It is a common misconception, but concrete isn’t sold by the ton, it is actually sold by the cubic metre. This allows the purchaser and the ready mix concrete supplier to talk the same language. The builder needs concrete to fill a certain volume and he or she buys that volume rather than having to convert it to a weight. The weight of the ready-made concrete mix is what the supplier is interested in when he calculates the concrete delivery prices because a ready mix cement truck is licenced to carry weight rather than volume.
Although ready mix cement is not the same as ready-mix concrete as the latter is used more in structural applications, for the purposes of this article, they can be regarded as the same. The only significant differences between the two products are the size of the aggregate as an ingredient and the various chemicals and reinforcing additives added to the final mix.
If mathematics isn’t your strong point, there is no need to be alarmed. A concrete price calculator will simplify the task immensely. As mentioned elsewhere in this article the cost of a concrete delivery may vary considerably as many different factors are involved. The price depends on the quality, the number and types of additives to the mix as well as the type and size of aggregate and any reinforcement such as fibreglass added at the mix stage. Having said that the average concrete user only needs to know if a certain grade of concrete is suitable for a specific job and this is where the ‘C’ numbers mentioned previously are so useful An indicative cost of the ready-made concrete mix depending on compressive strength is shown in the following table.
|Concrete Type||Price per m3 (excluding VAT)|
Please remember that these figures are purely indicative and the cost of ready mix concrete will vary depending on the part of the country you are in, the distance travelled to deliver the load, costs of additives, offloading time, availability of ingredients and any extras such as concrete pumps. The costs of these various factors can fluctuate from week to week so always contact your local ready mix concrete supplier and ask for an accurate quotation and be prepared to say what the concrete is for so that the ‘C’ number can be determined.
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Concrete Prices Depend on the Type of Concrete
“Surely concrete is concrete?”, I hear you ask. Actually, the relative amounts of cement, aggregate and water together with any additives can be altered to provide concrete with different properties. Because of this, the ready mix concrete price per cubic metre (and this is the same with a ready mix cement price too) will vary depending on the structural strength and ‘mixability’ of the concrete mix. Prices will vary depending on the purpose for which the concrete is used. A certain volume of a concrete driveway costs a different amount of money to the same volume of a concrete garage floor, costs of structural concrete for foundations and the cost of concrete for non-structural applications such as a garden path. Because of this concrete is often characterised by a ‘C’ number. The number directly after the ‘C’ (such as C8, C25 and C45 etc) is the compressive strength of the concrete expressed in MPa. To put it even simpler, C8 concrete has a compressive strength of 8MPa whereas C45 concrete has a compressive strength of 45MPa.The various compressive strengths will be suitable for different projects depending on how much weight the concrete is expected to support. If in doubt as to which ‘C’ number is applicable for your project, consult a structural civil engineer for advice.
Saving Money on Flooring & Ready Mix Concrete
There are quite a few ways to save money when it comes to laying a concrete floor.
- Have everything ready before the ready-mix truck delivery arrives. Make sure you have enough people to help, the correct tools, the correct number of wheelbarrows.
- Ensure the place where the concrete floor is going to be laid is prepared properly and to the correct levels. Even a few centimetres below level will increase the amount of concrete needed considerably.
- Decide beforehand what kind of finish you want the floor to have. Is it going to be afloat finish, polished or textured? Each one of these will need different methods of finishing and different levels of skill to produce the finished effect.
Concrete Flooring Cost FAQs
- How accurate should I be with volume measurements? When ordering concrete, ask for a little bit more than you actually need. If you miscalculate and need a second truckload, the cost of ready mix concrete for the project will increase significantly and there will be a lot of wastage.
- What do I do with any concrete left over? Ordering a bit more than you need, to be on the safe side often means you have some leftover. Don’t waste the concrete, have a plan for it, such as a garden path or a It won’t matter what ‘C’ number is used for these jobs so you can mix them up a bit if necessary.
- What about manpower? The cost of ready mix concrete includes delivery and pouring only. In other words, the driver won’t help you lay the concrete. Depending on the project size, you’ll need a helper or two to help with finishing work.
- How do I get the concrete from the truck to the job site? Usually, the ready-mix cement truck’s chutes and a wheelbarrow are sufficient. Depending on the distance from the road to the job site and any slopes in between, some jobs will need a concrete pump or extension pipes, these will cost more.
- How do I work out the amount of concrete needed? Look online for a concrete cost calculator. There are plenty around and there are even some that will help work out the costs involved with specific projects such as a concrete driveway calculator, a concrete floor cost calculator and a concrete foundations calculator.
- Is there a minimum amount of ready mix concrete I can buy? Bear in mind that the ready-mix truck will cost the owner to deliver even a tiny amount and he has to recoup that cost. Therefore, expect a minimum amount to be about 2 or 3 cubic metres. If you require less than this, consider the possibility of mixing it yourself with a cement mixer.