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Formula to Calculate Cubic Yard Concrete

By Billy McCarley

Pouring concrete is a project do-it-yourself homeowners shouldn't be afraid to do. Many years ago, the homeowner would need to call a contractor, and wait for him to come, estimate and do the job. The homeowner revolution has changed the way projects are completed. Today, the do-it-yourself rebel can figure out how much concrete she needs to order with little or no difficulty.

Length and width

Measure the length and width of the concrete to be poured. If you are pouring a pad, then just multiply the width by the length to figure the area. For footings, combine the entire length of the footings and multiply by the width. For example, if you are pouring a footing for a 12-foot-by-12-foot building, take the length of the sides and multiply by the number of sides: 12 x 4 = 48 and multiply by the width (16 inch footings converts to 1.33 inches), so 48 times 1.33 is the square footage of the footings.

Cubic Feet

Next, find the cubic feet of concrete to be poured--later you will convert this to cubic yards because concrete is sold by the cubic yard. If your pad is 4 inches thick, that will convert to .33 feet--you must stay in feet. For footings--they are usually 8 inches thick for light construction--convert the 8 inches into .66 feet. So, you have the following formula, for the example footings, which will give you cubic feet: 48 (length of footings) x1.33 (16-inch footings) x.66 (8-inch deep footings) = 42.13 cubic feet of concrete.

Convert the cubic feet

Calculate a slab by multiplying length by width by thickness (4 inches is equivalent to .33 feet). Divide that number by 27 and you will have the cubic yards for the slab. For the footings, take the 42.13 cubic feet calculated earlier and divide by 27 (1 cubic yard of concrete equals 27 cubic feet). The final formula is 48 x 1.33 x .66 = 42.13 divided by 27 = 1.56 cubic yards of concrete. Round it up to the next half-yard. You would need to order 2 yards of concrete to pour the footings. If you are pouring the slab at the same time, be sure to add in the concrete for that.


About the Author


Billy McCarley has been freelancing online since April 2009. He has published poetry for Dead Mule, an online literary publication, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University Of Alabama where he is also a first-year graduate student in history.