Ready Mix Concrete Ordering Tips

May 02, 2019 7 Comments

Are you ready to order ready mix concrete? If you think so, then think twice. You could be ordering the wrong mix design, reducing your revenues or offering a product that is not the ideal concrete mix design. Here we have prepared a list of productive tips that will assist you before ordering ready-mix concrete.


One of the most important factors before ordering ready-mix concrete is knowing the required compressive strength. Typically, reinforced concrete ranging between 3,500 to 4,000 psi is used on footing and slabs on grade; between 3,500 to 5,000 psi on suspended slabs, beams and girders; and walls and columns normally require between 3,000 to 5,000 psi. When non-reinforced concrete is used different strengths will be required. If you are using it on footings and walls, a concrete strength of 2,500 psi could be enough while between 4,000 to 5,000 psi is needed for pavements.

Outdoor concrete used on home improvements should be ordered with a strength ranging from 3,500 to 4,500 psi.


The maximum coarse aggregate must also be specified when ordering ready-mix concrete. If you use larger coarse aggregate in a cross-section where the steel ratio is high, then you could be in for big problems due to honeycombing. The maximum size coarse aggregate ordered must be determined by the American Concrete Institute Standard (ACI) and depends on the spacing of reinforcing steel, inside form dimensions and available aggregates.

Maximum aggregate shall not exceed 1/5 the narrowest inside form dimension and shall not be greater than ¾ the spacing between re-bars. Normally, the structural engineer will provide guidance and direction in regards to the aggregate sizing.

Concrete Slump

Slump is the consistency of the concrete when it’s being placed. Slump shall be specified low although it will vary depending on reinforcement spacing, formwork type, and the slope or the place where it will be placed. Slumps are also determined by ACI standards although we can recommend the following:

  • Reinforced foundation wall and footings: Slump shall be between 2 and 5 inches
  • Footings, caissons: 1-inch minimum, 4-inch maximum
  • Slabs, beams, building columns, and reinforced walls: 3-inch minimum and 6-inch maximum
  • Pavements: 2-inch minimum and 3-inch maximum
  • Heavy Mass Concrete: 1-inch minimum and 3-inch maximum

Ordering Ready Mix Concrete

Ready mix concrete is normally ordered by cubic yards or cubic meters. The typical truck can deliver between 9 to 11 cubic yards maximum capacity although lower amounts can also be ordered, you will be paying extra for the remaining capacity of the truck not used. The amount of concrete ordered will also depend on where it will be placed and the form used. Always allow for some wasted concrete, which will normally vary between 5 to 10 percent of additional concrete. For a rectangular placing area, multiply length times width times thickness, in feet, and divide it by 27.

That amount will be the necessary cubic yards of concrete needed. When using a cylindrical shape, such as a column, measure its height, multiply by 3.14, then by the square of the cylindrical radius, and then divide it by 27.

Other Important Tips

Remember to also know if you are using an admixture, specify how far the job site is from the batch plant, the arrival time of the concrete that you are requesting, the desired spacing of concrete trucks, specify if you need any fiber or plasticizer, how the concrete is going to be placed (tailgate, pump, wheelbarrow, etc.), air or non-air mix, total amount of ready-mix ordered, contact person, concrete mix ID number, and the purpose of the concrete. Finally, inform the concrete batch plant the conditions of where the ready mix will be placed (slope, incline roof, limited space, basement, roof) or any relevant information that could affect the schedule of the pour.

7 Responses

Sam Andrews
Sam Andrews

January 18, 2023

The fact that orders for ready-mixed concrete are placed in cubic meters or yards most of the time really intrigued me. I was told by my neighbor that she intends to add pavement in her backyard so her son can park his bike there. Okay, it would be good if she hires a contractor to ensure a decent installation soon after.

Georgina Mckenzy
Georgina Mckenzy

November 20, 2022

Thank you for sharing in your article the tips for ordering a ready mix concrete and for the advice that before ordering, make sure we’ve chosen a reputable and trusted supplier. My father is renovating our backyard and wanted to place a small gazebo in the middle. I make sure to mention to him to hire a trusted supplier for the materials he will need.

Merchantline BD
Merchantline BD

October 24, 2022

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Jessie Holloway
Jessie Holloway

August 10, 2022

I like how you talk about elements to know that will affect the type of concrete you need for a project. My parents want to repave their driveway but don’t know what material they should use. We’ve been looking into finding a contractor that does concrete to help them choose and apply the right kind for the area.

Anna Collins
Anna Collins

August 02, 2022

I appreciate you informing us beforehand that it’s best to consider the required compressive strength first before ordering ready-mix concrete since they come in varying numbers, like 3500-4500 psi if you want to use it for outdoor home improvements. I was thinking of adding a patio to my house, so I was considering using concrete as the material for it. I’ll be sure to keep this range in mind once I find a concrete contractor to make an order with for ready-mix concrete.

Mats Wolff
Mats Wolff

July 26, 2022

Your statement that ready-mix concrete is typically ordered by cubic yards or cubic meters is fascinating. I want to engage a residential concrete firm to help me build my new house. I would need to consult a professional that can help me choose a reputable concrete service for my house. I adore this article.

Amy Saunders
Amy Saunders

April 07, 2022

It was really hard to ignore what you specified about the importance of sending a mixed concrete sample for a durability test before committing to it. The pavement leading to my neighbor’s garage has been cracking so bad and he wants to replace it with a sturdier structure. I’ll certainly forward this info to him so he can order the perfect supply.

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