How much is concrete - 5 cost factors

How much is concrete – 5 cost factors

Is there a concrete pouring job on the way, but you’re struggling with the calculation of the cost? Or maybe you just want to compare different options like pouring a patio vs building it from wood?

Concrete is one of the most economical ways to create a patio, walkway, floor, or anything else that could be made of the stuff. But just hearing that is not enough to start a project. The proper way is to calculate and estimate the cost so you know how much you have to spent to get the results that you want.

The concrete project cost usually is made from ground removal, making the base for the concrete, forming, and finally pouring. Optional cost after is doing decoration like stamping concrete is covered in this article.

Here we will be talking about the most basic pour. Before you dive in with your project, take a look at some real-life figures as to how much your concrete laying project could cost you.

Grading cost

The first fee to take into account when starting a concrete job from scratch is grading. This is leveling out the ground on which the concrete is to be poured so that the surface is perfectly level. You can expect to pay around $40 to $180 per hour to get this job done by professionals.

The price might shock you, but remember that there is the cost of manpower, transportation, machines used, ground removed, etc. It all comes with a price tag so even the ground you’re planning to set your concrete in will affect this.

The best way to go with this is to start asking around local excavating contractors. You need to be able to answer some basic questions like what they’re supposed to do and what kind of land they’re working with for them to give estimates. The price can be calculated by the hour, by ground removed, or by square feet and they all might be a little different.

Laying foundation

Next, you will need to lay a foundation. This is usually made of gravel. The gravel will cost about $10-50 per ton delivered by truck so it’s another thing that needs to be calculated.

Best situation would be having it straight where it’s needed, but most often it has to be moved by machine and you might want to calculate that here as well.

Now if you have heavy machines removing the ground already, it would be best if the gravel was on the site already so they could transport the gravel after they have removed the ground. This way you can save a little.

Building the forms

Now, this is a difficult thing to estimate so I’ll cover it very broadly. The price of the forms depends on what you’re doing. You can build small formations from reclaimed wood with no problem, but when you start building bigger and heavier projects you want the forming material that can hold the weight and pressure.

ICF will cost more than removable wooden forms. If you’re building forms for a slab, you can estimate the wood and boards needed and have a rough estimation of the cost.

After that, you either build it yourself or ask contractors how much they are willing to build it for. Remember that cheapest here is not always the best. Also, sometimes it’s good to pay for the speed as well as a cheap contractors might end up slowing the project and causing more cost in some other place.

Rebar cost

Other materials you will need during the pouring such as reinforcement materials (plastic or wire mesh or rebar) will cost you $1-$2 per square foot of concrete.

You might want to compare the prices and see what is good and what is not. These things can come with different price tags as it is with every building material.

Ready mix delivery cost can be around $60

Pouring concrete

Once your forms are in place, now you can pour the concrete. The concrete itself will form a significant part of your project bill; plan to lay down at least $90 per cubic yard of concrete laid and $60 for delivery.

In addition to paying the actual cost of the concrete, plan to pay an addition $1 per square foot of concrete poured. This is designed to labour cost for concrete work.

If you can do the pour yourself you’ll obviously save money. If you don’t, it’s good to hire professional so your concrete slab will be solid enough to build upon.


Now, these numbers are only for projects that are just plain and simple concrete, laid for garages, sidewalks, driveways, or patios. Other fancier projects will cost more depending on the planned designs of your project.

In addition, coloring added, stains applied, etching done, or anything else extra will cause the price tag of your project to increase dramatically.

That being said, it is important to remember that despite extra touches adding extra cost, it is still less expensive than laying tile, stone, or carpet down on top of the already laid concrete.

In addition to variations in material cost and manual labor costs, how much you will pay for your concrete work also depends on the locale in which you live. If you live in a metro area where manual labor is fairly inexpensive, the price tag will be lower than it would be if you lived way out in the country and all your workers had to come from the closest city.

In addition, finding your own supplies, ordering your own concrete, and doing all the prep work yourself can also help you to save some money on an already relatively inexpensive project.

These are the basic factors that can help you answer the question, how much is concrete. No matter if it is a sidewalk, patio, driveway, garage floor, or any other concrete job.

Keep in mind the basic costs as you plan your project: supplies, including the concrete; manual labor; anything extra or fancy you plan to add to the project; and your own locale and the typical prices in your area.

With this short guide, you can better expect just what to pay when the bill arrives on your desk.