How much is a yard of concrete? – With Bonus tips to save money

Are you googling “how much is a yard of concrete?” if yes! You’ve arrived at the right place.

When you’re dealing with ready mix concrete; estimating the cost per volume or cost per cubic yard is a critical step. Whether you’re working on a driveway, a slab, or a floor; the money you’re going to spend per yard will depend on a lot of factors like the distance of supplier from the project, the volume required, the concrete strength, and other relevant parameters.

As the prices of construction materials are soaring, homeowners are always doing some research to look for ways and save few bucks for that cheesy burger. You might be amazed to know that the cost per yard of concrete has just doubled from what it was in 2008 i.e. around $65 and now in 2022; the typical average as per NRMCA is $125.  

So, let’s save few bucks with our concrete pricing guide for 2022.

Table of Contents

How much is a yard of concrete?
How much is a yard of concrete?

Concrete pricing background

A lot of homeowners who’re working with concrete project for the first time are confused about the units of measurement. If you’re hiring a contractor who’ll be dealing with all the concrete orders and pouring, you might pay him a cost per square footage or per cubic footage (by area or by volume). However, ready mix suppliers don’t deal like in those units (commonly). Their pricing is mostly going to be by yard.

One more thing is that your this cost per yard of concrete will not be the actual cost you’re going to spend on the entire concrete project. That’s because it’s just the material. You got to pay for the labor as well as the formwork. Sometimes, the cost of formwork goes along the labor cost. So, it’s critical that you have a clear breakdown of the cost you’re dealing either with a supplier or a concrete contractor.

With regards to the project, the labor cost depends a lot on the complexity of the project. Every project is unique and so a cost for a concrete patio will be different than that for a driveway or a walkway. It’s also because every project has got different decorative and finishing requirements.

So, you need to consider a lot of factors as the cost will vary a lot across the board.  If you’re doing a DIY concrete project and are feeling overwhelmed with the concrete estimation. Don’t worry! We’re here to help:

Also Read: Concrete Topping – Definition, Applications, Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

How Much Does Concrete Cost Per Cubic Yard?

Concrete cost per cubic yard is $117 on average whereas the typical range is around $104 to $144. But this price depends on a lot of factors. If you’re ordering a concrete from a nearby delivering company; you might pay less in comparison to the one far off from your place.

Anyhow, the contractor charges labor cost for installing a concrete driveway or a patio per square foot rather than cubic yard. So, for estimating the labor cost, you need to find the area of your concrete slab. Whereas for bulk concrete material price; you can estimate your delivery by per cubic yard (that is the area of volume).

Estimating concrete order

Now here’s a rule we use in the field for most concrete estimating jobs. Cubic yard of concrete when poured perfectly level on a surface can cover around 81 square feet if the slab is 4 inches thick. So, obviously if you’re in a need of a slab thicker than 4 inches, it will cover less area. Hence, first you got to decide or design the thickness of the slab.

Also Read: Weight of concrete per cubic foot – With Examples – (Including Calculator)

Know the thickness

In most of the designs like for driveways or patio slabs that will not get any massive foot traffic, are around 4 to 6 inches thick in common. However, it’s not a hard and fast rule. You may need to design the slab for the loading as per the bearing capacity and the loading conditions.

Anyhow, once you’ve got the thickness with you; the estimate will be a simple reckoning job. For your guide, we’ve summarized the area concrete slab will cover based on different thicknesses:

Sr. No.Thickness of slab (inches)Square foot area coverage
1.4 inches81 square foot
2.5 inches65 square foot
3.6 inches54 square foot

Anyhow, you’re actually in need of the quantity of concrete you’re going to order from the ready mix concrete suppliers, right?

So, for that we also got to the know the area we need to fill with concrete. If you’re having a square or rectangular slab the calculation is pretty easy than if you’re pouring a circular slab. Anyhow, let’s now see both the cases

Steps to determine how much is concrete per cubic yard?
Steps to determine how much is concrete per cubic yard?

