How to Successfully Pour Concrete in Cold Weather

Winter can wreak havoc on all forms of construction. Pouring cold-weather concrete may be difficult, but it is possible with the right approach. It’s important to protect the concrete from freezing right after it’s poured. Other important factors include pouring under the right curing conditions to prevent cracking and serve the structure properly.

The fact is that concrete frozen during the first 24 hours is liable to lose half of its strength. Keeping concrete at the right temperature can involve using insulation blankets, special mixes, heaters and more.

Read on to find out our leading concrete pouring tips to ensure a successful project.

Pouring concrete during the winter

To pour concrete that has the right strength and is free from issues, you will need special considerations. Here are some things every contractor should do:

  • Store the concrete materials in a warm, dry place
  • Take advantage of cold-weather products that are made to cure fast
  • Use hot water when mixing the concrete
  • Never pour concrete on frozen ground or on snow or ice—if necessary, use heaters to thaw the ground before pouring concrete over it
  • If you’re using heated enclosures to pour the concrete, make sure that they’re also waterproof and windproof
  • Utilize concrete curing blankets to avoid freezing, and keep the concrete at the best temperature for curing
  • If you’re using combustion heaters, have these vent outside to reduce the chances of carbonation
  • Keep the concrete temperature above 40°F for a minimum of four days after using insulation blankets or heat enclosures
  • Determine if there are special strength requirements and what you will need to do to keep the concrete at a specific temperature
  • Schedule when the pour will be done, and determine which cold-weather concrete protection measures you’re going to put in place
  • Ask for a heated mix or order an extra 100 lbs of cement per each cubic yard to help the concrete develop early strength
  • Maintain a temperature record chart that includes both the temperature of the concrete and the outdoor temperature
  • Don’t start final finishing operations when bleed water is present
  • Avoid steep temperature drops for the concrete, as changes of more than 40°F in 24 hours can jeopardize the quality of the concrete
  • Keep your tools warm as well; using cold tools can alter the concrete’s quality and strength

Keeping temperatures at ideal levels

Concrete strength is developed most during the first 48 hours. Ideally, you want the concrete to be over 50°F for the first three to seven days—then over 40°F for the next four days. A combination of the above tactics should provide concrete that is warm enough to be safely used.

We hope these concrete pouring tips prove useful. Central Equipment Company has everything you need. We’re a construction equipment and supplies company serving contractors and businesses throughout the region. Give us a call today to get started and find out more about our affordable prices.

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