Guide to laying concrete

What is a concreter?

Effectively a concreter lays concrete. That may be a concrete driveway, concrete house slab, concrete patio, concrete footpaths and the list goes on. Given that concreting is a highly labour intensive task that needs to be done quickly before the freshly laid concrete is set, concreting is often done by a gang of concreters.

A concreter may have his/her own cement truck or have the cement delivered directly from a supplier such as Boral. Concreters should have their concreting tools and equipment such as concrete screeds, concrete edgers, concrete stencils and of course their trusty concrete mixer.

What types of concrete are there?

The modern day choices for concrete are immense. No longer are you bound by boring bare concrete, todays concreters provide an array of options including:

  • coloured concrete
  • stenciled concrete
  • stamped concrete
  • spray on patterned concrete
  • pebblecrete
  • exposed concrete aggregate
  • grinded concrete aggregate
  • polished concrete

There are also many treatments that concreters can apply to the concrete to improve aspects such as colour, waterproofing and bonding. You can also ask for concrete additives to be applied to help with anti-slip and dust.

What does a concreter do?

Some of the popular job requests for concreters include:

  • Coloured concrete for a patio.
  • Exposed aggregate driveways.
  • Stenciled concrete driveways.
  • House slabs.
  • Driveway crossovers.
  • Concrete footpaths.

When concreting, concreters perform a number of tasks including:

  • Site preparation including clearing and leveling the area to be concreted, marking out and setting up the formwork for the concrete, and placing down the concrete steel reinforcement.
  • Mixing the sand, cement and water as well as aggregates in the cement mixer to make concrete.
  • Transporting the concrete into position with the use of concrete pumps and wheelbarrows.
  • Laying the concrete into the formwork, ensuring that the fresh concrete is spread and leveled correctly using concrete screeds.
  • Compacting and smoothing the concrete with the use of paving and trowelling machines and equipment.
  • Polishing the concrete.
  • Enhancing the concrete with various concrete surfaces by applying stencils and stamps.
  • Concrete cutting to apply expansion joints into the concrete.

What does a concreter cost?

Concreters buy their concrete by the cubic metre so therefore need to calculate the volume of concrete that will be required for your concreting job. The length and width of the area to be concreted are rather easy to calculate giving you the square metres of concrete required. Concreters traditionally charge you by the square metre to make it easy for everyone involved. However, when you are provided with a square metre rate be sure to check that they have applied the appropriate thicknesses for the concrete. The following minimum thicknesses should apply:

  • Paths: 75mm thick.
  • Driveways: 100mm thick.
  • Garage floors: 125mm thick.

An estimate of standard square metre charges by concreters are:

  • Plain concrete: $50-$70 per square metre.
  • Coloured concrete: $60-$85 per square metre.
  • Slate impression: $70+ per square metre
  • Stenciled finish: $80+ per square metre.

As an example a standard 70 square metre driveway will cost between $3,800 and $5,000. The same driveway with coloured concrete will cost between $4,300 and $6,000.

What do consider before hiring a concreter

The key to getting a good concreter at a good price is being prepared and having your specifications ready. If you have done your research and have a clear idea of exactly what you require then concreters will be competing for your job. You should have specifciations of:

  • Square metres of the area to be concreted.
  • Colour of the concrete.
  • Patterns or stamps that you would like to be applied.
  • Surfaces such as spray on paving, etc.

You should also consider timing, if you're undertaking a major building or renovation project when is the right time to have your concreting done? Can you ensure that you're new driveway will not be damaged by other tradespeople?

How to find a concreter

Service Central makes it easy to find a concreter. Simply fill out this form: Get quotes from concreters. Service Central will notify the local concrete companies, and those that are available and interested in your concrete job will call you back.

What to ask a concreter

For a large concreting project you should have clear specifications and ask each concreter to quote on your specifications. That way you will have up to 3 quotes that you can compare like for like.

When assessing who to choose for your concrete project also ask:

  • Whether they have insurance to cover any personal or property damage that could occur.
  • How long they have been concreting for.
  • How long they have been using their concrete suppliers for. If they have recently changed was this for a good reason, or just because they didn't pay their bill.
  • Can you see pictures of previous work that they have completed?
  • Can they provide testimonials from their previous clients?

How to choose a concreter

By comparing like for like quotes from concreters you are able to determine who has the best price for you. However, you should also take into consideration quality and reliability when choosing a concreter. If the concreter is registered with Service Central you can view his/her online business profile which includes feedback from their previous clients. A combination of price and quality will guide you as to which concreter is right for your concreting job.

More information

For a comprehensive list of concreting information, please head to Service Central's Concreting Page.

This page contains lots of information relevant to concreting including:

  • Concreting articles, information and guides.
  • List of pre-qualified local concreters
  • Get concreting quotes service
  • List of job requests for concreters
  • And, even concreting jokes!

Discussion Rate article:
· 2 ratings
  • This is a fabulous article, thanks for the very informative post you did.
    It really help me a lot in understanding the concrete driveways concept.

    over a year ago by concrete driveways
  • Excellent information here, thank you.
    It did not stop me falling off my chair when i worked out the total i would be up for, but that is fairly common i guess... :-)
    Thanks again - good work.

    over a year ago by Timmy
  • Very nice article .. Helps more, for the concrete concepts .. Keep it up..

    over a year ago by Room Dividers nyc
  • Do you need to run a compactor over the sand or dust prior to laying the plastic?

    over a year ago by Richard
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