I just wrote another blog about concrete. It appears at ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. on blogger.com. A friend, who is a concrete finisher by trade once told me that blacktop lasts twenty to thirty years, but concrete is forever. He was not kidding. Several years ago, we had a problem with some concrete that was put in poorly. It had subsided into the dirt around our rental across the street from our home and was acting like a giant funnel, guiding water toward the foundation that ultimately ended up in the basement.
The sidewalk in question was perhaps as old as the house, but like most things done in America during the twenties, it was more about getting it done rather than doing it right. Not only was the concrete poured directly onto the clay, but the ground underneath was never graded properly either. Therefore, the thickness of the slab varied from as little as four inches to nearly six, making the side closest to the house much heavier, eventually pulling it down so that the slope was opposite what would be needed to shunt water away from the house.
About the same time that I lost patience with the wet basement, I was looking for a solution to building garden beds. This offered the opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade in a very real sense. First, I scored the sidewalk all the way down the middle. It cost around sixty dollars for the concrete saw blades, but made it possible for me to end up with over forty feet of concrete slabs that I stood on edge, making raised beds about eighteen inches high that will last for centuries.