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Concrete Slab Cost Guide

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Are you thinking about building a storage shed on your property? Perhaps you are planning a special workshop or maybe a detached garage. There are many reasons to have a concrete slab poured and they make excellent foundations for all kinds of structures. But how much is this going to cost? Let's check out concrete slabs a little closer to help you determine the approximate price.

Square Metres of Concrete

It's not too hard to figure out the average cost of concrete slabs. For example, if you want a slab 3 meters by 2 meters you need a 6 square meter slab. However, most concretors will not quote you exact prices on slabs over the phone. In fact, when you visit a concretor website they might advertise concrete slabs from $40 per square metre ($40/M²). This means their prices start at $40 but you could pay more depending on your situation.

Concrete Slab Costs

The average cost today of a concrete slab (poured by a contractor) is $40 for each square meter. By using the above example with a slab of 6 square meters, you could expect to pay about $240 for the concrete.

How Do Concretors Figure Total Slab Cost?

The total cost of your slab can vary according to several factors:

  • Slab thickness - depending on your needs your slab may need to be very thick (house foundation for example). However, a simple shed may need a slab about 100 millimetres while a house foundation might need to be 150 millimetres or more thick.
  • Slab size - this has a lot to do with costs.
  • Concretor location - how far does the concrete truck have to travel to get to your property?
  • Access issues - can the truck easily get in and out of the area where you need the slab poured?

What is Included in the Price?

In order to give you a long lasting and durable slab, the concretor does not simply mark out an area in the land and pour concrete. Here is what usually happens:

  • They dig out an area so the slab can be level with the ground.
  • The ground is levelled and prepared. Tree roots or rocks may need to be removed. Gravel is often added to provide additional support.
  • After proper measurements are taken, the concretors then make forms to hold the concrete while it sets up and becomes hard.
  • Mesh or support rods are added to keep the concrete together and in one piece.
  • Forms are checked for levelness.
  • Concrete is poured and then levelled out with specialized tools. When partly dried, the surface may be brushed to give it texture.
  • The concrete is allowed to cure and then the forms are removed.

The Total Price

As you can see there is much more than simply pouring concrete involved in this project. A lot of time consuming labour takes place. When you include all the materials and labour your slab could cost $70 to $100 per square meter.

There is another factor to consider and this concerns project size. If the contractor is pouring a slab for a house, the price per meter will be somewhat lower than for a smaller project like a shed or garage.

Do Your Need Flooring?

For some projects (like storage sheds) your new slab will make the perfect floor. However, if you are building a garage or workshop you may wish to invest is special concrete finishes. Some finishes use clear coat materials and keep the floor in pristine condition. Plus, cleaning the floor is as easy as running a broom over it or using a mop. You also can choose textured, patterned or coloured finishes for your new floor. This will also protect your concrete floor from moisture damage.

Concrete finishes can be applied after the slab has been poured or you can wait until the garage is finished. However, it's not a good idea to wait too long. Your new garage floor could easily become stained with dirt, grease, grime, motor oil or other contaminants and it's best to seal it and protect it while it is still new.

Who Should Do The Job?

If you need a very small slab you can do the job yourself and save money. However, it may turn out to be much more work and trouble than you expected. If you have never done concrete work before, a slab may not be the best place to start.

When you check out concretors you may find several in your area, so which one is best? Here are some tips for finding the best contractor:

  • Choose a contractor who does a lot of slab work. This will give you the most experienced professional for the job. Plus, a slab contractor can do the work quickly and this helps to keep labour costs down, so you pay less.
  • Make sure your contractor has adequate insurance and he should be able to show you proof.
  • Choose services licensed to do business in your state.
  • You don't have to go with the lowest estimate if you check with several companies. As a general rule, the best services will have affordable prices and they will be competitive, but they may always not be the cheapest.

Money Saving Tips for Concrete Slabs

Are you planning another project in the future? For example, if you plan to have a pool or patio installed, you might want to wait and have the slab poured at the same time. While the contractor already has equipment in use, he may be able to pour your slab much cheaper than usual.

Do you need a new slab and is it in the middle of summer? You may be better off waiting until the weather cools down a bit. Pouring slabs in hot weather can cause the cement to dry out too quickly. This can lead to shrinkage and even cracking in some cases.

Concrete work should be avoided in temperatures above 30 degrees. Cracks may not become noticeable for some time and by pouring your slab in cooler weather you may not have to deal with expensive repairs later on, especially if you are building a large structure.

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