If you are planning on pouring concrete in cold weather, there are some things to keep in mind. This is because the concrete will behave differently depending on the temperature. In this article, we will explain what you should think about before laying the concrete in cold weather.
Most people think that the warmer the weather, the better it is to pour concrete. However, this is not always the case. If it's too hot outside, the concrete can actually end up cracking and not setting properly. The ideal temperature for pouring concrete is around approx. 15,5-21 degrees Celsius (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit).
The curing of concrete is dependent on the temperature of the concrete itself, and not necessarily by the weather and air temperature. However, the air temperature will almost always affect the temperature of the concrete, which makes the weather an important factor in the curing process.
If you can take the means and know how to do it, there is no problem with pouring concrete in cold weather. It is a bigger challenge, for sure, but there is no reason to keep away from it if you have the knowledge.
Read more: Concrete setting time, concrete maturity and the difference between concrete and cement.
When pouring concrete in cold weather, you need to keep the concrete from freezing. Concrete that freezes before it has cured enough to withstand the expansion caused by freezing water will lose a lot of strength when finished. If the air temperature is below 4,4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) at the time of the pouring, you should take precautions to avoid freezing the concrete when it's fresh or not cured enough.
If you are pouring concrete in temperatures that exceed 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius), you need to think of a couple of things.
First of all, you need to keep in mind that concrete cures faster in hot temperatures. That might, if you're unlucky, lead to cracks in the concrete. Here are our best tips for hot weather concreting:
- Protect the concrete from direct sunlight. Sunshades will work just fine.
- Try to avoid the hottest hours of the day.
- Add ice to the water in the concrete mix to keep the temperature down.
- Keep the ingredients in a cool place in the shade.
Reading tips: Concrete slump test, concrete cube test and what are concrete slabs.
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At temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), the curing of concrete will slow down, and almost stop completely at approx. 4.4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit).
You can for example heat up the water in the concrete mix. Another thing you can do is store the ingredients in a warm place.
Cold weather makes the concrete cure slower, and if the temperature reaches below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (approx. 4.4 degrees Celsius), the curing will almost stop completely.
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