Concrete is a popular building material for good reason. It’s strong, durable, and cost-efficient.
However, the material can be more challenging to work with in cold weather. In order for concrete to cure and reach its maximum strength at freezing temperatures, it must be well-protected.
You’ll need to take extra measures when pouring and curing concrete in winter. Let’s take a look at some problems commonly faced during the colder months—and some best practices to keep in mind.
Why Is Cold Weather A Problem When Pouring Concrete?
Cold weather refers to temperatures below 5°C within 24 hours of concrete placement, according to the Canadian Standards Association.
Concrete relies on heat to reach its maximum strength. During the curing process, a chemical reaction called heat of hydration occurs, and this generates heat to make concrete more durable. This reaction is slowed down or does not happen in freezing temperatures.
Common Cold Weather Concreting Problems
In the tough winter months, special precautions need to be taken to ensure concrete sets and cures properly. Otherwise, you might find yourself facing these problems:
- Delayed Setting And Low Strength
Heat, which is produced during the hydration process, is an important aspect of concrete setting and can help speed up concrete strength gain. This process can be delayed in cold weather, resulting in concrete having lower strength.
- Premature Concrete Freezing
Concrete must be protected from freezing until it reaches a minimum strength of 500 pounds per square inch (psi) or 3.5 megapascals (MPa). If concrete is not protected enough, it can succumb to cold weather and lose its overall strength.
- Unpredictable Temperature Changes
When exposed to extreme hot or cold weather during curing, concrete can crack. This happens when there are unpredictable temperature changes as well.
Contractors need to employ proper procedures to prevent concrete damage in cold weather. Improper curing can lead to concrete that lacks strength and durability.
4 Cold Weather Concreting Tips
Luckily, concrete pouring and curing service providers have a few options available to help make the entire process more manageable. Here are some tips when working in winter:
1. Make Sure Your Site Is Prepped Properly
You’ll want to ensure that all concrete is placed on insulated surfaces that protect the concrete from freezing temperatures. Make sure the concrete isn’t exposed to loss of heat as well. For concrete placed outdoors, you’ll need to provide an enclosure that is heated and ventilated.
2. Use Concrete Accelerators Or Concrete Mixtures
It takes longer for concrete to achieve the recommended strength and set time during cold weather. Accelerators can help speed up this process.
3. Adjust Your Concrete Curing Process
You can use concrete blankets or concrete curing compounds to make the curing process smoother. These will help protect concrete from freezing temperatures and keep it at a temperature of 10-16°C or higher.
4. Use Type III Cement
Type III cement is designed to hydrate faster compared to Type I or Type II. It’s perfect for cold weather and can help concrete set in less time at lower temperatures.
Beat The Cold Weather With TNA Concrete
Cold weather should not deter you from completing your next project. Work with trusted professionals who can deliver exceptional concrete pouring services and have experience working with this material in extreme conditions.
With TNA Concrete, you can rest easy knowing that concrete curing is done right. Our concrete pouring and curing experts will take the necessary steps to ensure quality, strength, and durability no matter the weather conditions.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about pouring and placing concrete during cold weather.