Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather

Pouring concrete can be challenging even in the best conditions, but pouring in cold weather can be especially daunting. Fresh concrete cannot freeze within the first 24 hours, otherwise, it will not set properly. This does not mean you must abandon all concrete projects during the winter, though. This quick guide will provide tips for cold weather concrete projects. Keep reading to learn more.

How To Pour Concrete In Cold Weather

Generally, concrete sets best when it can stay at 50-60 degrees F. This can be difficult to achieve, though, in winter. If concrete is poured on cold days, the reactions that must take place to turn cement into concrete will be slowed. Cold weather concrete contractors know how to avoid problems arising from cold weather.

What Happens If It’s Too Cold

There is a difference between concrete simply getting cold and concrete freezing. The wet cement, which will eventually harden into concrete, can be exposed to cold temps, but if the cement freezes, the strength of the final concrete product could be reduced up to 50%. This happens because a good part of the cement is water. This water will freeze and expand within the mixture. This causes spaces to form in the concrete that normally would not have been there.

Can Concrete Be Poured During Cold Weather?

Yes, a concrete project can be successfully completed in cold weather when you hire the best cold weather concrete contractors. These professionals will take the following steps to ensure that your concrete is not affected by the weather.

Heating components – Preheating the water and aggregates can help to achieve the right temp during pouring.

Adjusting components – The mixture can be changed to compensate for the temps. This can be done by using an increased cement ratio or an accelerating chemical added to the mixture.

Using Portland Type II Cement – This type of cement reacts and sets faster than type I.

Preparing the ground – Heating the ground where the cement will be poured is also a great way to ensure concrete sets properly. It is never advisable to pour onto a frozen surface.

Install windbreaks – Wind can often decrease the temps in an area. Installing windbreaks to protect fresh concrete during the curing process can help to stabilize the temp.

Heated enclosures – Enclosures can be installed around the cement and then heated for a short time to ensure that temp stays steady during the curing phase.

What Is the Minimum Temp for Successful Curing?

You will want to shoot for 40 degrees or higher for a successful concrete project. The area needs to stay at this temp for as long as possible during the first 24 hours.