Ready-mix concrete is an essential part of many construction sites, from driveway renovations to back-garden patio overhauls. Unlike some other construction materials, it can be hard to know exactly what type you need, and vitally, how much.
In this article, we’ll be covering:
- How much concrete costs
- What affects the cost of concrete
- How to save money on concrete
- How to know if concrete is the right choice for your project
- How to find and hire someone to pour concrete
If you have an upcoming project that requires concrete and you want to get clued up before getting started, keep reading to find out everything you need to know to get your job running smoothly.
How Much Does Concrete Cost?
To get the best ready mixed concrete prices, it’s essential to do your homework and ensure adequate preparations have been made. Planning for every eventuality is vital so concrete isn’t wasted and you don’t end up making a very expensive error.
Below are the most common concrete types, along with their estimated costs.
|CONCRETE STRENGTH||POTENTIAL USES||ESTIMATED COST PER CUBIC METRE (M3)|
|C8/C10/C15||Light domestic projects||£85 to £95 per cubic metre|
|C20||Standard domestic projects||£90 to £100 per cubic metre|
|C25||Light domestic buildings||£100 to £105 per cubic metre|
|C30||Medium domestic buildings||£95 to £110 per cubic metre|
|C35||Commercial buildings||£100 to £115 per cubic metre|
|C40||Heavy weight commercial buildings||£100 to £120 per cubic metre|
|Dry Screed||Levelling existing concrete surfaces||From £130 per cubic metre|
|Waterproof Concrete||Below ground projects||From £190 per cubic metre|
|Self-Levelling Concrete||Repairing, levelling, or raising existing concrete floors||From £200 per cubic metre|
|Line pump||From £300|
|Boom pump||From £450|
Ready-mixed concrete is sold by volume, so it’s essential to know the area you’re filling. The price of concrete depends on many factors, including where you’re located and the type you’ve ordered.
C8/C10/C15 for light domestic projects has an estimated cost of £85 to £95 per cubic metre, while C20 – good for standard domestic projects – comes in at £90 to £100 per cubic metre.
C25 is the right mix for light domestic buildings, coming in at £100 to £105 per cubic metre, and C30, suitable for medium domestic buildings, has a price point of between £95 to £110 per cubic metre.
Moving onto commercial strength concrete, C35 comes in at between £100 to £115 per cubic metre, and then C40 (stronger commercial strength concrete) has a price tag of £100 to £120 per cubic metre.
Further to the concrete, you may also need some other materials to complete your job. Dry screed, for example, which is used for levelling existing concrete surfaces starts at £130 per cubic metre.
Waterproof concrete for below-ground projects starts at £190 per cubic metre, and self-levelling concrete has a cost of in excess of £200 per cubic metre.
To deliver the concrete around your worksite, you may need to enlist the help of either a line pump or boom pump, depending on the size of your site. These start at £300 and £450 respectively.
Concrete prices can quickly spiral out of control if you don’t factor in delivery expenses. It’s important to talk to suppliers about your needs and they’ll be able to help you determine the best time for delivery.
To make scheduling as efficient as possible, companies don’t want to wait on-site for an extended period of time. It takes about five minutes to unload each cubic metre, and an additional 10 minutes overall to prepare and sign off paperwork – any delay can result in costly extra fees.
Are you ready to start your concrete project? HouseholdQuotes can help you find the right concrete tradespeople.
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What Affects the Cost of Concrete?
There are a few essential facts to understand before you go ahead and order your ready-mixed concrete.
Firstly, concrete comes in a variety of types and densities, and different products will suit different projects. In addition, mixes can vary by colour and texture, so it’s important to know the finish you want from the outset.
These variations will all affect the price, so expect to pay more for anything other than a basic product.
How Much Concrete You Need
Concrete is sold in cubic metres, so it’s important to have worked this out before you start contacting suppliers.
