler alert… it rocked!