How much concrete do I need?
“How much concrete do I need?” is a frequently asked question by new concrete contractors. There’s more than one answer to that question, actually. Concrete contractors should know more about the materials they’re using before they start pouring a concrete batch. There’s more than one kind of concrete that can be used in the same project, so knowing the right type is critical.
Most contractors adhere to a standard four-inch aggregate rule when calculating the amount of concrete they need. This means that they’ll mix an aggregate amount of sand, two parts cement and one part sand. While these factors are fairly standard, water percentages can vary some, especially if water is added to the mix at different stag
es of mixing. Some of the other factors that help dictate how much concrete you need include…
- You can get a concrete calculator, which can usually be plugged into your project
management software. The concrete calculator will help you calculate how much concrete you’ll need by estimating the volume of your concrete slab and the specific mixture required. You can enter the concrete volume in inches, feet or cubic yards. Once you’ve determined how much concrete you’ll need, you can plugin your concrete dimensions and even adjust the slabs for straightness, thickness or width.
- You can determine what color and density you want your concrete to be. Most concrete contractors use a yellowish color because it’s less opaque and shows up well in photos. If you’re choosing a color that shows up better in pictures, choose one with a light or pastel color. The density of a concrete product is expressed as a percentage in concrete volume; higher numbers mean more weight will be required to hold the same volume.
- You can easily get a rough estimate of how much concrete prices will run you. Most concrete prices are based on square footage, so the larger the area you need, the higher the estimated cost. Most concrete contractors will quote you an average cost for a one-acre project, but the actual cost may vary depending on the amount of materials you choose, the size and shape of your projects and how much you are able to borrow or obtain.
There are three main factors that determine concrete prices: the amount of material needed, the size and type of material used and the labor required.
- The number of materials used and the size of projects will affect how much concrete you need.
- Concrete is measured in cubic yards, which is a measure of space divided by the height of the foundation. You’ll need enough concrete to fully cover your floor and around the outside of your structure.
How much concrete you need also depends on the thickness of the material you use.
- Thickness varies according to the cement mix and the type of mixture used, so check with your concrete contractor.
- Concrete thickness is expressed in cubic yards per cubic foot, so be sure you know what this number is before you get started. The thickness of concrete may be different if it’s being used for a pool or water fountain and has to withstand chlorine and other chemicals often found in water features.
You can either purchase or make your own mixture of cement, so do some research to find out which mixes work best for your needs.