How much does a concrete patio cost? And are there ways to save money on the job? We get this question a lot, which is why we built the guide below. Read on to learn all you need to know about concrete patio costs.
Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.
When I considered installing a concrete patio last year, I had no idea what I’d have to pay. There are some decent guides out there, but few of them actually go to the point. So I leaned on the contacts I built during my property management days and got a few bids.
The Short Answer: It Depends
Most concrete patio installations cost between $1,500 and $10,000. Expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $20 per square foot. Using a real-life example, bids I got for a 360 square foot stamped concrete patio ranged from $13 to $27 per square foot.
Obviously, this is a pretty big range. The exact price of your particular patio will depend on these main factors:
- Your zip code
- The square footage you want
- Whether you are replacing a pre-existing patio or starting from scratch
- Whether it will need steps or not
- The finishing you want
- Whether or not you want to hire someone to help with the planning and budgeting
- Your desired timeframe for project completion
As with anything, the more complicated the job is, the more it’ll cost. Especially in this environment where skilled labor is hard to find.
Read Next: How Much Concrete Do I Need?
Factors That’ll Affect Your Concrete Patio Cost
How Will You Use Your Patio?
The first consideration when planning your patio is what you will do out there. Do you want a safe spot for your toddlers to ride their tricycles? A place to grill steaks or perhaps enjoy your morning cup of coffee? An elegant space to entertain colleagues?
A backyard patio for family gatherings can be as simple as a slab with a grill, and in the case of a do-it-yourself-er, the cost of your patio can be kept to the price of forms and concrete.
A patio for entertaining business guests might be covered with flagstone or brick, decorated with high-end furniture and potted plants, and include a built-in fireplace or bar. In this case, the sky’s the limit.
When building a patio, there are several essentials to consider depending on your climate, your budget, and your lifestyle, all of which will affect the cost of your concrete patio. Here are some popular examples:
- Clay-colored concrete slabs in an open backyard space overlooking a desert landscape will blend with the scenery, and terra cotta pots filled with succulents and cacti will add a Southwestern feel. A few pieces of rustic furniture with cushions in colorful prints offer a comfortable place to relax as the sun sets.
- Brick-covered patios accented with pots of hibiscus and caladiums evokes a slow and easy atmosphere reminiscent of days gone by in the coastal areas of the South. Add a wrought-iron table and chairs and listen to the cicadas as you sip mint juleps.
- Flagstone-covered patios surrounded by low stone walls with views of mountains in the distance and enclosed by Rhododendrons and mountain laurel hedges. Adirondack chairs invite you to sink back and rest your eyes on the distant peaks.
- Cement slabs and a grill for cooking hot dogs create a summery atmosphere and provide a space for creating family memories.
Of course, these are just a few examples to highlight the types of concrete patios available and what you might consider using them for. But just as tastes vary widely, so do options. And, as you know, options can easily increase price.
Sizes Do Too
Some slab-foundation homes have a covered porch area under the main roof that can be easily enlarged by adding a relatively small patio. A covered porch under a hip roof extended eight to ten feet adds the equivalent of an outdoor room to accommodate a set of patio furniture.
Even a house on a foundation with no porch at all will seem bigger with the addition of a patio and some outdoor chairs. A few potted plants at the corners, and you’ll have a charming place to relax in the mornings and evenings or to catch some rays during the day.
Before calculating the cost of your concrete patio, you need to determine the thickness of the slab. You’ll need to contact your city planner or building code office to check for requirements. If zoning laws don’t apply at your location, the standard thickness for a patio is four inches.
However, always complete home improvements with an eye to the future and consider lender approval if you sell your home in the future.
According to Hunker, it’s necessary to consider easements and utility infrastructures when building a patio, among other restrictions. If you live in a subdivision, you’ll also need to consult your homeowner’s association before beginning construction.