A standard rectangle is fairly easy to calculate, but if the area being covered is more complex, you’ll need to break it down into various shapes and work out the volumes appropriately. Luckily there are a lot of online calculators to help with this, and it’s a good idea to use several for the same sums to ensure you’ve got the right figure.
The Strength of Concrete You Need
There are strict regulations on the density of concrete required for different areas. For example, a house foundation where only foot traffic occurs doesn’t need as much concrete as a driveway or garage floor.
As a general rule, areas that need to withstand heavy vehicle use require 25% more concrete, which will impact your project’s fee.
For light domestic projects, you’ll need C8/C10/C15, and for standard domestic projects, C20 will be a better match.
For medium domestic buildings, you’ll want C30, while anything commercial will see you look to C35 or C40 instead. Typically, the stronger the concrete, the higher the price.
Accounting for Excess
One of the most important things to remember when buying ready-mixed concrete is to account for potential wastage, spreading and spillage.
This means you need to buy between five and 10% more than you need. There’s nothing worse than discovering you haven’t got enough concrete when half the slab has been spread and it’s already starting to dry.
The Wetness of Your Concrete
You’ll also need to agree to a certain moisture level with your concrete supplier. The wetter it is, the easier it is to spread.
If your concrete needs to be wetter than average, you should expect to pay an extra £2 per cubic metre because the supplier will need to add more cement to maintain the concrete’s strength.
However, you can always add water on-site if needed, and it’s better to opt for a drier mix than something that’s too wet – just don’t add water yourself, as it needs to be done precisely by professionals to make sure the strength is maintained.
How Your Concrete is Delivered
Depending on the size of your project site, you’ll need the assistance of machinery to get your concrete delivered in the first place.
A barrow is as it sounds – the concrete is poured into a barrow to transport the concrete from the kerbside to your site. This is ideal for smaller projects.
Moving up the size scale, you may need to enlist a line or boom pump. These are both tools that help to precisely move volumes of concrete around a worksite, aided by machinery.
How Can I Save Money on Concrete?
Comparing quotes is a great way to potentially reduce the cost of your concrete project. HouseholdQuotes can help you get quotes from multiple concrete pourers near you, so that you can find someone that suits your budget.
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Thankfully, there are a few ways to keep the cost of concrete down, which we’ll share with you now.
It goes without saying – getting your calculations right in the first place will save you from over-ordering and paying for more concrete than you need, which you’ll then have to pay to have removed.
The simpler your design aspirations, the lower your costs. If you are working to a strict budget, keep it all one level and without fancy bordering, as it’ll keep your costs down.
If you’re feeling especially handy, you can try to lay the concrete yourself – but this comes with caution, and should only be attempted by someone with considerable DIY skills. Doing this can cut out your labour costs, reducing your overall costs.
Is Concrete the Right Choice for My Project?
There are a lot of building materials out there – but how do you know if concrete is the right choice for your project? Let’s take a closer look at the main advantages and disadvantages of the material.
|Strong, able to bend to a multitude of shapes||Responsible for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions|
|Resilient and with good longevity||Susceptible to cracking|
|Concrete can’t burn, rust, or rot||Some maintenance is required over the material’s lifetime|
|Thermal mass helps to moderate interior temperatures, giving an estimated 8% reduction in heating and cooling costs over the structure’s lifetime||Strength can be affected negatively if the ratio for the mix is incorrect|
Starting with the positives first, the main point is that concrete is strong and able to bend to a multitude of shapes, being widely known for its resilience and longevity. Concrete doesn’t burn, rust or rot, making it a durable option for structures, and the thermal mass of concrete helps to moderate interior temperatures, offering a reduction in heating and cooling costs by up to 8% over the structure’s lifetime.
Looking to the disadvantages next, it’s good to note that concrete is responsible for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions. The material can be susceptible to cracking, meaning a level of maintenance will be required, and as concrete is mixed afresh for each project, if the calculations are off slightly it can mean there’s a reduction in the strength. It’s not necessarily easy to know this when looking at the viscosity, but you’ll see the impact of it over the material’s lifetime.
