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2 Tips To Help You Prepare And Pour Concrete In Cold Weather

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When you are planning to pour concrete during winter or in cold weather, it is important to make sure the temperature will be above 35 degrees F to ensure a proper cure. When concrete is mixed with water and poured, cold weather with lower temperatures can cause the concrete to not cure properly and even freeze. To avoid this and prevent damage to your concrete's strength and durability, here are two tips to help you.

Prepare the Concrete and Pour Site

When you are mixing your own concrete, it is recommended to mix in less water so the concrete has a lower slump. This will prevent the concrete from having excess water at risk of freezing during the cold weather and promote the required chemical reaction to give the concrete strength as it cures.

You can also heat the aggregate before you mix it or mix in hot water with your concrete just before you pour it. Then, the aggregate can be heated while you are mixing the concrete. Another way to prevent your concrete from freezing is to add a curing accelerator to the mixture. 

Next, before you pour concrete in cold weather, make sure the pour site has been heated. The ground at your concrete pour site may be frozen or covered in ice or snow, which can cause the concrete to cool quickly and freeze as well. This results in an incomplete cure and your concrete will not be as strong, as it will crumble easily and its surface can spar, or flake off. You can use heating blankets, pipes, and electric blankets to heat and thaw the ground and melt any ice and snow. 

Use Heating Tools

Because concrete will not gain the strength it needs to cure properly in cold weather, you need to keep the concrete heated after you pour it. You can place insulating curing blankets over the concrete to keep it warm while it cures.

Another method used by contractors is by erecting a temporary enclosure over the poured concrete and placing a heater inside the enclosure. Be sure to vent the heaters, as a heater that is not vented to the outside air will allow carbon dioxide to build up inside the heated area, causing the cured concrete to carbonate, which causes the concrete to form a layer of chalky dust on its surface.

Be sure to leave the heating tools in place until the concrete has fully cured, which can be several days. Removing the heating tools too early can cause the temperature of your uncured concrete to drop and allow ice crystals to form in the concrete's moisture and prevent the cure's chemical reaction from forming.

Use these tips to help you pour your concrete in cold weather. You can also talk to companies like Superior Grout for more tips.