How to estimate the cost to pour concrete

Written by elton dunn
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How to estimate the cost to pour concrete
Estimate concrete costs to avoid going over budget. (eyjafjallajokull/iStock/Getty Images)

Pouring your own concrete is an easy way to refinish a garage floor, add a garden path or create your own paving stones. Both novice and experienced DIY enthusiasts will need to estimate the cost of pouring concrete before starting a new project. This ensures you get enough concrete to finish the job and prevents you from unforeseen expenses during the job. Estimating the cost to pour concrete takes research, but you'll be able to find out the cost within a couple hours.

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Things you need

  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of the area you're paving with concrete. Then determine the thickness of the concrete to get the total volume of concrete needed. For example, you might have a 300 by 60 cm (10 by 2 feet) path that needs 10 cm (4 inches) of concrete.

  2. 2

    Plug these numbers into an online concrete calculator to determine how much concrete you'll need. For example, to get 10 cm (4 inches) of thickness for our example concrete path, we would require needs 0.2 cubic metres (0.25 cubic yards) of concrete. To meet this, you would need to buy fifteen 27 kg (60 lb) bags of concrete.

  3. 3

    Consider whether you'll be mixing the concrete yourself or whether you'll want a concrete delivery. With a delivery, you'll be paying for pre-mixed concrete and labour time. This is easier but more expensive than mixing your own.

  4. 4

    Call local building merchants to determine the price for pre-mixed concrete deliveries. Let them know how much concrete you need. Skip this step if you intend to mix your own.

  5. 5

    List all other materials you'll need. Typical materials needed include gravel substrate for laying under the concrete, sand and gravel for mixing with the concrete, rebar for supporting the concrete, a squeegee to spread it, a trowel to joint it and a wheelbarrow and spade to mix it. You'll also need concrete forms, which you can buy pre-made (easier) or build from plywood and a concrete release spray for easy removal of the forms when the concrete dries. While the concrete cures you'll want to cover it with a plastic sheet.

  6. 6

    Price the ancillary materials by visiting our local hardware or home improvement shop and writing down the prices. You can also price using the retailer's website if they maintain an online inventory. If you're using bagged concrete, get the cost per bag then multiply by the number of bags needed to get the concrete cost. If you're going with pre-mixed you can skip this.

  7. 7

    Add up the cost of the supporting materials. Then add to this either the cost of the pre-mixed concrete or the bagged concrete. This will be the total cost of your concrete job.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're not sure what you need or if you have a question about supplies, ask an assistant at your local shop. They can answer questions to get your project back on track.
  • The exact amount of sand and gravel needed to mix with concrete and of gravel substrate vary by project. Consult project plans to determine what you need.

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