When the concrete truck shows up at your project, how much concrete can you expect to be in that truck?
The first question that you will need to ask yourself is my concrete project big enough that it makes sense to buy my concrete by the truckload? This may not be as hard as you think. Any substantial project that will need 10 yards of concrete or more will be cheaper to buy per cubic yard. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about concrete by the fully loaded concrete truck and concrete costs.
How much is a cubic yard of concrete?
If you want to compare it to the bags of concrete you can buy at the store, it will take 90 45lb bags, 60 60lb bags, or 45 80lb bags of concrete mix per cubic yard of ready mix concrete. If you want to compare it in square footage, a cubic yard of concrete will cover between 54 and 81 square feet, depending on how thick you pour it.
Although we measure construction in feet and inches or even a square foot or square inch, concrete is measured in cubic yards. To convert feet to square yards, you will need to do a simple math calculation. To determine cubic feet take the square feet of your project (length x width), then multiply that by the desired depth of your project converted to feet (this will give you the cubic feet), and finally divide that number by 27 (the number of cubic feet in a cubic yard).
For example, if we were going to pour a 10 x 10 patio, we would take 10 x 10, giving us 100 square feet. We will assume that 100 and multiply it by .33 for the 4 inches of the desired thickness of our finished pad, which will now give us 33 cubic feet. And finally, divide it by 27, which provides us with 1.22 yards of concrete.
You will also want to add approximately 10% to the final total to account for any spillage, loss, or miscalculations.
(Length x Width) x (Depth in inches /12) / 27 = total cubic yards of concrete.
How many yards does a concrete truck hold?
Most concrete trucks will carry 8 yards of concrete but can hold ten cubic yards if it is a full truck. There are larger and smaller trucks than this, but this is the average size. This is a perfect size when doing average residential work such as patios, steps, and smaller driveways. These trucks average around 20,000 to 30,000 pounds and can carry upwards of 40,000 pounds of concrete.
There are concrete trucks that can carry more, but these are generally found on large commercial sites. These can hold 14 yards of concrete or more. The concrete will need to be poured quickly on large commercial or industrial projects, and these trucks work much better. A single footing for a large project such as a bridge footing could take 100 yards or more for a single pour as well as utilizing entire teams of concrete pros.
There are also mini ready mix concrete trucks that hold around 4 yards of concrete. These are excellent for smaller jobs that don’t need a fully loaded concrete truck delivered to the job. They are the perfect cement truck if the concrete is required in tight spaces, such as cramped city streets or a small backyard. Their smaller size makes them much more maneuverable in those types of situations. Their size is also beneficial if the weight limits where the bigger ready mix concrete truck could go.
How will I be charged for the concrete?
Usually, the concrete company will charge you a certain amount per cubic yard. This number can vary depending on demand and where you are located. The concrete cost could range anywhere from $100 to $150 per yard.
There will also be a concrete delivery charge. This is usually a flat rate charge to cover the high cost of fuel and the time spent to load the concrete truck, deliver the concrete, and drop off the mixed concrete once they are at the job site. Most companies will charge for their time if it takes too long, adding to the total cost. It is common to have a company begin to charge an hourly rate for every hour spent at the job site after the first hour.
There is also what is called a short load. A short load is what a small load of concrete is called. It is common to be anywhere from 1 to 9 cubic yards of concrete and is sometimes mixed on-site. It is also common for concrete companies to charge an extra fee for delivering such a small load. When pouring a concrete slab, or large projects, it is better to order equally sized loads if you need a more significant number, such as 13 or 14 yards of ready mix concrete. That will save you from a time overage and a short load fee and give you more time to work with each pour instead of having an overly large pour first.
What do I need to have done when the concrete arrives?
When you have the concrete delivered, you should be ready for it to arrive or be very close. Fully loaded cement trucks will not want to wait around on you, and you will start getting charged by the hour, adding to your final cost. You will need to have your gravel placed and compacted, you will need to have your forms done, your steel rebar in place, and all of your equipment ready to finish the concrete.
When you call your trusted concrete provider, they should be willing to have a representative come to your property and discuss what you will need in the concrete itself and how many cubic yards you may need.
What will the concrete company need to know?
When you call the concrete company, they will most likely have questions that they will ask you. But to help the process go smoothly, make sure that you know how many cubic yards of concrete you will need, let them know the intended purpose is if you want to stamp it or leave it smooth, and how long you plan to be working with the product.
The company will need to know how many cubic yards of concrete you will need to ensure they bring the right amount without waste and without shorting you. You have added the 10% extra for waste and mismeasurements when you tell the company how much you need. You will want to have a bit leftover concrete as possible.
