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How to Estimate Concrete Costs

28 Jan 2019, Posted by F.A. in Concrete Forms

When building a home or supervising a workplace renovation, one thing is for certain – you’re going to need a lot of concrete at the worksite!

Concrete purchase cost estimation entails much more than just including the price of concrete per meter. There are multiple variables at play, from surface preparation to reinforcement materials, all the way to the finishing textures.

Accurate calculation of the cost is very difficult because cost specifics vary from project to project and there are several extraneous factors at play. However, you can get a rough estimate by calculating some of the variables.

We’ll take the mystery out of ordering ready-mix concrete from a company so that you can order it with ease and calculate an approximate amount that is pretty close to the actual cost figure.

Per Yard Cost Estimation

The most significant impact on the cost estimate is that of the price of concrete – whether you decide on using ready-mix concrete or any other type of concrete. Prices among different classes of concrete vary and you need to be aware of the type you want to use.

Local concrete suppliers can provide you with customized quotes once you brief them about the details of your project specifications and the delivery location. Generally, concrete pricing is quoted on per cubic yard or per cubic meter.

Cost of Surface Preparation or Concrete Sub-Grade Work

Typically, concrete can be applied to a surface and left to harden over, but some surfaces, such as soil, do not react as well to concrete and need to be sub-graded or prepared for concrete application.

If you are planning to pour concrete over soil, the surface will require prior preparation or sub-gradation. Surface prep costs are affected by a number of parameters, including grading, compacting soil, excavating, and trenching among other components.

While some surfaces require minor tweaks that won’t cost much, there are special surfaces which require additional work to be prepared and leveled – which will raise the cost for surface prep.

Additional Site Work or Extra Sub-Grade Work

Uneven surfaces which are not leveled can prove to be a nuisance during construction, and you may need to shell out a few extra dollars for site work, which will include preparing the site.

Site work may include excavating and filling the site with a suitable material to provide the terrain for a much-needed structure bearing strength, and to remove any soft spot which can collapse and cause irreparable damage to the proposed structure.

Filling material usually consists of sand, but contractors may be inclined to use some other material – adding to the cost of the sand (calculated per cubic yard or meter) as well as the transport of the filling material.

Additional site work may also include purchasing polyurethane plastic or vapor barrier which need to be installed before concrete is placed in the structure.

Cost of Concrete Formworks

Concrete formworks are crucial to a construction process as they are used in pouring concrete – which is why they represent a significant portion of your complete estimate of the on-site concrete work.

Formworks are of various types; from wood-framed to insulated concrete forms – and the costs differ from type to type as well as your decision to purchase them or rent them. Bigger projects find it economically feasible to buy formworks rather than rent them.

Concrete formworks are one of the most labor-intensive subtasks of the construction job as a whole, and there are several other variable costs attached to the formwork cost. The linked costs include labor wages, formwork material transportation, formwork material release product, and whether you are re-using form material and if yes, then the cost to repair used formwork.

Cost of Finish Concrete

Unlike conventional construction, modern-day construction includes various different types of concrete finishing designs. Concrete may be finished in many different ways, such as smooth surface, exposed aggregate surface or stamped concrete finish.

Finishes may also depend on the surfaces on which concrete is applied – some surfaces only require a strike-off and screen to provide a complete contour and elevation. Whereas some surfaces require more hard work and the construction plan may specify that the surface shall be given a broomed, floated, or troweled finish.

Concrete finish pricing depends mainly on the complexity of the specified finish, but other variables such as the cost of curing compound or the cost of the finish testing service may be added to the total.

Cost of Reinforcing the Concrete

The need for safer and stronger structures has led to revolutionary innovations in the construction space. Nowadays, concrete is reinforced with a wide variety of strong and crack-resistant materials which enable it to bear heightened pressure without cracking and breaking off.

The most common types of reinforcements include rebar, wire mesh, plastic mesh, and fiber – added to increase the durability and reliability of the concrete mix. Standard reinforcing materials do not cost a fortune and are generally estimated per square foot. However, the cost may rise for larger sizes and larger rebar diameter or if your contractor opts for a special reinforcement material.