Redwood expansions in the driveway and pool deck can look some what unsightly as they get old and start deteriorating. I was asked by a friend to replace his. This is what it looked like before and after as well as how I went about this task.

Understanding what’s under the concrete can make a world of difference. First of all, about every 2′ a piece of 3/8″ steel rebar should be going through the redwood. This rebar is tied into the concrete before they pour the concrete and runs through the redwood. They use “chairs” under the steel, but the redwood expansions also hold up the steel before they pour it.

In this case, I had 2″x4″ expansions already in the driveway. I lifted the wood expansion I wanted to remove using the claws on a framing hammer. Lifting it just enough to see where the rebar was (has no play), I marked the part to chisel through. Using a 1″ wood chisel and small sledge hammer, I split the redwood vertically just before the rebar. I then chiseled out around the rebar so as the move on to the next piece of that same 2″x4″ I was pulling out. Almost exactly 2′ away would be the next piece of rebar and I would chisel through there. That’s pretty much it, I made sure I cleaned out the slot really good. I highly recommend pulling the entire old expansion out.

The preparation for new redwood 2″x4″ was as follows. I first cut the length I wanted then stripped the piece lengthwise to the depth of the notch in the concrete (in order to have the finished piece flush with the concrete) using a table saw. Next step was to sand the sides down so it would fit down in the notch and be easy to pull out. I then sanded the top and took a piece of finer sand paper on a wood block to smooth out the only part that would be showing.

Final step was to apply a caulk like adhesive with a caulking gun on the sides of the notch in the concrete. I then fit the wood into the slot and the adhesive held it it. Don’t forget to   spray a little weed killer or even lay plastic before installing the new piece.

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