What You Should Know About Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather

Like many outdoor laborers, concrete contractors generally prefer working in the spring, summer or fall instead of the winter. The days are longer, and the temperatures are more conducive to achieving better results. In fact, the perfect temperature for pouring concrete is between 50 and 60 degrees.

However, some concrete projects must be performed in the middle of the winter. This post will cover what you need to know about pouring concrete in cold weather.

When is it too cold to pour concrete?

The answer to this question is technically “never.” However, while it’s never too cold to pour concrete, the chemical reactions necessary to set and strengthen concrete significantly slow down when the ground temperature reaches 50 degrees. And when the temperature drops below 40 degrees, the reactions are almost non-existent. When the ground temperature is 50 degrees or below, we need to take some extra precautions to prevent cracks or weak concrete.

Tips for pouring concrete in cold weather

Those extra precautions we just touched on include the following action items:

  • Check the weather: We start by taking a look at the forecast. If there’s any snow on the way or if the day is going to be particularly cold, trying to pour concrete isn’t always the best idea. Any concrete work that must be completed on a particular day should be done when the temperature is at its warmest.
  • Thaw the ground: The next step is to thaw out the ground using heaters or other warming devices. Trying to pour concrete when the ground is frozen solid leads to nearly instantaneous cracking, which is obviously a problem!
  • Squeegee excess water: Since concrete is a mixture of cement and water, there’s always extra water left over after the concrete has been poured. While it might be fine to let that water sit in the summer, leaving it alone in the winter can lead to freezing. Taking the time to squeegee any excess water reduces the chance of freezing.
  • Cover the concrete: After the concrete has been poured and we’ve removed all of the excess water, we’ll cover it using specialized blankets or even straw. Insulating the concrete overnight allows it to cure faster than if we were to leave it exposed to the air.
  • Use chemical additives: Along with using hot water to mix the concrete, pouring additives into the concrete can offset the effects of cold weather. Accelerators like calcium chloride increase the cement hydration rate and reduce the curing time, while superplasticizers reduce the concrete mix’s water content by up to 30 percent.

Hire us to pour your concrete!

Regardless of the weather outside, be sure to reach out to Bri-Mic Construction, Inc. if you need a team to pour a concrete foundation. We work efficiently and only use the most updated trucks and equipment to ensure your concrete project is performed correctly, especially when we’re pouring concrete in cold weather. Get in touch with us today to get an estimate for your next concrete project.