For rectangular or square slab

You got the thickness already as I’ve just explained in the first step. So, all you need to do is convert that thickness from inches to feet. So, simply divide the figure above by 12. (1 feet is equal to 12 inches).

So, you might have something like  this:

  • 4 inches thick slab = 0.33 feet
  • 5 inches thick slab = 0.42 feet
  • 6 inches thick slab = 0.5 feet.

1. Determine the length, width and calculate area

Now you can determine the length and width of the slab or driveway you’re pouring. Obviously if you’re got a bigger area and don’t have that long meter tape, you can divide the entire area into patches. This technique will eliminate the chances of human error.

Once you’ve taken off the length and wide; simply multiply both figures to get the square footage like below:

Area = length x width

Let’s say your length is 10 feet while the width is 15 feet.

The above equation will be:

Area = 10 x 15 = 150 square foot

2. Know the volume

Now for volume, we can multiply the above figure with the thickness as:

Volume = Area x thickness of slab

So, let’s say your required thickness is 5 inches.

Volume = 150 x 0.42 = 63 cubic feet.

3. Convert cubic feet to cubic yard

At the end we can covert the cubic feet into cubic yards using conversion factor 27.

Please Note: 1 cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet (yard is a bigger unit than cubic feet)

So, we need to divide the area in cubic feet by 27 to get the cubic yard. Hence;

63 cubic feet / 27 cubic feet = 2.33 cubic yards

4. Calculate the cost of concrete per cubic yard

So, we can conclude that for a concrete slab of 5 inches thickness having length of 10 feet and width of 15 feet, we’re in need to order 2.33 cubic yards of ready mix concrete.

Isn’t that easy?

Wait! Here’s the magic – If you want to estimate the cost of concrete above, you simply have to multiply the above figure with the per cubic yard cost of concrete i.e. 104$ to 144$ (average $117).

Cost of 2.33 yards of concrete is 2.33 x 104 to 2.33 x 144 equals $343 to $436. Some suppliers may demand a loading fee so just try to know their terms before ordering.

If you’d estimate the concrete wrong and order less than the actual required cubic yard, you’re going to pay additional. That’s because you might need an additional concrete that’s going to be less than a truckload. So, as per one estimate, you can expect to pay $43 per yard extra; just because of your inaccurate estimation, and as the quantity is less than a truckload.

Let’s now see if you’re looking to concrete a circular patio slab.

Also Read: Sand Blasting Concrete Finish – Purpose, Process, Pros & Cons

For circular slab

For the thickness, you can repeat the steps for a square or circular slab by converting it from inches to feet.

1. Determine the diameter or radius and calculate area

For determining the radius or diameter, you might have to use a design drawing or some rough sketch if you have. Anyhow, if you’re just trying to cover the area you have for your patio; you can do some marking or lay out the slab on the ground. Here’s a video of laying out circle on the field (Although it’s about gardening but the technique is same here for a concrete slab).

Once you’ve got the diameter or a circle of the slab, you can use it to calculate area using below formula:

Area of slab = π (3.14) x R^2 or

Area of slab =( π (3.14) x D^2)/4 (if you have diameter rather than radius)

So, let’s say you have a slab radius of 5 foot, the area would be:

Area = 3.14 x 5 x 5  = 78.5 square foot

2. Know the volume

To get the volume, simply multiply the area above with the thickness of slab in feet to get cubage of slab.


Volume of slab = Area x thickness = 78.5  x 0.5 = 39.25 cubic feet.

3. Convert cubic feet to cubic yard

Now to convert the volume from cubic feet to yard, you just need to divide the total volume by 27. (since 1 cubic yard has 27 cubic feet).

So, 39.25 cubic feet / 27 = 1.45 cubic yards.

4. Calculate the cost of concrete per cubic yard

So, a concrete slab that has a radius of 5 foot and with 6 inches of thickness, you need 1.45 cubic yards of concrete. For the cost, we’ll follow the same process.

You will expect to pay anything around $213 to $271.

Now, the question is how many factors affect the overall cost for a concrete project.

