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All You Need To Know About a Yard of Concrete

Trying to measure concrete yards needed for a new patio? Or a new driveway? No fear – we’re here to help. We’ve put together a one-stop-shop guide answering all of your questions around the weight of a yard of concrete, number of bags in a yard of concrete, how to determine yards of concrete, and more.

Read on and we’ll help demystify these questions so you can accurately plan for your concrete project.

How Much Does a Yard of Concrete Weigh?

The weight of a yard of concrete can vary depending on the mix design and the moisture content of the concrete. In general, a cubic yard of concrete (which is equivalent to 27 cubic feet) weighs between 4000 and 5000 pounds, or between 2 and 2.5 tons. Concrete is made up of a mixture of cement, water, and aggregate materials, such as sand and gravel – the proportion of these materials in the concrete can affect the overall weight. For example, a concrete mix with a higher proportion of cement will generally be denser and therefore heavier than a mix with a lower proportion of cement. Similarly, a more wet mix of concrete will weigh more than a dry mix due to the added weight of the water.

To calculate the weight of a specific amount of concrete, you can use the following formula:

  • Weight (lbs) = volume (cubic feet) x density (lbs/cubic foot)

For example, if you have a cubic yard of concrete with a density of 150 lbs/cubic foot, the weight of the

concrete would be:

  • Weight (lbs) = 27 cubic feet x 150 lbs/cubic foot = 4050 lbs

How Many Bags of Concrete in a Yard?

The number of bags of concrete required to make a yard of concrete depends on the size of the bags and the mix design of the concrete. Concrete is typically sold in bags containing either 60 or 80 pounds of dry mix.

So for example, if you are using bags of concrete mix that contain 60 pounds of dry mix, you will need 60 bags to make a cubic yard of concrete. If you are using bags of concrete mix that contain 80 pounds of dry mix, you will need 45 bags to make a cubic yard of concrete.

To calculate the number of bags of concrete required for a specific project, you can use the following formula:

  • Number of bags = volume (cubic yards) x bags/cubic yard

For example, if you need to make 1 cubic yard of concrete using bags of mix that contain 60 pounds of dry mix, you will need:

  • Number of bags = 1 cubic yard x 60 bags/cubic yard = 60 bags

It is important to note that this is just a rough estimate, as the actual number of bags required may vary depending on the specific mix design and the moisture content of the concrete. It is always a good idea to have a little extra concrete on hand, just in case you need it.

How to Figure Yards of Concrete?

To figure out the number of cubic yards of concrete required for a project, you will need to know the dimensions of the area that you need to cover and the desired thickness of the concrete.

Here are the steps you can follow to calculate the number of cubic yards of concrete needed:

  1. Measure the length, width, and depth of the area where you will be placing the concrete.
  2. Convert the dimensions to feet. If the dimensions are in inches or another unit of measurement, you will need to divide them by the number of inches per foot (12 inches) or the equivalent conversion factor for the unit you are using.
  1. Calculate the volume of the area in cubic feet. To do this, multiply the length, width, and depth in feet. For example, if you are pouring a slab that is 10 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 4 inches thick (which is equal to 0.33 feet), the volume would be: 10 feet x 20 feet x 0.33 feet = 6.6 cubic feet.
  1. Convert the volume to cubic yards. To do this, divide the volume in cubic feet by the number of cubic feet in a cubic yard (27 cubic feet). For example, if you have a volume of 6.6 cubic feet, you would need: 6.6 cubic feet / 27 cubic feet/cubic yard = 0.24 cubic yards of concrete.

Again, this is just an example, but we recommend always having a bit of extra concrete on hand just so you don’t fall short in the middle of your project.

Sudlow Concrete can always help you configure yards needed for a project, so call us today to discuss.

 

How To Clean Concrete Like a Pro

Before we get into the steps to how to clean concrete, the first thing to know is that you don’t need to be too delicate given that concrete is one of the most durable materials available. Even though that concrete is durable and generally low maintenance, it definitely needs a good cleaning every so often to remove build up of grease, stains, debris, and other gunk – which are notoriously difficult to get rid of.

