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Thread: How much labor to pour concrete?

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    DIY Member smhowell's Avatar
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    Default How much labor to pour concrete?

    My husband has a 8' by 30' pad which will need about 3.5 tons of concrete to pour. How much manpower should it take to get the concrete off the truck and smooth finished? We are wondering if we should hire a couple of extra guys to help.

    Thanks in advance,
    Sharon

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Your having it deliverd from a mixing truck? That's a lot of wheelbarrow loads, if the truck can't get close enough. If you aren't used to that kind of manual labor, you'll definately want some help. Moving it all around, smoothing it out is heavy, messy, work. 3-4 guys maybe?

    SOmebody else have some ideas?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default concrete

    And at least one of the guys working on the concrete should be experienced with the special tools needed for a slab that size.

    After I moved here, I heard about a homeowner that was pouring a patio behind his house. He built the forms and then ordered the concrete. Before it got there he had to go buy something so told his wife to have the driver pour the concrete in the forms. Several hours later he called the concrete company and said, "You delivered my concrete several hours ago. When is it going to level itself out?"

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Having done this once, I would recommend you find a concrete finishing outfit and watch them do the job while you sip a cold adult beverage. You wouldn't believe how heavy concrete is when you're on the working end of a shovel. And, if you want it anywhere near level, smooth, etc., you've got to know what you're doing and have the right tools. It does a lousy job of leveling itself, as hj pointed out.

    But, to answer your question, I watched an experienced crew of 3 do a similar job in just under an hour. One of them mostly supervised, and the concrete was pumped, rather than wheeled. I'd add another guy if you don't want to pay for the pump.

  5. #5

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    Like drywalling, unless you've practiced, it's not something to undertake in a very visible spot or on any kind of scale. You can research the method and design it perfectly, but mixing to the right consistency and finish troweling/screeding require a certain 'touch' that you get with experience. You only get one chance to do it right. If it were me, I'd hire someone.
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    8 x 30 ft, 4" thick, is 80 cubic feet, which is 1 cubic ft short of 3 cubic yards.

    Concrete weighs about 2 tons per cubic yard, so you have close to 6 tons; 12,000 pounds.

    You should try to make it possible for them to get the truck close enough so they can use their chute to put the concrete into the whole form without much shoveling.

    Your forms must be solid and well staked, with the top edge at the finished elevation. If the forms give way, you can't get them back in position against the concrete.

    Before the truck arrives, you will want to have a screed built that will span the forms and then some; perhaps ten ft long. and you will want handles on both ends so two people can run it back and forth to level the concrete. Your screed should have an arc so the center of the slab is higher than the sides, so water won't stand on the finished slab.

    You will also need a float to finish it smooth.

    With concrete you want minimum water until it sets up; then keep it moist for a week while it cures.

    http://www.westrocinc.com/Tips/tips.html
    Last edited by Bob NH; 09-02-2006 at 07:52 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If the slab butts up to the house, then slop it away from the house rather than from the middle out...getting a nice finish on the concrete is somewhat an art. There's a finite time between when you screed the stuff flat then to when you can trowel it off. Don't forget expansion joints in a slab that size. You can saw them in later, but you might want to do it when finishing. If you aren't reading up on this and have a good idea what needs to be done, then pay someone.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    That's too big a job for a novice. You could get friends and neighbors to help, but chances are they are not experienced finishers either and may well play out before the job is done. You could also hire some cheap labor, but they would be worse than your friends and neighbors. You will be money ahead to hire a professional concrete finishing company to properly prepare the base, build the forms, screed, and float. This will give you a slab that will look good and not end up cracking. There are some jobs that are best left to the professionals, and this is one of them.

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    The old saying, "time and tide wait for no man" should have included "concrete" as well.

  10. #10
    DIY Member smhowell's Avatar
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    Default How much labor to pour concrete?

    Thanks for all the advice.

    First off, I should have said 3 1/2 YARDS, not tons. It actually was about 7 tons.

    What we wound up doing, was hiring a couple of experienced guys, and my husband, myself (not much help there as I'm pretty weak from cancer) and my 17 year old son helped them.

    We barely got the truck unloaded within the allotted 1 hour; fortunately we had borrowed equipment from a professional who knew what we needed. The pad turned out perfect, except for where my husband stepped on the corner, and that's not too bad. We do have to go back and saw the stress relief deeper, but that's doable. It took right at 4 hours, and we are going to try to hire those guys back when we get ready for the next pour. I think we will take the driver's advice and rent a "Georgia cart" next time to offload the truck. We used all but about two wheelbarrow loads of what we ordered.

    Thanks again,
    Sharon

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