Whether you are designing a subdivision or just wanting to make your driveway and walkways really stand out, curbing is a great option to add a new dimension. Adding a curb makes keeping the grass and surrounding vegetation off of the paved areas while also making cleaning easy with sweepers or water. It is also essential in controlling water runoff and helping to prevent flooding in urban areas.
The History of Curbs
You may be surprised that curbs are actually a relatively new invention when it comes to designing city streets and sidewalks. The City of London in England was the first city to actually use curbing to lift sidewalks, which they called foot-ways, and elevated them to designate the area for pedestrian use only.
From London the use of curbs to designate pedestrian areas and to help to control water movement to storm drains to clear city streets spread quickly to other cities. Different materials have been used for curbing on roads made from Macadam to concrete and asphalt, but the curb is typically is made of concrete, especially if it also has an attached channel or gutter for water runoff.
Shapes and Options
When it comes to curbing you really have a wide range of shapes, styles and heights. On residential properties curbing is more of an aesthetic component and may be shorter in height and more rounded in shape than you would expect on a busy city street.
For areas where curbing is primarily used to designate the vehicle lanes from a sidewalk a 90 degree vertical curb is the most popular and will typically be four to eight inches in height. In places where pedestrians are crossing or where there is a need for vehicles to cross over the curb, such as driving into a parking lot then the square curb is dropped or slopped to allow an easy transition.
When a machine is used to create curbing on-site the curb can be naturally molded to suit the shape of the roadway and landscape. This is a perfect option for around patios or on a winding or curved driveway or on a traffic circle or other irregularly shaped area.
Curbing can be poured at the same time as asphalt or concrete and there are specific machines that can be used on site to create the curb. Concrete curbing can also be pre-cast and moved to the roadway where it is needed.
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