As you have undoubtedly read throughout our site, foundation issues, whether they be inside or outside the house, can get expensive. But when it comes your home’s exterior, concrete slabs act as terrific bases for foundations under a shed, storage units, garages, temporary swimming pools, grills and or even a mobile home.
Homeowners thinking about adding concrete slabs will be happy to know that they are not expensive. Even with a large array of grades and types, concrete slabs usually cost under $2 per square foot. That’s not the only advantage concrete slabs bring.
If you feel your home’s exterior is missing something, let ImproveNet connect you with a local mason to get your project under way.
Concrete Slab Costs
Needless to say, installing and/or making concrete is a job better left to the pros, but if you are up for a DIY challenge, you will certainly save some dough.
According to our concrete slab material estimator, the average minimum cost per square foot of a concrete slab is $1.36 and the maximum is $1.88. By comparison, the price per square foot for a cement slab is $5.50. Just know that even if you do not hire a pro, there are additional costs that come with all concrete slab projects.
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Supplies, such as the wood used to shape the concrete, can add $3.75 per square foot. As you can see, the price of the supplies is more than the concrete itself. That is because extra strength is needed to create the forms, thus resulting in a higher cost.
On the likelihood that you do hire a pro, installation costs for a concrete slab average $65.50 per hour. If you have a poor foundation or are working on a slope, the overall cost can go up. Finally, if your project requires a thicker slab than normal (6”), the price can go up.
To determine the true cost, you must know how much concrete is required for your project. See how much concrete you need with our concrete calculator.
Concrete Slab Advantages
Besides the low cost, there are other advantages that come with concrete slabs. First and foremost, they offer heavy structures strength and a stable foundation below. This way, you won’t have to worry about the floor, ground or concrete buckling or cracking when you place that 3,000 Ib. hot tub over it. Additionally, while extreme cold is certainly not its friend, concrete slabs are highly resistant to weathering and corrosion. Finally, as you will see later on, there are many different types of concrete to choose from.
Concrete Slab Disadvantages
Nevertheless, as is the case with any product, there are certain disadvantages as well. Like I said, cold weather is not a friend (to any of us really). Concrete slabs can crack in very cold areas. Furthermore, fresh concrete is prone to sticking as it dries and discoloration can occur after years of exposure to water, salt, grease or oils. Needless to say, the product does not come without its fair share of drawbacks, but even if your concrete does crack, there are ways to fix it without a pro.
Concrete Slab Grades
If you are still convinced that concrete slabs are right for you, then you must know the three primary grades of concrete. The grading of concrete is based on the strength measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Grades are determined by the cement, water and aggregate mixture. The three concrete grades are:
- Basic Concrete: This grade is the lowest strength of concrete used to make concrete slabs.
- Commercial Grade Concrete: This is the most common grade of concrete used to build concrete slabs.
- High-Strength Concrete: This type of concrete is used in applications that must support a heavy structure.
Concrete Slab Types
One the key advantages of using concrete is its large selection. There are many different subtypes of concrete. These subtypes are based upon the aggregate used in the mix of cement, sand and water.
Regular Concrete: The strength of this type of concrete ranges from 1,400 psi to 5,800 psi. This mixture consists of Portland cement, water and sand (sand is the aggregate).
Self-Consolidating Concrete: This concrete is growing in popularity and currently accounts for over 75% of precast concrete sales in the U.S. It does not require compaction and can save more than 50% on labor costs. It is used in the creation of industrial concrete slabs and other construction projects.
Stamped Concrete: This is regular-strength concrete that has floor hardeners and pigments impregnated on the surface. Stampers create a pattern on the surface to make the slab resemble stone, brick or other materials.
Limecrete: In this type of concrete, lime replaces the Portland cement as the binder. It is an environmentally-friendly choice as the lime would otherwise be sent to a landfill.
Glass Concrete: Recycled glass is used as the large aggregate. This type of concrete makes aesthetically pleasing concrete slabs for use under a picnic table or other recreational area. The glass adds strength and beauty to the final product.
Pervious Concrete: This is concrete without sand. Instead, only larger aggregates are used. This allows water to flow through the concrete slab and into the ground. It is ideal for concrete slabs to be placed in areas with high humidity and heavy amounts of precipitation.
Polymer Concrete: Polymers added to the concrete mix allow for hardening within four hours to strengths of up to 5,000 psi.
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Geopolymer Concrete: Slabs made of this type of concrete feature a binder that is made of industrial waste including fly ash, slurry and slag. This type of concrete slab offers a high resistance to chemicals and heat.
Asphalt Concrete: A bituminous binder is used in place of the Portland cement to hold together the aggregates.
High-Strength Concrete: Its strength is greater than 5,800 psi. To make this form of concrete, the water to cement ratio is less than .35. Sand is used as the aggregate and silica fume is added for additional strength.
High-Performance Concrete: This is high-strength concrete with additional chemicals added for wear resistance and durability. The unique feature of this concrete is its fast curing time, which allows the concrete slab to be used as soon as possible.
Micro-Reinforced Ultra-Performance Concrete: This concrete is high-strength and has steel fibers added to the mix. The steel fibers add to the durability and strength of the finished slab. A concrete slab made of this type of concrete exhibits high resistance to wind, water and chemicals along with high ductility and high-energy absorption. It is ideal for making a concrete slab in earthquake-prone areas.
Rapid-Strength Concrete: This form of concrete achieves its full strength within a few hours of being poured. This allows the concrete slab to be used within a day of its creation.
Concrete slabs are ideal for a wide range of outdoor uses. Given all the options on the market, in addition to its low price, its no coincidence why more and more homeowners are choosing concrete slabs.
If you are ready to add concrete slabs to your backyard, click here and get connected with up to four masonry pros in your area.