Concrete is a construction material made up of cement and aggregate material such as sand, pebbles, and gravel. Of all manmade materials, concrete is the one we use the most. It dates back to ancient Rome, and is such a reliable material that many of the ancient Roman structures can still be seen today. Estimating concrete costs takes into account many different considerations, but most estimates of the cost of concrete range from $75 to $250 per cubic yard.
Stained concrete is made from a chemical reaction that changes the color of the surface of the concrete. The color penetrates 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch deep. Because it is on the surface, concrete prices for stained concrete are by the square foot or yard. Acid stained concrete cost starts at about $2 to $4 per square foot. If you want to add saw cut patterns and multiple colors, the concrete prices for stained concrete can be as high as $15 a square foot.
Contractors use grinders and diamond pads to polish concrete to a hard and glass like finish. Acid stains can be applied during this process. Polished concrete cost starts at about $3 a square foot. Prices rise with the depth of the grinding or the inclusion of colors and stains to as much as $15 per square foot. Polished concrete is a great choice for high traffic areas as it is attractive and very durable.
Precast concrete is a great choice for an attractive concrete wall or for foundations.
Pre-casting is done in a factory warehouse setting, so the setting concrete is not affected by the weather. The downside of pre-casting is that the concrete slab must be moved, and one cubic foot of concrete typically weighs 150 pounds. A square foot of precast concrete slab will typically cost $7.40 per square foot depending on the thickness.
Exposed aggregate is durable and slip resistant. It is useful for sidewalks and pool decks. It is also a visually striking contrast to smooth concrete. Kool Deck, which is a common surface used to provide a slip resistant surface around a pool, is a common application of exposed aggregate. Concrete prices for exposed aggregate are comparable to smooth concrete. It is less expensive than stamped concrete, but more expensive than smooth or stained concrete. Concrete cost will vary according to regions and application.
Pervious concrete is a special highly porous type of concrete that allows water to pass through and run off. It is great for driveways, walkways, and any application where water accumulation would be troublesome. Pervious concrete helps eliminate the need for constructing a storm water management system. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends pervious concrete for managing storm water runoff. Pervious concrete cost will be about 15% more than standard concrete, but will be mitigated by the cost savings for storm water management.
Concrete pad cost is calculated by determining the length and width and depth of the concrete needed. Concrete pad cost for a 30 foot by 30 foot concrete pad that is 4 inches thick would be the cost for 11 cubic yards of concrete, or $825 to $1000. The cost of concrete will be more for a thicker pad. That does not include labor costs, although pouring a pad can be a do it yourself project.
The cost of concrete delivery varies regionally, and is affected by the cost of fuel in the area. As an alternative to delivery, some companies provide tow away concrete trailers that can be hooked up to the back of a truck and hauled to the project site. A homeowner working on a resurfacing project can cut costs substantially by finding one of these companies and picking up their own ready mix concrete trailer. Because of the primefactor in setting concrete, make sure that any concrete delivered to your site is fresh, and definitely not older than two hours.
Pumping is a reliable way of moving concrete. It is also sometimes the only alternative when pouring will not get the job done. In high rise applications, or any project where the chute from the concrete truck will not reach where the concrete is needed, pumping is the best option. It is an easier and faster way to apply concrete, and thus can be more economical as well. For projects on a tight budget, pumping might be a better option.
Pouring concrete is the most commonly used method for applying concrete, especially for surface applications like driveways and sidewalks. Because of the time sensitivity of concrete, pouring is not always the best option, especially in situations where the truck cannot get close enough to the project. For example, pumping might be better option than pouring for a backyard project if the truck can only get as close as the home’s driveway. Concrete trucks are very heavy, and will not do well driving into a backyard area.
Concrete removal cost is affected by the recycling fees in the area for concrete. The concrete removal cost for an average driveway is about $2000. The concrete removal cost for a do it yourself project would include the rental of a jackhammer at about $100 a day. Concrete disposal cost is a large part of any do it yourself concrete project. Concrete slab removal cost for a house foundation can be as much as $5000.
Concrete demolition projects often require a permit from the local government, adding $25 to the cost of the project.
An inspection might also be required to verify the security of sewer mains and utilities depending on the project location. Recycling can save money on a demolition project by saving the cost of transportation to a landfill and the typical disposal costs of $100 per ton of concrete. Concrete demolition is a hazardous activity, and safety precautions must be taken seriously. Safety goggles, masks, ear plugs, and steel toe shoes are all highly recommended.
Cutting concrete is very hard work, requiring the use of a large concrete saw and a sledgehammer. Concrete cutting is necessary for projects where door openings need to be widened, or to make changes in the shape and function of driveways and sidewalks. Concrete cutting is a project best left for a professional, due to the specialized tools needed and the safety issues involved.
Estimating concrete cost per yard is not an easy task. There are too many factors that go into determining the cost. The grading, the sub base, and the kind of reinforcement needed all go into calculating concrete cost per yard. The national average concrete cost per cubic yard in 2008 was $75. Concrete prices are affected by the rises in transportation costs and other costs as well, so that national average concrete cost might be higher today than it was a few years ago or even yesterday.
It can be difficult to estimate concrete cost per foot, because the thickness will affect the cost of concrete. Companies usually estimate concrete cost per cubic yard or foot, not by square yard or foot. To determine concrete prices by cubic foot, take the concrete prices by cubic yard and divide them by 27. Using the concrete prices of $75 per cubic yard, the national average cost of concrete per cubic foot is $2.78. One cubic foot is a very small amount, and you will be better off buying a bag at your local home improvement store if this is all you need.
Concrete steps cost less if you do them yourself. Making concrete stairs is just a matter of building the form or frame and then pouring the concrete. If you need steps for the entrance to a home, you can purchase all the concrete you need at a home improvement store. Do it yourself projects reduce the price of the project to the cost of concrete without needing to pay for labor or transportation.
A concrete sidewalk is a great place to use either exposed aggregate or pervious concrete. Exposed aggregate provides slip resistance, but pervious concrete also allows for the run off of storm water which will quicken the drying process for the sidewalk. Precast concrete might also be an option, depending on the expected weather in the area where the sidewalk is going to be constructed. Concrete prices for a sidewalk will be a little higher for thicker pours of concrete.
Concrete resurfacing is an economical alternative to replacing a concrete surface. High traffic surfaces like driveways occasionally need to be resurfaced. A 300 square foot surface can be covered by about a 5 gallon bucket of concrete, at 20 dollars. The tools and materials are available at any home improvement or tool rental store. Resurfacing gives the look of brand new concrete without the cost of completely replacing the concrete. Resurfacing is not a good option in situations of severe damage or concrete that has sunk due to shifting soil.
The concrete cost of any project is determined mostly by the concrete mix. Many companies will arrive at the location of your project with a ready mix of concrete to be poured for you. Or, you can save money on smaller projects by purchasing bags of concrete mix. A delivery of ready mix concrete will be charged by the cubic yard, and will cost about $80 per yard delivered. When ordering, add about five percent and round up to account for any spillage.