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Concrete Cost per Yard: Prices, Calculations & Tips

Embarking on a construction project brings its share of questions, with one of the most pressing being the cost of concrete per yard. This figure is pivotal for anyone planning a build, from homeowners laying a new patio to contractors constructing a commercial building. Our guide delves deep into the intricacies of concrete pricing, ensuring you’re well-equipped with the knowledge to budget effectively for your project’s success.

National Average Cost of Concrete per Yard

In construction, understanding the cost of materials is fundamental, and concrete is no exception. As of recent data, the national average price for a yard of concrete hovers between $125 and $150. This range serves as a crucial benchmark for anyone budgeting a construction project, providing a baseline from which to estimate overall material costs. 

However, it’s essential to recognize this figure can fluctuate based on various factors such as material availability, labor rates, and even the time of year. By starting with the national average, homeowners and builders can begin to sketch out the financial scope of their projects, adjusting their budgets as more specific information becomes available.

Regional Differences in Costs

Concrete pricing is far from uniform across the United States, with significant variations from one region to another. These differences can greatly affect the overall cost of your construction project. 

For example, while the national average lies between $125 and $150 per yard, homeowners in bustling urban centers may face higher prices, whereas those in more rural areas might enjoy costs on the lower end of the spectrum.

Factors Influencing Regional Cost Differences

The disparity in concrete costs can be attributed to several key factors, each with its impact on regional pricing:

Labor Costs

Labor costs can vary dramatically from one region to another. For instance, urban areas with a higher cost of living, such as San Francisco or New York City, might see labor costs contributing an additional $10 to $30. In contrast, areas with a lower cost of living may only see a $5 to $15 increase due to labor costs.

Material Availability

The proximity to material sources significantly affects the cost. In remote areas, the additional transportation required to bring in materials, like cement and aggregates, can increase the concrete price by 10% to 30%. Meanwhile, in regions close to these material sources, the increase might be minimal, around 5% to 20%.

Market Demand

High demand can lead to higher prices. In regions experiencing a construction boom, the price of concrete can surge by $15 to $25 per cubic yard above the national average. Conversely, in areas with less demand, prices might be closer to or even below the national average, reflecting a more balanced supply and demand.

Understanding these regional factors is crucial for accurately estimating the cost of concrete for your project. By considering the impact of labor costs, material availability, and market demand, you can better navigate the complexities of regional pricing differences, leading to more informed budgeting and planning for your construction endeavors.

Breakdown of Concrete Pricing Components

The price of concrete per yard isn’t a flat rate but rather a culmination of several components, each contributing to the final cost. Understanding these components can help you navigate the complexities of concrete pricing and plan your budget more effectively.

The price of concrete per yard isn’t a flat rate but rather a culmination of several components…

Material Costs

The raw materials—cement, water, sand, and gravel—are the backbone of concrete, and their costs can vary. Cement, the most expensive component, can influence the overall price significantly. 

For a basic concrete mix, material costs can range from $100 to $150 per cubic yard. However, prices can fluctuate based on global commodity markets and local availability of aggregates.

Labor Costs

Labor costs exhibit significant regional variations, with urban centers known for their high cost of living, often experiencing up to a 30% increase. Conversely, in regions where the cost of living is lower, the impact of labor costs on the overall price of concrete might be more modest. This discrepancy underscores the influence of local economic conditions on construction expenses.

Additional Services

For projects requiring more than just a basic concrete mix, additional services can include special finishes, colors, or mixtures. These enhancements can increase the cost substantially:

Concrete Finishes

Different finishes can affect the cost of concrete, with prices ranging from an additional $2 to $15 per square foot. Common finishes include:

  • Smooth Finish: Achieved by troweling, adding minimal cost to the base price.
  • Broom Finish: Adds texture for slip resistance, with a slight increase in cost.
  • Exposed Aggregate: Reveals the stone (aggregate) beneath for a decorative look, increasing costs by $5 to $10 per square foot.
  • Stamped Concrete: Mimics the look of stone, brick, or wood, with costs increasing by $8 to $12 per square foot due to the complexity of the application.


Integrating color into concrete adds aesthetic value but also adds to the cost, typically ranging from $2 to $18 per square foot, depending on the intensity and method of coloring.

Special Mixtures

Mixes designed for specific conditions, such as high strength or fast curing, can increase the material cost by 10% to 50% above the price of standard concrete. The range varies widely depending on factors such as the type and amount of additives required, availability of materials, market conditions, and the complexity of the project.

By understanding the detailed components of concrete pricing and the options available for customization, you can make informed decisions that align with both budgetary constraints and project requirements.

Additional Factors Affecting Cost

Beyond the primary components of concrete pricing, several additional factors can influence the overall cost of your concrete project. Each of these elements can add to the complexity and expense of construction, affecting the final budget.

Project Complexity

The specific details of your project, including its design and accessibility, can significantly impact the price. For instance, projects with difficult access points that necessitate the use of pumps or conveyors can add $500 to $1,500 to the total cost, depending on the equipment and duration of use. 

Additionally, designs that require greater precision or specialized concrete mixes can increase costs by 10% to 20%. Complex projects requiring intricate formwork, additional reinforcements, or specialized finishes may see costs increase substantially.

