A concrete slab is a versatile and attractive addition to many properties. Still, before you can enjoy your new patio, driveway, basketball court, or any other application, you must first understand your needs and budget your project accordingly. The average cost of concrete will fall somewhere between $4 and $8 per square foot, including labor costs. Cement is also a component in this estimate, which runs around $1 to $5 per square foot. While prices can increase depending on thickness and additives such as rebar or wire mesh, concrete is still cheaper than other building materials and offers excellent value for the price.

Where to Put Your Slab

Concrete is such a versatile material that one of the first things to ask yourself is what you need it for. You may choose a patio and enjoy cookouts with the family. Accent your concrete with stamping or color and add near-instant value and visual appeal to your backyard. A shed makes a great addition to most properties. A concrete shed foundation helps keep your shed and anything it’s storing dry and stable. Similarly, a concrete-floored garage sealed with epoxy is a great way to secure storage and parking space.

Understanding the Cost

The previous figure can help you estimate your budgetary needs. For example, a 10′ x 10′ concrete slab may run you $600. Meanwhile, a 12′ x 20′ slab may cost $1,440. Square footage is not the only thing to consider, however. A patio or basketball court may only need three inches of concrete. However, a driveway or garage that experiences heavy use and loads may require up to six inches of concrete.

You will also need to factor in the cost of other supplies into the final total. Any contractor you hire should add these materials to the price for the job. However, concrete is well worth the cost compared to other alternatives. Gravel may be cheaper, but the maintenance cost is severe as it must constantly be weeded and may be washed away by severe weather. It is also more affordable than flagstone. Asphalt is a common alternative to concrete and is typically cheaper and easier to repair, but it is also considerably less durable.

Pavers are also an option that has become popular in recent years, but the stones can run at $50 per square foot, depending on style.

An additional advantage of concrete is that many flooring types can be installed over it—wood, laminate, rubber, ceramic tile – Even carpeting. Whatever your needs may be, the versatility and durability of concrete owe a long lifespan of minimal maintenance and reliable service.

Different Grades of Concrete

Not all concrete is equal quality; however, your individual needs will help determine what kind of concrete is best for you. If you skimp on price early on, you may wind up paying for it later.

The three primary grades of concrete are high-strength, commercial-grade, and basic. High-strength concrete is primarily a foundation for large buildings, while most concrete slabs will be made of commercial-grade concrete. It will do the trick for a driveway, but it would buckle under the weight of a large structure. Basic concrete should be used for pouring slabs that won’t experience heavy loads and only minimal wear and tear, such as patios or walkways.

Aside from the grade of concrete, there are many different types. You should look into each type further, as there are many distinct disadvantages and advantages over one another if you decide to specialize your concrete slab further. While regular concrete will serve most of your needs, other types include decorative, roll compacted, reinforced, limecrete, self-consolidating, geopolymer, rapid set, and even glass.

When it comes to maintenance, no matter which concrete you go with, you should be okay so long as you avoid harsh chemicals to clean and de-ice your concrete slab.

When in Doubt

You can always rely on a professional – such as Hicks Asphalt Paving and Concrete. We will help you determine the suitable concrete for your needs and help you every step of the way.