Concrete AKA the miracle building material has been gluing together megalithic structures since the time of the Roman Empire. The concrete jungles of the 21st century are a testament to concrete’s widespread availability and versatility. Concrete can be shaped to fit any use, from park benches to parking towers.
The concrete business is stable with constant demand and seemingly endless supply keeping concrete prices low. Concrete contractors compete with each other for multi-billion dollar building projects and must have access to a lot of concrete at a reasonable price if they hope to win the bid and still make money.
If you would like to learn more concrete prices in 2021, let’s take a walk along the pavement and have a chat, shall we?
Cement VS Concrete: What’s the Difference?
Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between cement and concrete. Simply stated cement is an ingredient of concrete. It consists of a mixture of cement, aggregate, and water.
Cement is a binding agent made from:
- Silica sand
Cement is manufactured according to several different formulas used by different manufactures. The strength, durability, and life expectancy of concrete structures are determined by the quantity and purity of these mixtures.
Cement can be used by itself with water and often is for grouting. However, cement is likely to crack easily.
In order to create a more durable building material cement is mixed with water to make a paste. The paste is then mixed with gravel and/or sand to create concrete. Most concrete is manufactured with 75% aggregates and 25% cement.
The price is not set in stone. There are many factors that influence the overall cost of concrete. The most expensive concrete is “ready mix concrete”. It is mixed in special trucks that spin the wet concrete and keep it from setting long enough to transport it to the worksite to be poured into molds.
All this preparation, labor, and transportation costs increase the cost of ready-mix concrete. When buying ready mixed concrete from a local supplier they typically quote you a per cubic yard price. A good estimate of the average cost of ready-mix concrete is $77 per cubic yard.
Mixing It Up
Mixing Concrete from Cement and Aggregates. A cheaper but labor-intensive alternative is to mix it yourself for immediate use. Cement is poured into a mixing machine or wheel barrel. The right amount of rock, sand, and water is mixed in to create concrete.
The costs of each of these ingredients differ depending on the source and where you buy it. Locally sourced wholesale cement and aggregate is cheaper than name-brand concrete sold at retail and home improvement stores. Cement is a little bit more expensive per bag than crushed rock and sand.
The price of the concrete you mix is ultimately decided by the ratio of cement to aggregate. Typically concrete is mixed at 1:6 cement to aggregate ratio with 1:8 used for building foundations. The price of concrete reinforcement such as iron rebar also runs up the overall cost of the concrete structure.
Concrete: Building the Modern World
Concrete is a wonderful, strong, long-lasting, and versatile building material. The abundantly available materials needed to make concrete keeps the price down making it a highly attractive building material to use.
Ultimately the overall cost of concrete is determined by where the cement and aggregate is sourced and the quantity you purchase for your needs. The more concrete you buy the cheaper it becomes. For a free consultation including detailed cost estimates of your concrete building project contact us today.