There are a few DIY jobs which might require large amounts of concrete at one time, including creating concrete driveways or laying the concrete slab foundation for a garage or outbuilding. In these cases it is worth considering getting your concrete ready-mixed from a local supplier. There are a couple of benefits to using ready-mix concrete, not least the fact that you can be sure of an even consistency for the entire concreted area.
A quick search on Google or a look through your local yellow pages should give you the details of several local suppliers of ready-mix concrete, but be aware that not all of them offer the same level of service or the same price list. If possible, get a recommendation from a friend who has used a local company before.
Always speak to the supplier before going ahead with your order. Any reputable supplier of ready-mix should be able to advise you on the exact mix needed for the job you have in mind, as well as advise on quantity needed and the best method of delivery. But even before you make the first call, it is a good idea to have an idea in your head of how much you will need, etc.
Quantity – There are several quantity calculators online which will help you work out roughly how much concrete you will need. A driveway 5m long and 3m wide, filled to a depth of 50cm will require around 7.5 Cubic metres of concrete. You may find that some suppliers are unwilling to deliver quantities less than around 6 Cubic metres of concrete without adding an additional charge.
Access – Ready-mix trucks are large and heavy. Ensure that the truck will have access to the site. If not, you will need to barrow the concrete from the truck to the site, something which will take much more time and effort. Most ready-mix suppliers will charge extra if they have to be on site longer than about 30 minutes.
Formwork – You will need all of your formwork in place before the delivery truck arrives. The larger and deeper the area, the more sturdy your formwork will need to be. Timber lengths at least 25mm thick are recommended, held in place by stakes driven into the ground at intervals of 1m outside the formwork. You will also need to think about joints in the concrete. Any area of concrete over 4m long should have a joint.
Tools and Labour – If you think you will need to use wheelbarrows to get the concrete to the required site, make sure that you will have enough help available. Each cubic metre of concrete will fill around 25 wheelbarrows. Your supplier might be able to add a retarding agent to the mix which will give you more time to work the concrete before it starts to go off. With that in mind, make sure you have enough wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes and other tools.
Slopes – If your require the concrete on a slope, you will need to think about type of mix you will need. Ask the ready-mix supplier to quote for a Low Slump mix.
With these things in your head (or perhaps on a piece of paper in front of you) you will have a much easier time letting the ready-mix supplier know what is required. Listen to their advice and don’t be afraid to ask questions.