They will need to know what the purpose of the concrete is. For example, a driveway will need different mixtures than a foundation wall. The mixed concrete is not all the same and will be mixed with your specific purpose, which means they will need a good idea of what you expect it to do. Will it be a smooth shop floor, a driveway left outside, or steps leading up to your home? All of these things can attribute to different aspects of the concrete.
If you intend to stamp the concrete, you must let the representative know. This will mean that they will have to make sure the concrete will dry slower to allow you the extra time to stamp it before it dries out.
The time you expect to work with it will work similarly. If you are only using yourself or just one or two other guys on a 10-yard pour, or a fully loaded cement truck, you will have a lot of trouble finishing it before it begins to dry. You should discuss this with your representative and, if need be, have them mix a slower drying concrete to help you have the time to finish the concrete before it dries out properly.
Will I need support in the concrete?
This will depend on what type of concrete project you are doing and how thick it is. If you are pouring a concrete slab, which is one of the most common places to see support, then it will come down to the thickness of the concrete slab. If you are pouring a 4-inch thick concrete slab, you will probably not need to add rebar or mesh.
If you are pouring a five or 6-inch concrete slab, you will probably need to add in metal support. That can be a rebar grid or a wire mesh that you will pour concrete over.
There are plenty of other structure types that will also need metal support. If you are unsure whether you will or will not need metal supports, you should discuss it with a concrete contractor to ensure that you will have a properly completed project.
How to choose which concrete company to use?
The problem with ordering concrete is a time limit or a rotation limit for the concrete in the truck. A concrete truck is similar to a cement mixer, and once the concrete is mixed, the company will need to have it poured out of their truck within a specific time, or else it is no good anymore. If they have to add more water to the mix, it can result in weaker concrete.
If you choose a concrete company that is too far away, this can cause additional costs. They may charge you more for the delivery due to the time it will take and the chance of wasted product. According to the American Concrete Institute, concrete must be discharged from the truck within an hour and a half from the mix, or three hundred revolutions, whichever comes first.
It will help if you are looking for concrete companies close to you to help ensure that you do not waste products or take unnecessary charges. But, there is more to picking a concrete company than just location.
Location: Due to the time constraints, location will be a significant factor when choosing a concrete company.
Referrals: Talk to the people at the local hardware stores, or if you know any contractors that commonly use concrete contractors, you can ask them for referrals.
Other referrals: If you didn’t get any referrals from the hardware store or don’t know any concrete contractors, you could get a few concrete companies’ numbers out of the phone book. Make sure they are pretty close to the location of your project and give them a call. Ask them if they can give you some referrals to customers of theirs so that you can make sure they are going to be a good fit for your project.
Call the referrals: Now that you have some people’s names and numbers, give them a call. You will want to ask them questions similar to these.
- Did you receive your concrete on time?
- Was it mixed correctly?
- How would you rate their service?
- Have there been any problems with the concrete since it was poured?
- Would you recommend this concrete company?
By asking these or similar questions to a couple of different people, you will get a pretty good idea of what type of companies you are dealing with. Concrete price can be expensive when you are pouring a large area, and you want to make sure that you are getting what you pay for.
Ensure that you are being very polite when you are calling these referrals. These will be people that may be very busy, and they will be taking a few minutes out of their day to talk to a stranger.
Now, what do I do?
At this point, you should have it narrowed down to one or maybe two concrete companies that you may want to use. The next step will be to do a site visit. Talk to the representatives and ask them all the questions on your mind.
- Does the amount of concrete you calculated seem correct?
- Discuss any admixtures that they may need to add.
- Make sure that they have ready mix trucks available to deliver your concrete.
- If you need more than one truck, discuss the time between deliveries with them.
- What are their lead times, so you know how far ahead you will need to place your order?
Time to place the order
Now it is time to place your order. Make sure that when you place the order, you let them know,
- What time do you need the concrete to arrive?
- Let them know the mix number and type that you are ordering.
- Tell them how many yards you are ordering.
- Let them know how much time you need in between deliveries. For example, I will need the trucks to show up an hour apart.
Now its time to get to work
We have discussed with you all that you will need to know about how to buy concrete and how a ready mix truck will be able to deliver up to ten cubic yards to you in a full truck, which is the maximum load capacity for an average ready mix concrete truck. That there are also bigger and smaller concrete trucks. You don’t have to order a full concrete truck worth of concrete.
We have talked about the cost, how to figure out your total need for concrete, and how to choose a concrete company. Now is the point you will need to get out there and get your order placed and the concrete coming. Now get out there and start working with some concrete.