# How many wheelbarrows for a yard of concrete?

Snip
Having pushed a wheelbarrow or three hundred as a kid- volume isn't as important as weight. Wet concrete weighs like a bitch- it would take superman to push a full-size wheelbarrow of it, especially since we are usually talking pushing it on dirt or bouncy walkboards. A full one would usually lose the top 3-4 inches of fill to splashing. If you are filling the wheelbarrows out of a truck or portable mixer, more important to have many strong backs and several wheelbarrows staged. You only have so many minutes of 'open' time before you have to dump the load Right There, rather than in the forms. Once the concrete shows up, IT is in charge- no smoke breaks, no lunch, no potty breaks. You move and shovel and screed till the forms are filled.
Back before concrete pumpers came along, they used to have cute little self-dumping gas-powered walk-behind 'mules' for use on sites where you couldn't get the truck close enough.
aem sends...
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Yep. I can't believe how everybody got all wrapped up around 'how much does it hold' ignoring the fact that _noone_ with sense would ever fill a barrow full. At least noone who has ever moved even one barrow with mud in it.
Harry K
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No offense, but has basic math skills gone out the window so that you have to guess?
One yard is 36x36x36"F656 cubic inches If your bucket is 28x35x10, that's 9800 cubic inces
46656/9800=4.76
IOW, 5 trips.
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On Oct 15, 8:25 am, snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

>snip<
But keep the truck off your driveway unless you like cracked concrete. He might make ruts in the lawn, but in a few months they will disappear. Have lots of helpers available, don't forget to compact the soil and use pea gravel and wire mesh/rebar. Good luck.
Joe
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On Oct 15, 9:25 am, snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

Just for the record, I've never heard of anyone ordering 3.25 yards. I don't think they make/transport concrete in that level of precision -- esp. to the second decimal place. So don't plan your needs too closely.
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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

Whatever results you come up with, double them. It's far, far better to have too many helpers than too few. For example, what happens when one (or more) of the volunteer wheelbarrows breaks? Or for that matter, when one of your helpers keels over with a heart attack? What happens if it rains? Helpers are cheap (pizza and beer).
Lay a plywood track to the dumping area.
You'll need barrow drivers and concrete spreaders. Have plenty of tools on hand (shovels, hoes, etc.).
Your plan for an adjustable form sounds fine. Be sure to put in reinforcing (rebar, wire mesh...)
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re: what happens...when one of your helpers keels over with a heart attack?
Wouldn't you need less concrete?
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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

A 35 by 28 by 10 half-ellipsoid is 2.97 cubic feet, and in my experience wheelbarrows are a little closer to conical than to that. A cone (elliptical version as opposed to circular) of the same dimensions is 1.9 cubic feet. I would guess about 2.2-2.3 cubic feet.
Meanwhile, suppose the actual inside dimensions are 33 by 26.5 by 9.5? That's 15% less volume! Sounds to me like 1.9 to 2 cubic feet now.
Another point - that wheelbarrow will not be level during the filling and the transportation. I think it would be optimistic to fill it 1 inch short of the top, and I think 33 by 26.5 by 9.5 then becomes at best 31 by 24.5 by 8.5, and that's with optimistic aggressive filling of the wheelbarrow. That makes the volume 66% of the original figure (of 2.2-2.3 cubic feet), meaning about 1.5 cubic feet. Make that 1.6, because that portion of the wheelbarrow gets a little closer to a half-ellipsoid and a little less like a cone. But this is still with filling the wheelbarrows so full that you have a good chance of spilling concrete. I think more realistic is fill it 1.5-2 inches short of the top, roughly 1.3 cubic feet of concrete. A cubic yard is 20-21 wheelbarrow loads at that rate. I may be erring a bit on the conservative side - please post your actual results!
Now, another matter: How much weight to pour into a wheelbarrow? Although the wheelbarrow operator only has to lift about 40% maybe 35% of the weight of the wheelbarrow and the load, keep in mind how much a cubic foot of concrete weighs. I asked a concrete mixer driver how much concrete by cubic yards and tons his truck carries, and IIRC the answer was 10 cubic yards and 20 tons - meaning a density of 2 tons per cubic yard. I have read a few slightly lesser figures however. A ton per cubic yard is 148 pounds per cubic foot. The Wikipedia article on concrete says that the density is usually around 150 pounds per cubic foot.
My experience suggests that if someone has to carry much over about 100 pounds, there is a good chance that things get wobbly. Beer goes only so far to buy careful driving at best! I am guessing that it takes 10 pounds of force to lift the handles of an empty wheelbarrow of above size, leaving 90 pounds divided by the 35-40% above that I am guesstimating for percentage of weight showing up at the handles. That means 225-257 pounds of concrete. Divide by the Wiki figure of 150 pounds per cubic foot, and that is 1.5-1.7 cubic feet.
At this moment, I would say probably 1.3 to 1.5 cubic feet per wheelbarrow load, 18 to 21 wheelbarrow loads. Though I would not be too surprised if everyone manages a "good mood chemistry" and gets it done in 15 trips - but be prepared for things to not work quite that well and require closer to 20 trips.
Be prepared to accept the concrete delivery in a timely manner, especially if you are not the last stop for the concrete truck. The driver does need to empty the truck before the concrete hardens, and concrete does not need air to harden. Concrete cures from the cement ingredient (typically "Portland Cement") combining with water to form a rock-like hydrated material. Maybe even if you are the last stop the truck still needs to keep rolling on a schedule - I suspect the truck may need to be rinsed out before the residue hardens! (They say "cures" in that industry.)
Another thing that may help a little, at least gain a "brownie point", when dealing with concrete people: Don't refer to concrete as cement. Cement is the adhesive component of concrete. Cement roughly means glue! Concrete is a mixture of cement, "fine aggregate" (traditionally sand), and "coarse agregate" (this is often pebbles). The basis for this is that most of the volume is pebbles with sand grains filling much of the space between the pebbles, and pebbles and sand cost a lot less than cement does.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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On Tue, 16 Oct 2007 00:23:59 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@manx.misty.com (Don Klipstein) wrote:

