CD Designs Blog
Although concrete is more often than not installed during the warmer months, it can indeed be poured, imprinted, set, and cure successfully during winter. Obviously, the process is a little more complicated than pouring in “ideal” weather (warm and dry), but it’s nothing that can’t be sorted out with some know-how and a few extra pieces of equipment.
Temperature affects the speed of the chemical reaction which makes concrete harden. At high temperatures (20C+) there is a risk that the reaction will take place too quickly. During winter the reverse is true; concrete laid without the necessary additional precautions could harden too slowly, and freshly poured concrete definitely shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures below 4C.
The problems that arise from installing concrete in winter can be solved through a combination of and awareness of a number of things. First (and this, to be honest, is just common sense) concrete should never be poured directly onto snow, ice, or frosted or frozen ground.
Secondly, the concrete being poured in winter usually has a slightly drier mix than normal concrete. This “low slump” mix helps to minimize any risk of complications through bleed water, and water in the mix as it sets, freezing due to low temperatures.
Thirdly, attention needs to be paid to the finishing of the concrete, so no water remains on its surface. This is an important stage in any concrete installation, and one in which you’ll definitely reap the benefits of using skilled and experienced contractors.
Finally, after concrete has been laid and finished, and if the temperature is low enough to make it necessary, it should be protected by covering it with plastic sheeting and some form of insulating material, ideally dedicated insulated blankets fit for the task. This will allow the concrete to cure properly, and ensure that consistently low temperatures don’t retard the hardening process that gives concrete its impressive strength and durability.
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11th January 2010