9 Tips To Keep In Mind When Pouring Concrete In Cold Weather

May 12, 2022

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.

 

The ideal weather for pouring concrete

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.

 

Concrete in cold weather

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.

 

9 tips to keep in mind when pouring concrete in cold weather

 

Before pouring the concrete

 

  1. A good tip is to store all the ingredients of the concrete mix where they don't get cold and moist.

 

  1. Heat up one or more ingredients before mixing. You can, for example, use hot water. If the mix is hotter than usual, it can balance out the colder air temperature.

 

  1. If you need to work on frozen surfaces, heat it up. You should never pour concrete on surfaces that are frozen or covered with ice or snow. When frozen ground unfreezes, it settles. This leads to cracking of the concrete.

 

  1. Choose your concrete mix carefully. Different types of mixes have different characteristics, which makes some better for cold weather concreting.

 

When pouring the concrete

  1. Since the concrete will take longer to cure in cold weather, you should make sure that you have people on site for a longer period of time. Then, they can supervise the concrete and take the actions necessary for a successful result.

 

  1. Wind can cause fast changes in temperature. Therefore, windbreaks can be really useful when pouring concrete in cold weather.

 

After pouring the concrete

  1. When using forms for the concrete, let them stay in place for as long as you can. They help to maintain the heat and cover the most sensitive parts.

 

  1. Make sure the concrete has a temperature over 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the curing process. If the temperature goes down below that point, the curing will almost stop completely.

 

  1. If you have added elements of heat externally, make sure that you don't remove them too fast. That can cause a big temperature change in the concrete and may lead to cracking.

 

Tips when pouring concrete in hot weather

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.

 

If you want to oversee the temperatures of the concrete

With ConcreteDNA, Converge helps you to build faster. In fact, up to 30% faster! With our product, you get live data of the curing process. You can see this from any device with our wireless sensors.

 

ConcreteDNA will help you save both money and time on your building projects. You can save time with the predictions of when the curing will be done, because you won't have to hire staff on the weekends that stand with nothing to do due to wrong calculations. You will save time by planning ahead and have the right people, at the right scene, at the right time.

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Learn more about Converge Signal.

 

Frequently asked questions

 

How cold is too cold for concrete to be able to cure?

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).

 

What can you do to heat up a concrete mix?

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.

 

How does cold weather affect the concrete?

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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