Is there a concrete slab on the schedule and you would like to know more about how much it might cost you to do it yourself? Or maybe there is a project you would like to do, but can’t estimate what it would cost to do it?
Both are good questions and I’d like to write a bit more about them as it is something that concerns many DIY homeowners. Many of us have dreams of patios and other exterior structures like garages, but won’t ever take steps with them as we don’t want to start estimating how much it would cost us.
Also, remember that these are just estimates. Concrete has a different price tag depending on where you live. The same goes for labor and other variables, but what we can do here is get some estimates.
It will be more comfortable to ask around when you know what to expect. That being said, let us move on with the guide.
What is the concrete slab cost made out of
Before you call in a contractor to have a concrete slab poured, it would be nice to have a good idea of what it will cost to have the job done. The cost to pour a concrete patio, driveway or any other type of concrete slab will vary based primarily on the size of the job.
The concrete slab cost is actually based on a number of variables with the cost of the raw material and the cost of the labor responsible for the majority of the expense. There is also quite a difference if you choose to have a plain concrete slab poured as opposed to a much more detailed and finished stamped concrete surface or some other decorative finish.
The components that make up the plain concrete slab cost are the cost of concrete, grading the pour site, adding a sub-base, placing concrete forms, and reinforcement of the concrete. This doesn’t count in the decorative finishing now, that would need to be counted separately.
When all of the above-mentioned factors are considered, a good estimate of the cost per square foot for a new patio or driveway is about $10 per square foot. It can be a little more or a little less, depending on different variables.
The average cost of concrete
The cost of concrete is market-driven. It is more expensive in certain parts of the country than in others. Based on average 2020 national averages, the cost for 1 cubic yard of concrete is around $125 and you can expect it to be a little higher or lower than that depending on location.
Remember that the amount delivered will affect a cost a lot as well, a lot is usually cheaper than only a little. If you have enough negotiation skills, you might try asking if there is a big delivery at some point and if there are leftovers, could you buy it.
Depending on the size of the concrete business and who is running it, you might get it a little bit cheaper. People at small places and where there is less work are usually a little bit more flexible than those who are busy delivering it all day. But you never lose by asking.
How to calculate how much concrete you need
To get an idea of just how much concrete you will need to complete a project, you can consult a concrete installer or use a concrete calculator.
To do the calculation yourself, measure the length and width of the slab you want. Assume the slab will be 4 inches in depth. Multiply the length by the width to get the total square feet. A cubic yard covers 27 square feet, so if you want a 20’ x 13’ slab, you’ll need to order around 10 cubic yards of concrete.
A cubic yard of concrete weighs more than 2 tons when mixed with water. It would take ninety 40 lb. bags of dry product to make a cubic yard of ready to pour cement. For practical purposes, if you are planning a slab any bigger than 8-10 square feet, you should not try to do it yourself.
Hiring a professional company to bring a truck and pour the concrete makes much more sense. It generally works out to about the same cost per cubic yard for the product and you avoid the laborious work of mixing and pouring the concrete yourself.
Most companies have a 10 cubic yard minimum to get the lowest price, but they will deliver a smaller load for a slightly higher cost per cubic yard.
If you need a concrete slab poured that requires 10 cubic yards of concrete, it will cost you roughly $1,250 for the product plus the delivery. The entire job will cost you quite a bit more.
Grading costs to level the area where the slab is to be poured and remove any rocks, roots, and debris can run $50-$100 per hour. You will generally need to put down some type of sub base such as sand or gravel which can add another $30-$50 per cubic yard. The labor which includes laying out concrete forms and adding steel rebar and meshes as well as carefully smoothing out the poured concrete adds another $1.50-$2.00 per square foot to the total charge.
Rough concrete slab estimations
The following summarizes the rough cost structure per square foot of a plain concrete slab measuring 300 square feet and with a depth of 4 inches.
- Concrete $5.00
- Labor $2.00
- Grading $1.00
- Sub-base $1.00
- Reinforcement $1.00
Total Cost (SF) $10.00
Expect to pay about $3,000 for a typical 12 foot by 25-foot concrete slab driveway without any special decorations. As stated before, it can be $2-$3 more or less depending on the place where you live, but this is the general direction.
As you can see, how much does a concrete slab cost depends a lot on the size and labor of the project. If you want to make it as cheap as possible, you will have to start thinking about where can you save.
The options will be excavation and labor probably. You can’t escape concrete cost with big projects and gravel and sand is something you might acquire a little bit cheaper depending on your contacts.
All of this being said, it all depends on your budget and what do you want to do yourself. If you want nothing to do with the process, you will need to look reliable workforce.
If you can do something yourself, you can look more into quality stuff and decorations if you would like to do something like that. It’s all about finding the balance.