Refinishing your driveway in ST. Petersburg FL, can seem like a daunting undertaking, especially when you’re trying to figure out how much a concrete driveway actually costs. As you get estimates, I’m sure you’ll hear a wide variety of prices, so the best strategy is to already have a fair understanding of how to approximate the costs. That way, you’ll be informed when a contractor quotes you an absolutely outrageous price.
Step 1: Type of Driveway
The first step is to determine your needs. What are you going to be parking on your driveway? Cars and light trucks can all be parked safely on a 4 inch thick driveway, while heavier vehicles like boats, RVs, or campers are best parked on driveways 6+ inches thick. You also need to be aware that the “approach” (the first 9 – 10 feet of driveway that abuts the road) must be 6 inches thick. Remember that if your driveway abuts the road twice, you have two approaches! Don’t forget to factor that into your costs.
Step 2: Measurements
If you are replacing a concrete driveway that has already been laid down, take a long tape measure and measure the dimensions. Make sure you draw a small diagram to help you keep the dimensions straight. A diagram can be particularly helpful if your driveway is curved.
If you are laying down a new driveway, take string and some cheap stakes from Home Depot or Lowes and stake out the driveway.
Either way, you need fairly precise measurements of the driveway in order to calculate your costs appropriately. Measure twice, write once! For our example, we’re going to say the driveway we want to refinish is 20′ wide and 60′ long with one approach.
Step 3: Math time!
We hate math too. Don’t worry though, these calculations aren’t too painful. The first thing you want to do is subtract 10 feet of length from the overall driveway length for each approach you have. For our sample driveway, that would mean our length would now be 50 feet.
Multiple that number by the width and desired thickness. For us, that would be 50 feet long x 4 inches thick x 20 feet wide. Be careful with your units! 4 inches = 1/3 of a foot, so the real calculation is 50 x 1/3 x 20 = 333 cubic feet. Concrete is delivered by the cubic yard, so you need to divide that number by 27 to get your cubic yards. Our example driveway needs 12 1/3 cubic yards of concrete.
Step 4: Add in the Approach
Math time isn’t over, unfortunately. You have to factor in your approaches now.
Most driveways don’t meet the road flush, usually they flare out to each side by a few feet to make turning into them easier. Regardless of whether you want the flares, we have to do the same calculation as above for the 10 feet of driveway.
10 feet (length) x 1/2 (6 inches depth) x 20 feet (width) = 100 cubic feet / 27 = 3.7 cubic yards of concrete.
If you do choose to flare out your driveway, each triangle will be (width of each triangle) x (length of each triangle) x 1/2 (six inches deep).
Now add step 3 to the final number you got for step four. Our hypothetical driveway needs 16 1/3 cubic feet of concrete to be made. Unfortunately, driveways need to be laid on a bed of sand which is usually 3 inches deep. So we have to add that to our calculations. The good news is that sand is pretty cheap. For our driveway, we’d need 60 x 20 x 1/3 cubic feet divided by 27 = 14.8 cubic yards of sand.
Step 5: Get Estimates
Now that you have your approximate needs, you have two choices. You can either call your local ST. Petersburg FL quarries and concrete or sand wholesalers and get costs on the materials, or you can hire top rated concrete contractors st. Petersburg FL who will handle all of that for you. A contractor will cost you more money because of the additional labor and overhead, but it will also save you the headache of pouring your own driveway. If you’ve never worked with concrete before, it’s more complicated than it looks!
If you choose to go the wholesaler route, remember that you’ll also have to pay for trucking / hauling from the site to your house. You’ll also need 2x4s and wood stakes to make the form which you’ll pour the concrete into.
Regardless of whether you’re planning on doing this project on your own or using a contractor, giving the wholesalers a call can give you an idea of what the raw materials cost in your area. That will give you a much better idea of how much (or how little) of a markup the contractor is putting on the service. You should expect to pay somewhere between $1 – $1.50 a square foot for labor.
Step 6: Longevity
Concrete driveways have a tendency to crack and expand over time, so you might want to consider adding some sort of reinforcement to it. Rebar and wire mesh are commonly used and should run you in the neighborhood of 10 cents / sq ft.