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Understanding The Cost to Upgrade Your Backyard with Concrete

So this is the year. The year that you are going to jump right in and finally upgrade your backyard. You have a small pad that came with the house or worse yet, nothing at all. You have been dealing with cleaning up mud every time it rains. People come over and you would love to have everyone go outside, but the mosquitos from being in the grass, are just out of control. So this is the year. The year you are getting that patio that you absolutely need. Now we just have to figure out what you can afford and what are my choices?


First, I think we need to understand the costs of concrete and where all of your hard earned money is going. Let's dive into the basics. Running a concrete company is no easy feat. There is equipment that you are buying, paying to fix...all the time, not to mention the basics of wood for forms, which is insanely expensive now. This is coming down so I digress on this for now. Lastly, we have the 2 big elephants in the room, labor and concrete. 


Let's start with the labor. These guys work all day in the 97 degree heat slinging around 200 lbs of wet concrete and then smoothing out into a masterpiece a glob of rocks and cement for our entertainment pleasures. So yes, if you want it done right, we don't cheap out in this area. We have guys that I would trust any day of the week to whip me up nothing short of a concrete miracle when the concrete is coming out of the truck dry as a bone just waiting to harden up too fast. 


Speaking of concrete, that brings us to our next big expense, the ready mix plant. Did you know that if you order less than 5 yards of concrete, you are paying a "short load charge"? Yep, that's right. They have to cover the cost to pay their driver, for their truck, the gas to get to the job site and to have that driver clean out the drum for every single dump. So we always encourage people to go bigger. It is cheaper per sqft and you are paying for it anyway. You may as well at least get something for it. 


Now we get to the good stuff, past all the basics and the have to haves on every job site. What we want the concrete to look like and can I afford it? 


Well lets start with, we can make the concrete just about any shape that you want, so try and think out of the box here. Do you want plants in a built-in planter section in the concrete? Do you want to have a bump out for the fire pit area? Do you want to have a step down to the next level and then a rounded area for your outdoor patio set? I could go on and on.

Let's talk about Broom Finished concrete. This is the least expensive form of art when it comes to having a sleek simple patio. Gone are the days of just having a bunch of broom sweeps in the patio though. For the same price, you can get a thick smooth picture frame to make it appear that it has a decorative edge. You could also broom each square in different directions to give it a more modern artistic look. Just these small changes, can make a huge impact. 


The next style is Broom Finish with Stamped borders. This is a great way to get the best of both worlds. With this you can add a pop of color to just the edge of the concrete or take it one step further and make the entire patio one color and stamp the edge with adding a different darker accent color, called release. After this is completed, it is mandatory to seal the concrete to enhance the colored concrete and to give it the stone effect. 


Last but absolutely not least, is Stamped concrete. Stamped concrete is typically adding 1/3 more to the cost of your project. It requires more people on the job, more materials (release color, edging rollers, stamps) and then the patio must be saw cut vs. grooved. I'll go into the reason for this in another blog and link it back here once I have it. Back to stamped concrete though, the possibilities are truly endless. You can choose from about 25 patterns and 70 different color combinations to create the effect you are looking for, for your back yard oasis. 


We help people all the time with providing them different options that meet their design goals and stay within their budget. Call us or go to the website and book a 15 minute free quote today! www.SpecGroupConcrete.com 



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