Concrete is a medium used in many building projects. It is often the foundation for homes and is often requested for driveways and sidewalks at numerous times of year. When a client wants a concrete pad poured in the winter months, it can be done with the right precautions. Here are tips for pouring concrete when the temperatures are consistently at 40 degrees or lower.
Prepare the ground
Concrete should never be poured on frozen or wet ground. Ground that contains moisture can keep concrete from properly setting, which can cause dips, cracks, and an uneven surface when the concrete has finally cured. Frozen or wet ground can also inadvertently add to the moisture content in your cement, which can lead to a weaker structure that bleeds more. Always prepare the ground surface prior to pouring concrete by using industrial tank heaters to dry the area for a few days prior to beginning the pouring project.
Watch the water content
To help prevent malformation of concrete in colder weather as it sets, minimize the water content in the concrete you pour. It should also have a low slope to help reduce drying time. Cement bleed, or the pooling of water on the surface of the drying cement as it sets, can show up later and last longer when the weather is cold, so make sure you check the concrete over the next few days so you can vacuum or wipe off the water that will be present as it dries.
Keep cement warm
Cement must be at a temperature of 50 degrees or higher to properly cure. Use heating methods to help cement stay at a proper temperature for 3 or more days. Methods you can use include industrial heating blankets or tank heaters. If you are pouring concrete in an enclosed area, make sure the area is properly ventilated when using a heating method to help cement cure. You can test the cement for its final strength by pressing a board into the surface. If it does not penetrate, then the cement has dried successfully. If an indentation is made, smooth the area out and continue using heat to help the concrete set until mild force does not make an impression.
Pouring concrete in winter and colder temperatures requires a bit more care but can be done. If you do pour concrete in winter, make sure you have industrial heating blankets and tank heaters available to help speed up the drying process. The results will be a healthy concrete foundation that can be used for a variety of purposes. Click for more information.