Concrete pours require forms. If you want to do this step yourself, there are plenty of do-it-yourself guides available. Depending upon the cost of lumber in your area and the thickness of your patio, you could spend between $40 and $60 on 1×4 planks to build your twelve-foot form, in addition to stakes and string.
If your site requires reinforcement, you’ll need to add the cost of rebar or wire mesh. If you hire someone to do this for you, expect to pay the going rate for skilled labor, which starts at $25 per hour. Assuming it takes half a day to build the forms, the labor costs could add up to more than $100.
The best concrete mix is strong enough to stand up to use and weather—including freezing—without cracking, not so strong that it’s hard to create a decorative finish. A patio is usually uncovered, leaving it exposed to heat, cold, rain, and snow.
You’ll need to choose a mix that will stand up to this exposure as well as the weight of heavy potted plants and furniture. Next, call your local concrete products company and ask for the price per cubic yard of the mix.
Based on recent bids we’ve gotten, this cost ranges from $100 to $150. Based on this estimate, a twelve by twelve-foot patio four inches thick will require 1.77 cubic yards and cost somewhere between $177 and $265 delivered to your site.
If you’re looking to save a little money, it’s possible to mix the concrete for a small patio yourself. Quikrete is available in retail home stores and ready to be mixed with sand and aggregate to create the ideal mixture.
Once your forms are ready, you’ll combine the materials, pour the mix into the form, and finish it. This could save you thousands of dollars in labor costs.
Once the concrete has been poured, it must be finished. Again, this is something you can do yourself, with instruction, or you can hire a concrete finisher. This service may be available from the concrete products company where you purchase your mix and may be included in the cost.
It’s worthwhile to explore this option when you make the initial call to the concrete supplier.
After finishing, if your plans include it, you’ll add a veneer. Brick, flagstone, and tile are some of the options and vary enormously in price. For example, Z-BRICK at Lowe’s is around $27 for a box covering 3.3 square feet, while flagstone veneer ranges between $250 and $500 for 20 square feet.
Choices depend upon your budget and your plans for using your outdoor “room.” Another way to add a decorative finish to your patio is with concrete stains. These are available in a variety of colors and can be applied in patterns or solids.
Based on your vision for your patio, you can create unlimited designs. Stains are considerably less expensive than veneers and will provide a professional appearance without the professional price, so long as you don’t mind the work.
If you’re building your patio in a new and relatively bare backyard, landscape plants can make a beautiful difference to your new addition. Even a fenced-in backyard without a view can be enhanced by adding potted shrubs or other plants.
Native plants are a good choice but not the only one, depending on how much time you are willing to spend on caring for them. Flowering plants such as hibiscus and lantana add vivid color to the area and are easy to care for. Evergreens like arborvitae and boxwood — my favorite — add flavor to the space and provide color year-round.
Read Next: 30 Unique Landscaping Ideas
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few frequently asked questions we’ve gotten about the cost of a concrete patio.
How much does it cost to pour a 12×12 foot patio?
As we have shown, the cost of a pour ranges from $100 to $150 per cubic yard, and at four-inch thickness, you’ll need about one and three-quarters cubic yards.
How much does it cost to pour a 20×20 concrete slab?
Here, it depends upon the use of the slab. If you’re going to use the slab to build a structure, it will be more expensive than a patio since you’ll need to consider the load-bearing of your structure.
Is it cheaper to lay concrete or pavers?
We’ve discussed laying pavers over a concrete slab, but it’s possible to place pavers in sand or even directly onto the surface of your lawn. Depending on the pavers you choose, you could potentially save money by laying them directly on the ground.
So, What Does a Concrete Patio Cost?
As you can see, the cost of your concrete patio can vary dramatically depending on your needs and desires. The atmosphere you create is up to you and is limited only by your imagination.
On average, expect to pay between $1,500 and $10,000. Of course, the more features you add, the closer you’ll be to the top of the range.
Keep in mind the factors to consider before you begin. Regardless of whether you build it yourself or have a contractor do the job, you’ll have increased the value of your home.