How Do I Find and Hire Someone to Pour Concrete?
Finding the right concrete pourer can be challenging. At HouseholdQuotes, we can connect you to concrete tradespeople in your area.
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The best option in the first instance is to seek recommendations from family, friends, and neighbours.
Has someone on your street recently had concrete poured to create a new driveway? Simply asking them if they’d recommend their trader is a great way to find a potential trader – or to know who to avoid if they were no good.
Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
A written quote is always the first step, making sure you find out if there’s a minimum charge as some concrete suppliers have a minimum fee for delivery which can bump up the cost of your otherwise affordable material.
Much like a job interview, finding out the company’s experience is especially useful. See their past projects – have they done driveways, patios, and flooring before, and what were the results like?
Seek out references from past customers, and see photos or videos of their projects to understand if their work is what you’re looking for.
Finally, they should carry insurance, but it’s best to double-check this before you get started.
If you want to get started on your project, here’s our final checklist for you to use to make sure the hiring and work process goes smoothly:
- Decide if concrete is right for your project
- Understand the strength you need – or ask a professional to ascertain that for you
- Determine the volume you need, either using online calculators or the help of a professional to calculate it for you
- Get a written quote, ensuring to find out if there’s a minimum call-out fee
- Seek out references and photos of past jobs
Use HouseholdQuotes to find local concrete pourers and potentially save money on your concrete project.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Premixed Concrete the Cheapest Option?
Using premixed concrete can help you from over-ordering as you can buy exactly what you need and only pay for the amount you use.
How Do I Calculate How Much Concrete I Need?
Knowing the exact volume of concrete needed to complete a job can be daunting, but thankfully there are online calculators which will help do the heavy lifting for you.
A good tip is to use multiple calculators to ensure you’ve got the right amount consistently reported. If you’re in doubt, asking a professional to do the sums for you will ensure you get the right amount the first time.
How Much Does a Concrete Driveway Cost?
Depending on the complexity of your design, and the size of your driveway, the cost of a concrete driveway can vary from £1,200 to £4,000.
For full information and guides, see our pages on patterned concrete driveways and stone concrete paving costs.
Is It Possible To Buy Part Loads of Concrete?
A typical cement truck is estimated to carry around six cubic metres of concrete. If you have a partial load, you could incur a fee empty cubic metre.
As an alternative, ready-mix trailers can sometimes be hired. These carry up to 1 and three-quarter cubic metres can be attached to a pick-up truck and work out cheaper.
What’s the Cost of a Polished Concrete Floor?
With polished concrete floors, you’ll first have to pay for the cost of the concrete itself, and then for the polishing of the material once it’s set and laid.
Installation costs between £100 to £130 per square metre, and polishing thereafter costs £50 per square metre. Take a look at our page on polished concrete flooring costs for full information.
Are There Different Strengths of Concrete?
There are different strengths of concrete that are suitable for different types of building projects.
Light domestic projects can use C8/C10/C15, and standard domestic projects can use C20. Medium domestic buildings use C30 commonly, and then commercial strength will be C35 and C40.
If you’re unsure on which type of concrete is right for your project, speak to your trader so they can give professional advice so you get it right the first time.
Can I Mix Concrete Myself?
The margin for error when mixing concrete is tight, so if you are in doubt, it’s best to speak to a professional who can ensure the mix is right for your project and will perform well.
For more information on concrete mixes, take a look at our guide here.
How Much Does a Concrete Shed Base Cost?
Concrete-based sheds are durable and a common choice for those who want a sturdy base to their shed able to withstand machinery. Depending on your choice of concrete slabs or pouring concrete, your price will alter, ranging between £200 to £600 for the concrete base alone.
For more information, look at our concrete shed base costs page here.
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