Ways To Save Money On Your Next Concrete Pour

Austin Concrete pours are expensive due to the necessary materials to ensure a completed project with its desired results. Here are tips on how you can avoid spending unnecessary money on your next Concrete Austin pour.

1) Do you need rebar? No one wants an even stronger foundation, but if your engineer requires it, then there may not be much choice involved. Using steel reinforcement will increase costs because it takes more effort and time to install the barbed wire mesh or another type of metal fabric placed within the wet concrete mix. Whether you want to save money or not, this process will be necessary, and the only thing that can help is if the person in charge of contracting uses rebar mesh instead of wire reinforcement.

2) What is your construction schedule? An earlier pour date means more time for the concrete to cure before it’s used, resulting in less unsatisfactory results. This can cause cracks or other surface imperfections during the finishing stage, which would require additional work and therefore cost extra. 

3) What are the weather conditions? A rainy day can be bad news for a concrete pour because of safety and workability issues. Wet concrete cannot be worked with effectively by either the pourer or finisher and requires additional time to cure so that that rain delays will cost more than usual. When the ground is too cold, this will need extra heaters on-site, which increases costs and may create an added fire hazard depending on how many heaters you’re using. If there is no heat involved, then there’ll be increased hauling fees since wet concrete hauling isn’t as efficient as dry hauling due to its weight.

4) Time Frame Related Costs. Weather is rarely predictable. You can have the most detailed weather forecast that pinpoints down to the minute when rain or cold temperatures are expected, but problems will always arise at the last minute, causing delays. The time of year also plays a vital role since you can’t pour concrete if it’s below freezing, so any job requiring a substantial amount of concrete either has to wait for warmer weather or be run in sections. Either way, both options will drive up costs due to added labor time and hauling fees depending on how far apart each area is; they may even require more temporary heaters depending on how widespread your project is. There are additional costs associated with working with cold weather as well. If you are pouring concrete in the winter, there is an increased potential of forming ice on your newly placed concrete. There are additives available to help with the freezing problem, but they are not always practical. Another consideration is that finishing will take longer due to the cold weather, which means more time (and money) spent removing forms and smoothing out surfaces.

All this being said, if you’ve decided that your project absolutely cannot wait until warmer weather or you want it finished sooner rather than later, then here’s how to save some money:

  • Hire Local Helpers: When applying for work permits (such as building permits), make sure you use them at least ten days before the actual start date; most cities now require two weeks’ notice. This way, you will have enough time to find workers and make sure they know what they are doing. If you hire people from Craigslist, you should meet them first and try them out, if possible; this will reduce the amount of time wasted during the project.
  • Use Cheap and Low-Quality Mix: Concrete generally has a mix ratio of 1:3 or 1:4 (meaning one bag of concrete mix added to either 3 or 4 bags water), but for pours in cold weather, use a 2-mix ratio…consider it as doubling your materials costs.
  • No Crack Control: When it’s hot outside, professional finishers apply crack control products such as “Concrete Protector” before floating and finishing the surface…this speeds up drying and avoids unsightly cracks.
  • Sub-par Finishing: Applying too little power float and then applying the finish is the number one mistake made by amateurs. You’ve got to get rid of that orange peel texture for a polished look. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money on materials and labor.

Do it Yourself: Hiring a professional to pour your concrete in beautiful patterns is worth every penny when compared with trying to do it yourself…most often, they end up looking like “Custer’s Last Stand.”