I just read all the replies on here. I know better than to fill the WB (wheelbarrow) to the top. I mixed some concrete for another shed by hand (with an electric mixer). I once overfilled the WB and it tipped over. What a mess !!!! I was originally going to mix this shed by hand, but since I am doing the driveway, it only ends up costing \$40 more, because they charge \$30 more per yard for loads smaller than 3 yards. So, by ordering 3 yards, I am saving \$60 on the first two. Or, in other words, 3 yards will cost \$300, two yards would cost \$260. So, I will be paying about \$65 for that shed floor. (With that extra quarter yard). I can barely mix it for that, and it takes a lot of work to shovel all that sand and stone and make the mix right.
Here's another idea that I got today. The shed is attached to the rear of my barn (it's a feed room). The truck can not get in the rear by the shed because the garage and some trees are in the way. However, if I close the gate to fence out my horses, the truck could drive to the front of the barn where there is a 9foot wide sliding door. I know the door is too low for the truck to enter, but their chute could come right thru the barn. They'd need a chute about 25feet long. The barn itself is 20ft wide so if they parked 2 feet from the door, ran the chute thru the barn, (at a slight angle), they could pour it right into that shed. The door comes off easily enough.
Does anyone know how long the average chutes are on cement trucks?
Thanks Alvin
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On Oct 16, 4:22 am, snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

Call your readimix company. They'll tell you--it probably varies by model. A front discharge can reach 21 feet. A rear less. I'd look into a conveyor truck. They aren't as versatile as a pump, but they are cheaper, at least where I live. I just poured a three yard porch patio with one--cost me about 125 bucks above the cost of the concrete. They are good for small pours because the concrete and the conveyor show up on the same truck.
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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

Good plan.
Call and find out. However long the chute is, that's some distance you don't have to manually hump the stuff.
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On 16 Oct, 05:22, snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

I assume you've already determined that the ground where the truck will be driven/parked can handle the weight?
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Holy cow! Now comes to my mind... When I asked a concrete truck driver about weights and yards, best as I remember besides a full load being 10 cubic yards and 20 tons, is what the truck weighed empty... That gets a little foggy now, but I'm pretty sure in or near the range of 12-15 tons.
You might want to find out if you are not the truck's last stop.
However, my experience has been that driveways don't get destroyed by having a small number of incidences of heavy trucks using them. You may get some cracks, etc.
Then again, ask the driver when the truck is approaching your property. The driver will probably have enough experience to be the expert to ask in that area. And I also advise to have enough wheelbarrows and well-fed well-fueled well-hydrated friends (soda and bottled water, make sure you have caffeine available, as well as beer and food) to be prepared for a bad answer from the truck driver. Also, I give some chance that offering the truck driver a soda or two to drink and a beer to take home can help - and also have bottled water in the cooler (a case of bottled water is usually \$5-something at Target in my experience). Some people who you need to work with you may want at least at some moment water more than sugar, caffeine, food or alcohol.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

I have seen plenty of these chutes, and *DOGGONE IT NOW* I have trouble remembering if they are about 6 feet long, 8 feet long, 10 feet long or 12 feet long. I would say almost certainly under 15 feet. I am starting to think around 7 to 10 feet.
But if the chute stops 10 or 20 feet short of where the concrete has to go, you only need 2 or 3 wheelbarrows and wheelbarrow operators, maybe just 1 case of beer, maybe a boombox playing some good energizing "classic rock" or good energizing dance music from back when they knew how to make it!
Also, if you need the driver to do you favors and take some extra time or do tricky truck maneuvering, I think you have a good chance of gaining at least half a brownie point calling the stuff concrete rather than cement.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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By now the OP has been able to mix all he needed a teaspoon at a time.
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replying to alvinamorey, Rodney D Mengel wrote: Exactly right,on the form. From the side's and leave the tail form, when you run out of cement take back a pile and secure the bulkhead. Most contractor grade wheelbarrows are 6cu,ft.
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