Factors affecting the concrete cost

Now most typical costs of materials are in a range like here the cost of concrete per yard is in range of $104 to $144, why is that so? Well, that’s because the actual cost depends on some factors. So, here’re some typical factors you need to figure out before you can determine the exact numbers:

Also Read: Concrete Leveling – Everything you need to know [7 FAQ]

Concrete strength & mix design

Now this factor is sometimes not very significant, unless you’re doing some special concrete work. Typically the concrete we us is unreinforced and plain cement concrete that has a compressive strength or around 4000 psi. So, for that the cost is $161 to $173. Anyhow, the cost is much more if you need a concrete of strength more than 5000 psi.  

Delivery distance

For the rate depending on delivery distance, it’s all about where’re you’re living or what is the prevailing practice by suppliers in your area. So, companies charge per mile. If you are far away from the supplier, you’re going to pay more. So, it is best to ask a supplier nearby. But be sure, this cost is additional to that of the material (i.e. concrete). Hence, you need to add this amount to your actual estimate.

The national average price for company’s delivery fee is $9.85 per mile. However, some companies do offer packages like no fee for 20 miles or something. But anyhow, if you’re far off like around 40 miles you need to pay an additional delivery fee of $394.

Delivery timeline

It’s also an important factor that around what time of year, you’re ordering ready mix concrete. If there’re so many renovation projects going on around your region at the time being, you might have to pay more. So, it’s just that simple supply and demand rule. As a tip, try to utilize the idle time for the suppliers as the workdays. They’re more interested in offering discounts and sales.

Other factors

There’re some other factors that might also impact your concrete price per yard, if they’re relevant. Like if the access to your site is awkward or tricky or the unloading conditions are not simple. Sometimes you need to grade the soil or dirt to have a suitable foundation for the concrete slab. Similarly, your labor cost will be affected by the quality of finish and complexity of job. The cost for reinforced concrete will be pretty different than unreinforced concrete pour.   

Now that you’re through the steps and factors effecting “how much is a yard of concrete”, so now let’s see how you can save few bucks on the project:

Also Read: Can You Pour Concrete in rain? (Steps and precautions)

Tips to minimize the cost of concrete per yard

  1. Try to go the DIY route instead of hiring a contractor for a concrete pour. But make sure to only tackle simple pouring jobs as advance projects may need additional skills and specialized tools.
  2. You can contact several different suppliers or contractors in your area to get a quote and ask for the lowest fee.
  3. If you’re going a driveway or a patio, try to avoid any complexities in the project. Use simple shapes, and optimize the use of resources.
  4. If you have a difficult site access, try to hire two or three labor with wheelbarrows to avoid the fee for overtime on truck unloading.
  5. Always prefer the suppliers nearest to you.
  6. Try to schedule your concrete pouring project during the off season. I’ve always tried to avoid doing any renovation work in summer or spring because that’s the peak season for contractors and construction work. Rather, winter is the ideal time for doing the project and saving few bucks. You can ultimately save around 4 to 5 per cent of the cost doing project during off-peak season like just after Christmas.
  7. Try to hire a reputable contractor, if the need arise. A newbie will deliver shoddy workmanship and even if you’d agree to pay less to him, you’re likely to pay someone else more to rectify the poor work along with all that hassle.

If you’re looking to save even more on your concrete project – there’s still one more way. Use bagged concrete instead of relying on ready mix concrete. That is especially helpful if you’re doing some DIY maintenance around your home property and are not doing some entire renovation of patios, driveway or pool deck.  You will find this tip helpful while doing projects like repairing curbs, sidewalks, stairs and making small patios or setting fence posts.

Further Read: Gypcrete Vs Concrete – Difference – Composition – Uses – Pros & Cons

Saad Iqbal is a professional civil engineering and freelance write. He's passionate about structures, construction management, and home improvement topics. He's been working as a Senior Engineer in a consultant firm for over 8 years. Besides he loves writing informative and in-depth content focused on construction and home-related topics. You can catch him at his linkedin page or reach out via our contact us page.

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