There are several methods that can be used to clean concrete driveways depending on the type of dirt or stain you are trying to remove. Below, we walk you through our most effective method of how to clean concrete step by step that can easily be done at home.

Steps To Clean Concrete

  1. Sweep or blow away any loose debris, such as leaves or dirt, from the surface of the concrete. This will make it easier to see and remove any remaining dirt or stains.
  2. Mix a solution of warm water and mild detergent in a bucket. You can also use a concrete cleaner specifically formulated for removing stains from concrete.
  3. Apply the cleaning solution to the concrete using a stiff-bristled brush or a pressure washer. Scrub the surface of the concrete to loosen and remove dirt and stains. If you are using a pressure washer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate pressure setting and keep a safe distance from the surface to avoid damaging the concrete.
  4. Rinse the surface of the concrete with clean water to remove any remaining cleaning solution and dirt. You can use a hose or a pressure washer to rinse the surface.
  5. Allow the concrete to air dry and voila!

If the concrete is severely stained or has built-up grime that cannot be removed with a mild detergent solution, you may need to use a stronger cleaning solution, such as a concrete etching product or a heavy-duty degreaser. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, when handling these products.

Pressure Washing Concrete

A pressure washer is one of the most effective tools to use to keep a driveway clean. When setting up the pressure washer, be sure to assemble it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and fill the detergent tank with a cleaning solution specifically formulated for concrete surfaces.

We always recommend testing the pressure washer by spraying a spray pattern on a small, inconspicuous area of the driveway to ensure that it is set to the appropriate pressure and to make any necessary adjustments.

Then, you are all set to begin pressure washing: Hold the pressure washer wand at a 45-degree angle to the surface of the driveway and start at one end of the driveway. Slowly move the wand back and forth in a sweeping motion, overlapping each pass slightly to ensure that you cover the entire surface.

How Often Should A Concrete Driveway Be Cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning concrete surfaces depends on a variety of factors, including the amount of foot traffic, the weather conditions, and the presence of stains or other contaminants. For most residential and commercial concrete surfaces, a thorough cleaning every 1 or 2 years is generally sufficient.

However, surfaces that are exposed to heavy foot traffic, such as sidewalks, driveways, and patios, may need to be cleaned more frequently, especially if they are prone to staining or if they are located in areas exposed to a lot of dirt. In these cases, a cleaning every 6-12 months may be necessary.

If you notice any stains or build-up of dirt on your concrete surfaces, it is always a good idea to clean them as soon as possible to prevent the stains from becoming more difficult to remove later on. This will help you upkeep the concrete and keep it well-maintained.

 

How Long Does It Take Concrete to Dry?

Typically, when people ask how long it takes concrete to dry, they want to know how long it will take until they can walk or drive on it. Concrete generally takes 24 to 48 hours to cure enough for it to be suitable for foot traffic and requires about 5 full days to cure before a vehicle can drive over it, depending on ambient temperatures and the mix used.

There are some technicalities when distinguishing between concrete “curing” and concrete “drying”. For starters, concrete technically doesn’t dry – it cures. Nevertheless, these terms are often used synonymously and interchangeably when they refer to two different processes, explained below.

What Is Concrete Curing?

By definition, concrete curing is the process of maintaining adequate moisture within concrete within a proper temperature range to allow the concrete to achieve the desired properties for use. In other words, concrete curing is essentially what provides enough strength and durability to the material, enough to be used for an intended purpose – the process of concrete hardening enough to walk or drive on it, for example. Once concrete is cured or hardened, it still needs to evaporate moisture after it has solidified completely. Curing begins after the finishing process, which is once the concrete is poured and set.

How Long Does It Take Concrete to Cure?

Concrete typically takes 24-48 hours to cure before it can be walked on and 5 days to cure before a vehicle or machinery can drive on it. It is believed that concrete will typically reach its full effective strength after about 28 days of curing.

