How Much Does Concrete Cost?

Doug Enright 

When planning any home improvement project, there are a multitude of factors to consider, from the time frame of the project to whether or not it should be done “DIY” or through a contractor. Unsurprisingly, the first thing many homeowners ask themselves during the planning phase is: how much will this cost?

Concrete is no different, and seeing as how it is utilized across a broad range of construction and home improvement projects, it’s something that virtually every homeowner will have to work with at some point. When that time comes, concrete cost will inevitably be a major determining factor.

So, How Much Does a Yard of Concrete Cost?

Truthfully, there’s no set answer, as the cost of a concrete project varies widely depending on the size and scope involved. The more common considerations when calculating concrete cost are as follows:

  • Raw materials. While the cost of an 80 pound bag of concrete mix (such as Quickrete or Sakrete) hovers around $4 - $8, material costs vary much more widely when a concrete contractor is involved.
  • Transportation cost. Whether you’re packing your own vehicle full of concrete bags to haul home, or relying on a contractor to transport the concrete mix, transportation cost must be taken into account. 
  • Subgrade and subbase cost. In many cases, concrete projects require preparation of the subgrade and subbase soil. Subgrade refers to the natural soil in the area that must be compacted before concrete can be poured. Subbase is the additional layer of aggregate or soil added on top of the preexisting soil layer.
  • Labor. Concrete projects are no simple task, and are often significantly physically demanding. While taking a DIY approach can reduce overall labor cost, a shoddy concrete pour by an inexperienced homeowner can lead to even larger expenditures down the road for repair or replacement. 
  • Additional additives. Depending on the environment of the area, additives may increase the cost of the overall mix. For example, concrete mixes often include the addition of accelerants to increase curing time in cold weather, while retardants reduce curing time in hot weather.
  • Reinforcement. To prevent cracking, reinforcement is necessary in many concrete scenarios. Wire mesh, rebar, and fiber are all commonly-used reinforcements in concrete pours.
  • Stamping, staining, and polishing. Aesthetic upgrades to a concrete project--such as staining the concrete for color, stamping a design pattern onto it, or polishing it to a fine shine--will add to the overall cost of a project. 
  • Demand. As is the case with all products, demand for concrete in your area will affect the price tag of concrete and concrete services.

In the concrete industry, prices are often calculated by the yard. A cubic yard of concrete costs anywhere from $90 - $120 or more, depending on the aforementioned (and other) factors. One cubic yard of concrete amounts to 27 cubic feet, or enough to pour a 100 square foot patio with 3” of depth. Keep in mind, however, that a minimum of 4” of depth is recommended for concrete walkways, patios, and driveways. 

While some contractors include the total cost of materials, transportation, labor, etc. into their per-yard cost, most are hesitant to do this as unforeseen additional costs almost always spring up in a concrete project.

Delivery fees for concrete hover around $60 per load, while labor costs typically fall somewhere within $45 - $50 per hour. These are important considerations when determining whether or not to pour the concrete yourself. A homeowner with a small, manageable project who has worked with concrete before may be better off going DIY, but for larger, more complex projects, a professional concrete company is recommended. 

For particularly large projects, a concrete contractor can actually end up being a cheaper option than DIY. Concrete companies buy their raw materials in bulk, so larger amounts often end up costing less to the consumer than they would if purchased elsewhere. 

On the opposing end, beware of short load fees associated with concrete companies, who will charge extra for a load of concrete that doesn’t fill their truck completely. Short load fees are often indicators that hauling the concrete yourself may be a better option.

As you can see, the cost of concrete is never “set in stone”! There are up to a dozen or more factors that must be considered in every concrete project that will affect cost. When utilizing a professional concrete company, be sure to conduct thorough research into their costs vs. their competitors, as well as their reputation for being honest. 

At Enright Companies, we pride ourselves on being upfront and transparent to our customers regarding project costs. We work with each customer to ensure that the cost on their end is minimized without compromising the quality of the job. To learn more about our concrete services and to obtain a free estimate, contact us today.

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