Seasonal Variations

The time of year can also play a role in concrete pricing. During peak construction seasons, typically spring and summer, demand for concrete and related services increases. This heightened demand can lead to price increases of 5% to 10% above the base cost. Conversely, during off-peak seasons, you might find suppliers offering discounts or more competitive pricing to encourage sales.

Shor-Load Charge

A significant factor that can affect the cost of concrete, particularly for smaller projects, is the short load charge. This charge is applied when orders do not meet the minimum delivery requirement of the supplier, which is usually around 10 cubic yards. For orders that fall under this minimum, suppliers can charge an additional fee, typically ranging from $30 to $60 per cubic yard under the minimum. 


Short-load charge compensates for the fixed costs of operation and delivery that the supplier incurs, regardless of the order size. It’s crucial to factor in these potential additional costs when budgeting for your small-scale projects.

By considering these additional factors—project complexity, seasonal variations, and short load charges—homeowners can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the potential costs involved in their concrete projects. This awareness allows for better planning, budgeting, and negotiation with suppliers and contractors, ensuring a more cost-effective and efficient project execution.

Calculating Concrete Needs

Accurately calculating the amount of concrete required is crucial for efficient budgeting and project planning. Overestimating can lead to unnecessary expenses, while underestimating can cause delays and increased costs.

Rectangular Slabs

Calculating concrete needs for rectangular projects involves a straightforward formula: Length x Width x Height (depth), measured in feet, to determine cubic yards. This calculation helps ensure that you purchase the correct amount of concrete, minimizing waste and optimizing budget allocation.

For a rectangular slab with dimensions of 20 feet in length, 10 feet in width, and 4 inches (0.33 feet) in depth:

  • Calculate the volume in cubic feet: Multiply the dimensions together. For our example, 20 feet×10 feet×0.33 feet = 66 cubic feet
  • Convert cubic feet to cubic yards: Since there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard, divide the total cubic feet by 27. For our example, 66 cubic feet÷27 = 2.44 cubic yards.

So, for a rectangular slab that is 20 feet by 10 feet by 4 inches deep, you would need approximately 2.44 cubic yards of concrete.

Circular Slabs

For circular projects, the formula adjusts to account for the shape: Radius x Radius x 3.14 (π) x Height (depth), again in feet, to calculate cubic yards. This calculation ensures that the unique dimensions of circular designs are accurately accounted for, allowing for precise ordering and budgeting.

For a circular slab with a radius of 5 feet and a depth of 4 inches (0.33 feet):

  • Calculate the area in square feet: Use the formula for the area of a circle, πr2. For our example, 3.14×52 = 78.5 square feet.
  • Convert to cubic feet: Multiply the area by the depth. For our example, 78.5 square feet×0.33 feet = 25.905 cubic feet.
  • Convert cubic feet to cubic yards: Divide the total cubic feet by 27. For our example, 25.905 cubic feet÷27 = 0.96 cubic yards.

Therefore, for a circular slab with a 5-foot radius and 4 inches deep, you would need approximately 0.96 cubic yards of concrete.

Properly calculating concrete needs is a critical step in project planning, ensuring that resources are efficiently utilized and costs are kept in check.

When to DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

Deciding whether to undertake a concrete project as a DIY endeavor or to hire a professional is a significant decision that can impact both the project’s cost and success.

Assessing Project Complexity

Simple projects with straightforward requirements may be suitable for DIY, provided there is a basic understanding of concrete handling and finishing. However, projects with complex designs, large scopes, or specific performance requirements often necessitate the skills and expertise of professionals.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

While DIY projects can offer cost savings on labor, it’s important to consider the value of professional workmanship, which can ensure the durability and appearance of the finished project. Professionals can also navigate the complexities of material selection, project planning, and execution, potentially saving time and avoiding costly mistakes.

Balancing the desire for cost savings with the need for quality and durability is key when deciding between DIY and professional concrete projects. This decision should be informed by a thorough understanding of the project’s requirements, the individual’s skill level, and the potential impact on the project’s overall budget and outcome.


Navigating the intricacies of concrete costs requires a comprehensive understanding of the factors that influence pricing, from national averages and regional variations to the detailed components of concrete pricing. By considering these factors, homeowners can make informed decisions, ensuring successful and cost-effective construction projects. Whether calculating the necessary concrete volume or deciding between DIY and professional installation, thorough planning and knowledge are the foundations of any successful build.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is 2 yards of concrete?

The cost of 2 yards of concrete can vary based on regional prices, material costs, and labor rates. On average, concrete prices range from $125 to $150 per cubic yard, so 2 yards of concrete might cost between $250 and $300. However, these prices can fluctuate depending on your location and the complexity of the delivery.

How much is 30 yards of concrete?

For 30 yards of concrete, the cost is typically calculated by multiplying the per-yard price by 30. Given the average price range of $125 to $150 per cubic yard, 30 yards of concrete would cost between $3,750 and $4,500. Keep in mind, that prices may vary based on regional differences, additional services, and the current market rate for materials and labor.

How do I estimate the cost of a concrete slab?

Estimating the cost of a concrete slab involves several key factors, including the size of the slab, the thickness (depth), and the cost per cubic yard of concrete. Start by calculating the volume in cubic yards (length x width x height in feet, divided by 27). Then, multiply the volume by the local cost per cubic yard of concrete, considering the average range of $125 to $150. Don’t forget to factor in any additional costs for finishes, colors, or complex designs, which can significantly affect the final price.

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