What Is Concrete Drying Process?

Concrete never technically dries because water isn’t intended to leave the concrete mixture. From a chemical standpoint, the water added to the concrete mixture reacts or hydrates with the cement and aggregates to form the bond. Even after concrete becomes hard enough to walk to drive over, it still contains moisture that will continually evaporate as it hydrates. The drying process involves excess moisture evaporating through the surface, which is then replaced by water within the concrete moving to the capillaries and up to the surface. This process will continue, as long as the surrounding air can hold more water vapor.

How Long Does It Take for Concrete to Dry?

Although concrete never technically dries fully, there are several conditions that influence how fast concrete can cure and evaporate moisture. A general rule of thumb is that concrete takes about 28 days to dry for every inch of thickness. Conditions conducive for concrete to dry are consistent reasonable heat above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 14 days in the air and low relative humidity.

What Conditions Can Expedite the Curing Process?

  • Using slightly warmer water in the concrete mix encourages a quicker reaction and curing time
  • Warm, sunny, dry weather conditions always lead to faster drying times over low temperatures or extended periods of rain.
  • Adding calcium chloride as a compound in the concrete mixture before pouring can quicken the set time.

 

Concrete is so ubiquitous in our urban landscape today that it’s rarely given the credibility it deserves. Concrete is one of the most versatile, durable, and widely used building materials, whose earliest roots even date back to 6500BC – not to mention fire-resistant and low maintenance. No wonder why it’s the material of choice for foundations, buildings, driveways, walkways, bridges, and more.

What is Concrete Made Out Of?

Underneath its drab gray exterior, concrete has some hidden complexity into how it’s constructed. What is concrete made of that makes it so durable and versatile? Concrete is made up of these simple components: cement, water & air, coarse aggregates, and fine aggregates. These different ingredients each have very important functions and roles, so let’s dive a bit deeper.

The Main Ingredients in Concrete

  1. Cement

Cement is a component of concrete that serves as a powerful binding material capable of setting, hardening, and remaining stable underwater. There are eight ingredients involved in the chemical manufacturing of cement: lime, silica, alumina, magnesia, sulfur trioxide, alkaline, iron oxide, and calcium sulfate. These ingredients can be extracted from limestone, clay, marl, shale, chalk, sand, bauxite, and iron ore. When cement mixes with water, it becomes a paste that is used to fill up void space between aggregate particles binding them into a strong, solid, not impenetrable mass.

  1. Water & Air

Water acts as a lubricant and plays an important role for the mixing, setting, laying and compaction and hardening of concrete. The quantity and quality of water used in mixes that directly affect the strength of concrete. Water is the only concrete ingredient that reacts chemically with cement so that setting and hardening process can take place.

For a mixture to be effective, some level of air entrainment needs to exist within the concrete. Air-entrained concrete contains microscopic air cells that work to relieve internal pressure on the concrete by providing space for the concrete to expand and contract when it freezes and from the heat in the summer.

  1. Aggregates

The major concrete ingredient that takes up the most volume are aggregates. Aggregates bound together by hydrated cement make an artificial rock. Aggregates are typically divided into two categories depending on sizes, because there are fine aggregates such as sand and coarse aggregates such as gravel and crushed stones.

  1. Admixtures

In addition to cement, water, and other aggregates, there are additional optional ingredients that can be added to concrete such as admixtures, polymers, air entrapment, accelerators, fibers, and reinforcements. These ingredients can be used to modify the properties of the fresh and hardened concrete.

Concrete Driveway Costs

Materials, Labor, Finishes, & More

The total cost of a concrete driveway can vary considerably depending on several factors and additional options for driveway design. Concrete driveway quotes are typically customized for every project instead of calculated by square footage, because every driveway price will be unique depending on materials, labor and additional considerations that vary based on the size and scope of the project:

Material Costs
Labor Costs

Removal and Recycle Costs
Slopes & Drainage
Site Preparation
Pouring Options
Finish Upgrades

For Atlanta homeowners, concrete is one of the most long-lasting and affordable material choices for new driveways. Made from cement, small rocks, sand and water, concrete is incredibly durable and can last for several decades with minimal, if any, maintenance when properly installed. Because of concrete’s durability, they hold particularly strong in hot climates—perfect to withstand those hot Atlanta summers.

