Measuring How Much Concrete Is Needed for a Patio
You need to have enough concrete to complete your job, but with minimal leftover waste
By Vance Holloman
Concrete patios are easy to form but, when it comes to pouring one, you need to make sure you order the right amount of concrete. With concrete, you have one short window of opportunity to get it right before the mixture hardens. Too much concrete and you might be stuck finding a place to dump it all. Too little concrete and you will have to pour your patio in two parts. Measuring how much concrete is needed for a patio uses a simple formula and a few measurements. Online calculators are available that will do the math for you.
- What You Need to Know
- You'll need a tape measure and a calculator to figure the amount of concrete needed for your patio.
Measure the width of the concrete patio by measuring the distance between the form board and the edge of the house. If the form board hasn't been installed, get this measurement from the plans. You need not be exact to within a fraction of an inch, but you need a measurement within a few inches of the final size of the patio. For freestanding patios, just measure from one side to the opposite side.
Determine the length of the patio by measuring the distance between the form boards or by checking the length on the plans if the form boards aren't present.
Measure the depth of the patio by measuring from the ground to the top of the form board. Alternately, look at the plans to verify the depth of the patio. This number may vary, but a patio is generally at least 4 in. thick. In areas where ground shifting is a concern, thicker concrete on a sand base, may reduce cracking.
Round all measurements up to the nearest foot, and multiply the length by the width to get the square footage. For instance, if a patio is to be 12 feet long by 10 feet wide, the resulting square footage would be 120.
Multiply the square footage by the concrete thickness to determine the cubic footage of the patio. Assume the same patio will be 4 inches (0.333 feet) thick. Multiply that by the 120 square feet and the cubic footage of the patio is 40. Concrete companies sell wet concrete by the cubic yard.
Divide the cubic footage by 27, the number of cubic feet in a yard of concrete, to determine the number of yards of concrete needed for the patio. From the example above, 40 cubic feet divided by 27 equals 1.48 cubic yards. Most concrete companies will only sell in increments of .5 yards, so round the result up to the nearest half yard. Some concrete companies may allow you to order by a quarter of a yard.
About the Author
Vance Holloman is a residential contractor; his writing is based on two decades in the construction industry.
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