After reading that title you might wonder, why would anyone make a sidewalk out of wood? Well, there are a few very good reasons for doing it.
A little history
More than 25 years ago my wood sidewalk started out as an experiment to see how practical it might be. We needed some kind of walkway for the country house we had just moved into. I thought of using the traditional concrete but in the climate that I live (Northeastern Montana) cement sidewalks have some problems. The ground here moves around a lot. It shrinks in the hot dry summers, sometimes making cracks that are 4 inches wide. In the winter it freezes 6 to 8 feet down so the ground heaves up a lot. Between the shrinking in the summer and freezing in the winter concrete does a lot of cracking. Also cement stays cold and frozen all winter whereas wood warms up and the ice melts off of it anytime it gets above freezing. It was also the least expensive of my available choices. So I built a wood sidewalk. It lasted far longer than I ever thought it would, more than 25 years. But all things deteriorate and my sidewalk has been in need of replacing for a while now. Once again I found myself debating about what to use. I had been looking into making my own pavers but in the end I went back to wood, especially when I got used redwood for free.
My challenges for this project were:
Come up with a design that could use all the different sizes of redwood I salvaged without producing a lot of waste.
Resurface the older weathered wood so it matched with everything.
Create a good-looking, practical sidewalk at a reasonable cost.
By the way, I have included a lot of comments and extra info in the pictures so be sure to check any yellow outlined squares in them.
I heat a lot with firewood so I am always on the lookout for wood. Lumbar scraps and discarded wood burns just as good as anything else, so when a friend of mine told me he had a pile of wood from a flood cleanup I went to look. I was soon the owner of a large collection of used redwood that normally would have gone to the dump. I acquired a second pile from an old redwood deck that was torn down and replaced. Now I had the wood I needed for my sidewalk, except that it was not all nice standard same size pieces. It was a mix of 2x4, 2x6, and 2x8’s with varied lengths from 8 feet long to 12 inches. In addition The wood from the old deck was very weathered on the top side from years of exposure.