What Are the Different Types of Curbs?

different types of curbsParking curbs are one of those universal parts of every day life that many people simply don’t notice or pay attention to their appearances or functions. Most people tend to take for granted that different types of curbs even exist until they need to repair or replace a curb on their commercial or residential properties. When that time comes, it pays to be well prepared by knowing exactly what kind of curb you’re dealing with; what the costs are to repair or replace it; and finally, the right person to hire for the job.

5 Different Types of Curbs

There are five different types of curbs that every professional concrete contractor should be familiar with, and each has different purposes and levels of aesthetic appeal.

Barrier/Straight Curbs

Like the name suggests, the main purpose of barrier curbs is to create a barricade between vehicles and certain spaces (e.g. sidewalks, stores, parking spaces, etc.). These are the most common types of curbs, and the idea is to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering or trespassing on closed-off spaces or areas designated for pedestrians. Barrier curbs are typically comprised of asphalt aggregates or cement concrete.

Mower Curbs

Mower curbs have a slightly more decorative function than their parking curb counterparts, yet they still provide a sturdy, reliable, and protective barrier between flowerbeds and lawnmowers. Their unique shape makes it possible for lawnmowers to come close enough to ensure each blade of grass is evenly trimmed without damaging the topsoil or the machinery. These curbs come in a variety of different sizes and colours to match the creative tastes and practical needs of the property owner.

Mountable/Rolling Curbs

Mountable curbs are a continuation of barrier curbs. They provide a slight dip in the otherwise elevated curb to allow vehicles to easily drive over them. They also provide an opening for pedestrians with shopping carts or strollers, and those who are on bicycles or roller-skates to safely cross on or off of the sidewalk.

Monolithic/Integral Curbs

Monolithic curbs are fused together with the road to create more traction and make it easier for larger vehicles to pass without damaging the internal structure or foundation of the asphalt or concrete. This type of curb creates a much smoother transition into the road than other types because there aren’t any jutting edges.

Slanted/Sloped Curbs

Similar to mower curbs, slanted curbs are used purely for ornamental reasons. They don’t have a practical purpose as they’re meant to adorn the exterior of residential or commercial properties. Even though it’s a small touch, these types of curbs are perfect for showcasing the creativity and personal sense of style of the property owner(s), landscape designer, and even the asphalt contractor.

Manual Construction of Curbs and Gutters

To ensure uniformity, concrete curbs and gutters are usually constructed at the same time directly on the jobsite. The process of manual curb construction and gutter installation involves five crucial steps.

1. Marking and Measurements

Manual labour generally requires a great deal of planning and preparation. Before any concrete can be laid, it’s important to carefully measure and mark the exact parts of the property where the new curb and gutter will be installed. This will ensure complete accuracy and efficiency throughout the paving project.

Different types of curbs require specific markings and spacing so that they can be properly constructed. A special type of marking powder is used to mark exactly where the concrete will be installed and how it will be shaped.

2. Soil Excavation

Once the markings are created, the next step is to excavate the piece of land where the new concrete curbs and gutters will be installed. Using either mechanical tools or manual labour, up to 300mm of soil is excavated at any given time and then stored somewhere offsite until it’s needed again. A hand tamper or mechanical compactor is then used to flatten the remaining loose soil and dirt in place.

Next, a gravel and cement aggregate is carefully placed on top of the soil and compacted. Both the curb and gutter aggregates are placed at the same time.

3. Formwork Is Built

In construction, formwork is a temporary or permanent mould made out of plywood or steel that the concrete is poured into to form a solid structure. Wood stakes that are strategically placed and hammered into the ground secure the formwork in place.

The boards of the formwork are then attached to one another using spacers, metal clamps, or 1×2 boards that are nailed on top of the structure. At this stage, it’s also important to check the alignment and shape of the structure to ensure it fits within the confines of the property. Since the formwork is only used to mould the shape of the concrete, it should also be coated in a non-stick substance like cooking oil to prevent the concrete from permanently sticking to the boards.

4. Pouring the Concrete

After guaranteeing you have the correct shape and alignment, it’s time to carefully pour the liquid concrete into the formwork. Concrete is first poured into the gutter and then at the top of the curb formwork. To ensure that the concrete fills all the crevices of the formwork evenly, it’s important to compact it into place.

Once the concrete is evenly set and starting to dry, remove the formwork entirely. Then, smooth out the surfaces of the curb and gutter using a set of concrete finishing tools. This will remove all rough patches and potential air pockets, making a more durable and impenetrable concrete curb and gutter unit. Make sure to remove all spacers and fill those empty spots with concrete and compact those areas as well.

5. The Curing Process

Immediately after placing the concrete curbs and gutters, it’s time for the curing process to begin. Curing entails preventing the loss of moisture in newly installed concrete structures like curbs and gutters. Moisture retention early on helps the structure maintain its durability and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and inclement weather conditions.

Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. has over 20 years of experience working in the asphalt paving and repairs industry. Our top-of-the-line recycled composite parking curbs are widely used amongst businesses and homeowners throughout the GTA. On top of that, we also offer industry-leading, seven-year structural warranty, and we stand behind the quality and durability of our services and products, ensuring that our work will last for many years to come. For a free consultation, please call our toll-free number 1-888-728-3636, or if you’re in Toronto, call (416) 410-3705.