General Question

laureth's avatar

What's the cheapest way to buy cement in bulk?

Asked by laureth (27083 points ) February 25th, 2012

So we’re pricing out what it would take to build ourselves a home. Because we’re doing it on the cheap, we’re providing our own labor and looking for ways to get the materials for, hopefully, less than retail price.

There’s just gotta be a better way to buy enough concrete (or Portland cement and fill equivalent) for a slab foundation than just going to our local Big Box home improvement handyman retail store (like Lowe’s or Home Depot) and buying individual bags of cement, and hoping for a case discount at the most.

Do you have experience with this, or useful ideas? Even if you don’t live in our corner of the world, even ideas about what sorts of suppliers to look for, would be helpful. Thanks!

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10 Answers

Kayak8's avatar

Do you calculations and figure out how much concrete you will need and call the truck to come and pour. You wear the boots and stand in the muck and pull it all around to where you need it, but once you get to where you need more than 10 bags, I say call for the truck!

laureth's avatar

Is the truck cheaper than buying an equivalent amount, without the truck?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

This might be a little slow for you, but it’s really cheap. My grandfather had an agreement with all the cement truck drivers for one local company. Whenever they had extra cement left after a delivery he’d pay them cash for the leftover cement. They were going to dump it when they got back to the plant, so it worked out great.

flutherother's avatar

You’ll find contacts for manufacturers here

laureth's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe – I too have heard tell of a guy who basically built a free house from construction leftovers, including the cement. But hearing that each batch of cement is made with that day’s project in mind, made me worry that this method would leave us with a patchwork of cement with different qualities from one batch to the next, which might compromise the structural integrity of the slab.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@laureth Yeah, that’s a question. It’s poured over time rather than all at once. We did it for a barnyard so integrity wasn’t a big concern. Maybe go thicker than normal with the concrete?

rooeytoo's avatar

When we lived in the NT of Australia there were giant termite hills everywhere and they make excellent concrete substitute.

If you don’t have access to them, I am with @marinelife, I have never costed it out, but having the truck come in and pour and you do the labor seems the best way to go and would insure the consistency and quality of the pad.

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elbanditoroso's avatar

Remember that the shelf life of concrete, once mixed, is pretty short. If you let it dry out too much, it does not cure properly and begins to degrade and chip almost immediately. So if you are going to mix your own, keep in mind your own capabilities and resources or you will have lots of waste (and an unstable base).

I would have the slab commercially poured, because they have a better handle on shelf life of the mixed product.

laureth's avatar

Thanks! Happily, we went ahead and ended up getting an already-built house (although it does need significant renovation). So it’s unlikely that we’ll have to pour concrete in the foreseeable future. :)

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