Concrete is one of the most universal building materials there is. You can use it to create walls, create roads, and is an essential part of most construction sites.
Since concrete is poured one way and ends up another, does that change in form have anything to do with how much it weighs?
So, how much does concrete weigh? Concrete weighs around 3900 pounds per cubic yard but can drop to 3500 pounds per cubic yard after the concrete dries.
Wet concrete and dry concrete have slightly different weights. Water is essential to curing concrete, which makes it part of the included weight.
That being said, a bucket of concrete, including the water needed to start the reaction is going to be more substantial than the initial bag of concrete that you can purchase at a store. Your ending result is going to mostly be the same amount give or take a few pounds for evaporation of the water.
With so many types of concrete, it can get confusing to know if wet concrete is heavier than dry concrete or vice versa. Knowing how concrete is formed is the first step to understanding more about the weight of the product in different stages.
How Much Does Concrete Weigh? Wet vs Dry
Although the weight is similar for both wet and dry concrete at the end of the curing process, the beginning of the process is quite different. If you take enough dry concrete to pour one yard, add the water for the reaction and weigh it, it is going to weigh more than the bag of concrete that you started with.
The key is that most of the water is going to be used during the curing process, or it is going to evaporate eventually. The usage of the water in the curing process leaves the dried concrete weighing just slightly less than the wet concrete.
Concrete is a combination of sand, aggregates, cement, and, eventually, water. The water is what brings all of the items in the concrete together through a specific chemical reaction. Through a process called Hydration, the water causes the concrete to be hard by combining compounds found in the concrete and forming chemical bonds.
Different types of concrete all have different weights. This can include cement, gravel, Portland limestone, Portland, reinforced, and even lightweight.
Actual concrete weight can be different based on how the concrete is being sold, where it is being sold, and where it originally came from. The type of concrete you are using can have a significant weight change. Some weights can go up to 300 pounds per cubic foot, while others can be as low as 100 pounds per cubic foot.
Understanding The Weight of Concrete
When you pick up a back of concrete at a local hardware store, they come in bags of various pounds. If you pick up a 90-pound bag, it is going to be 90 pounds. Additional weight from concrete comes from the addition of water and air that gets into the concrete as you combine them. Due to concrete being comprised of fillers, that weight in the bag you purchase may fluctuate just slightly due to handling, shipping, and even store location.
Additional factors to consider are what your concrete is made from. Sand, aggregates, and the cement included in your pack of concrete can all cause your concrete to varying just slightly in terms of weight. Also, if you pick up a bag of concrete, it is going to weigh more than getting concrete from a local concrete supplier or ready-mix company. The actual amount of water that you put into your concrete not only changes the weight of it, but it impacts the structural integrity of the concrete as well.
Concrete is commonly measured in density. Being around 145 pounds per cubic foot, concrete can be measured by comparing the mass to the volume of the amount you are using. If you are trying to see how much your concrete weighs accurately, take a container that you have either zeroed out or know the weight of. Place your concrete in the container and find the weight.
The options for concrete are usually broken down into five distinct categories:
- Asphalt: 140 pounds per cubic foot
- Gravel: 150 pounds per cubic foot
- Portland-Limestone: 148 pounds per cubic foot
- Portland: 144 pounds per cubic foot
- Reinforced: 156 pounds per cubic foot
Differences in Concrete Weight
Concrete does not technically dry; It is just the result of a chemical reaction. Due to the makeup of concrete being a mixture of things, it can cause the cured concrete to become porous, which increases or decreases the amount of moisture in the finished product based on the humidity in the air. While you end up with a hard surface that you can walk on, there is still 95% of the moisture inside of your concrete that you originally started with.
Depending on the region of the country you live in, your concrete could weigh more, both dry and wet. It all depends on the aggregates that are put into the concrete and where they are mined. Northwestern regions of the United States have some of the densest concrete in the country.
Since concrete is comprised of different materials, not all concrete is going to weigh the same. The estimated weight of concrete is based on average weight. Basic concrete has an average weight of 116 pounds per cubic foot, but there is also lightweight concrete that can weigh less than 100 pounds or specialty concrete that can weigh over 300 pounds for the same amount.
Reinforced Concrete Weight
Reinforced concrete is concrete that is commonly used for large scale construction. Reinforced concrete is created using additional steel framing within the concrete to increase the strength of it. Due to placing steel or similar supports inside of reinforced concrete, the weight of the dry concrete is going to be higher than that of the wet concrete. Although the weight is more, it is usually no more than five to fifteen pounds per yard.
Lightweight Concrete Weight
Lightweight concrete is popular for those who are looking for a lighter alternative to traditional concrete. It is easier for some construction sites to use; it is more flexible and is an excellent absorber of sound and shock. Lightweight concrete I typically made from more porous materials. The highly porous formula can cause longer drying times, but the weight of the concrete will be relatively similar. With lightweight concrete, you do need to be more hyperaware of excess moisture, which can increase the weight of your concrete.
So, Which Weighs More?
The real answer is that they weigh pretty much the same. The only consideration in the weight of both dry and wet concrete boils down to a few factors. Where was it created, what kind of concrete is it, and how much water is required in order to create the necessary consistency? Knowing the answer to these questions can help you minimize the risk of having too much concrete or too little for your project.
Since concrete retains almost all of the water that is used during the curing process, water is going to be an essential element in the weight of your concrete. With the average cubic foot of concrete weighing anywhere between 300 pounds to 100 pounds depending on the concrete used, it can make all of the difference in your project.