The chemical reactions that take place when concrete is poured require a few basic conditions, and temperature is part of this equation. The ideal temperature for pouring concrete is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit — but what if you’re considering ordering a concrete pouring job in significantly colder temperatures than this?
At Lift-Up Concrete Lifting, LLC, we’re happy to offer a wide range of commercial and residential concrete lifting and leveling services in Ogden and other parts of Utah — and many of our concrete repair jobs are necessitated by poor concrete pouring, sometimes due to improper understanding of how concrete works in cold temperatures. Can concrete be poured in cold temperatures (yes), and which important precautions should your concrete installer be taking if you’ve ordered concrete pouring during the upcoming winter so you avoid any future issues? Here’s a primer.
Can Concrete Be Poured in Cold Weather
Generally speaking, the answer here is yes — with the right precautions. When concrete is poured, it needs time for chemical reactions to take place within the solution, allowing it to set and strengthen; the colder it is, the slower these chemical reactions will take place. If it’s too cold, the concrete can become brittle and more prone to cracking after it dries.
So if you’re considering ordering a concrete pour in below-freezing weather, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind. We’ll go over them in our subsequent sections.
Know Strength Requirements
Any concrete installer you’re working with should know how to determine any specific strength requirements for your cold weather pour. If the concrete isn’t going to be exposed to freezing temperatures, it doesn’t need to have as high of a strength rating as if it will be in an environment where it could potentially freeze. Work with your installer to ensure that they understand the specific needs of your project.
Prevent Freezing Before, During, and After
In addition, there are several ways your installer should be preventing freezing during the pouring process. One common method: By using hot water during the mix, they can keep the temperature of the concrete up so that it doesn’t freeze. Be sure they’re only mixing the amount of water they need otherwise you’ll be left with weak concrete — another one of our tips below will offer more on this topic. By using steam or dry heating, your contractor can also prevent freezing in colder weather.
Adequate Forms and Erosion Control
If you’re thinking about ordering cold weather concrete pouring, one thing to keep in mind is the forms used. If your contractor isn’t using adequate forms or erosion control to prevent water from getting into your pour, freezing could cause damage. Be sure to look over the job site yourself before allowing a pour so you can catch any potential issues.
And finally, be sure to have adequate insulation in place if you’re expecting the concrete to take more time to cure in cold weather. If you’re unsure about what kind of insulation is necessary for your project, be sure to consult with your contractor.
For more on how to avoid concrete issues when it’s being poured in the winter, or to learn about any of our concrete repair services throughout Ogden, speak to the pros at Lift-Up Concrete Lifting, LLC today.