Material Costs

The cost of related materials and supplies typically needed to install a concrete driveway include the concrete itself, reinforcing materials, isolation materials, chemical release agents, a compactor, and permits for the construction process. When preparing a driveway quote, contractors must factor in the mixer trucks needed to actually deliver the concrete to the project site. Some driveway installation jobs may require specialty equipment, in which case a daily equipment allowance would be factored in to cover the rent.

Reinforcing Materials

When replacing a driveway, Sudlow Concrete pours concrete that is 4”-5” thick, which after 28 days, cures (finishes) to a strength that will support 4900 lbs per square inch. We use a higher-grade product than others in the industry which allows us to give a 10-year warranty to all of our clients. The concrete is also reinforced with monofilament micro fiber and steel rebar every 36 inches. If we are extending a driveway, we insert doweled rebar into the old concrete to prevent shifting.

Control Joints

Control joints are an important part of the driveway. Control joints are the lines that separate your concrete into sections of your patio or driveway. Control joints help to interrupt the surface tension created by the expanding and contracting of the concrete due to fluctuations in outdoor temperatures.  Most builder grade driveways have 20’ or more separating the sections. Sudlow Concrete installs control joints every 8’ – 10’, which dramatically reduces the chance for cracking.

Labor Costs

The basic labor that’s included in the cost of a driveway includes mobilization of materials and crew, basic preparation of the site, removing soil, setting forms, and pouring concrete. Many driveways can be installed with basic labor considerations but there are many other additional considerations and driveway options that can increase the final price.

Removal & Recycle Costs

Before any work can begin, the project area must be clear of any dirt, trash, wood, and other potential contaminants. Tree roots are one of the leading causes of concrete driveway damage, therefore any tree roots that are impacting the driveway will be removed and taken to a recycling center. If replacing a driveway, the old concrete or asphalt will have to be removed and also taken to a recycling center.

Slopes & Proper Drainage

Drainage preparation is extremely important to consider before laying a driveway, so water and rain can safely exit the driveway and on to the road. Driveways that are laid without proper drainage can force rain into the house or garage and cause rotting, flooding, and cause other damages. There are several options to direct drainage include sloping, curves, retaining walls, drains, and more. The drainage recommendations and associated labor and material price implications can only be given if a contractor actually sees and inspects the property site.

Additional Considerations

Site Preparation

Depending on the particular driveway project, there might be varying degrees of site preparation and landscaping activity that may be required before installation that can affect the cost. Sometimes driveway installation projects can require more involved preparation including excavation of the site, hardscape demolition, landscaping, installing a gravel base layer and more. To understand any additional site preparation costs, if any, a contractor should inspect the site in person.

Site preparation before:                                  Driveway after:

               

Pouring Options

Price of concrete driveways can vary based on different pouring choices for concrete, but can give the driveway a distinguished look. The most basic and common pouring option is a solid slab which requires a very simple installation. Other pouring options can be built on wooden forms to give the driveway a different shape or form large squares to minimize the chance of cracking over time.

Finish Upgrades

Because the driveway is one of the most prominent elements that frames the front of the house, some homeowners will choose add an upgraded finish to give the driveway character and personality. Options for finishes could include a textured surface, driveway aprons, stamped concrete, border options, connecting walkways, or alternative color options.

Upgrade Examples:

    

   

Driveway Quote at Sudlow Concrete

If you are considering a driveway replacement in the Atlanta area or surrounding suburbs, contact Sudlow Concrete for a customized quote. Our experts will visit your residence or other location to inspect the property and break down a specific price estimate. Contact us here or call us at (404) 285-5995 to speak with a team member today! We look forward to hearing from you.

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