Can Concrete Be Poured in Winter?
It’s a common myth that concrete shouldn’t be poured in cold weather, as it may not set and cure properly. However, it’s possible to continue construction using ready-mix concrete if proper preparations and precautions are made.
How Does Cold Weather Affect Concrete?
Starting with the most important answer. Yes, you can pour concrete in winter, which will eventually cure and hold its ground.
Still, there are certain ways the cold affects concrete. And you must know how to handle it to ensure your work’s safety and successful completion.
When concrete is poured in cold weather, it can take longer to become strong enough. This is because the concrete can freeze before it can harden. When cold outside, concrete sets slower and can become brittle over time.
The freezing and expansion cycle can cause structural damage if it freezes overnight. When managing a project, you’ll need to ensure the concrete is adequately set by doing everything possible to control the conditions.
Things to Avoid When Working with Concrete in Winter
If you take the proper precautions, pouring concrete in cold weather can still be a successful endeavour, so here’s how you do it!
Warm Up Fresh Concrete
Concrete curing needs warm temperatures, over 10°C, to become strong. The mix will readily freeze at lower temperatures. So, it would help if you warmed up fresh concrete by using heaters before pouring it and during the curing process.
Don’t Pour it on Frozen-cold Land
Even if your concrete is warmed up, it will not settle on frozen grounds. Concrete that is closest to the ground is cured slower than concrete that is on the surface. This means that the concrete on the underside will stay soft while the top sets.
When the ground thaws and settles, it can cause cracks in the concrete. To avoid pouring concrete on frozen ground, you can use heat to warm up the ground first or use heated concrete coverings a few days prior.
Keep Tools Warm
When tools or forms are cold, it can make the concrete harder to work with and reduce its overall quality and strength. Beware of cold tools, and ensure they’re always warm so they don’t get too cold. Keep them warm and dry when you’re not using your tools.
It’s also better to contact ready-mix concrete suppliers in Calgary during the winter because it works better than freshly mixed concrete. Not to mention, it’s impossible to mix concrete on site in unsuitable weather conditions.
Never Seal it Below 10°C
Without concrete curing, it might not stay sealed and become brittle and crack over time. If the temperature suddenly drops below 10˚C and the bleed water persists, you need some precautions before sealing the concrete. In that case, consult a concrete supplier, and inquire about the adequate method for sealing.
It may take a little extra effort to pour concrete in cold weather, but it’s possible. If you require some help pouring concrete in cold conditions, a good way is to reach out to the local concrete suppliers carrying ready mixed options.
MQR Precast is the go-to concrete expert in Calgary. Whether you want a ready-mix, precast, or aggregates, our mastery lies in delivering the highest quality concrete!