Things to Avoid When Working with Concrete in Cold Weather
You must measure the current temperature if you wish to ensure that your concrete complies with all the various specifications that define an allowable temperature range.
Ideal specifications, according to professionals, require the temperature of your concrete during placement to be anywhere within the range of 50F to 90F (10 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius).
Nevertheless, you may notice different specified limits provided on the cement-based on the element size and the area’s ambient conditions.
The temperature that your concrete will exhibit during placement will affect the temperature of concrete during its next hydration phase.
By attentively monitoring your concrete element’s temperature variances during the curing process, you will ensure that your structure’s overall quality, strength, and durability are at their best.
Suppose you do not follow all the various cold weather concreting practices according to the given specifications. In that case, you are putting yourself at risk of running into multiple problems and possibly even structural damage later with time.
Some of these problems include:
- Rapid temperature changes
- Lack of strength required from the structure
- Inadequate protection of the form and its overall serviceability
- Freezing of concrete at early stages
- Improper curing procedures
Mistakes that you need to avoid when concreting during cold weather
To help you avoid any structural problems and delays, you must familiarize yourself with all the dos and don’ts of cold weather concreting.
Take a look at the given common mistakes that you need to avoid when pouring concrete during winters.
When you are pouring your concrete, your slab’s placement will play into the effectiveness of your concrete’s curing condition. Frozen ground can end up settling when thawed, which can cause your concrete to crack easily.
The fresh concrete that is closer to the ground will also cure slower than the surface, which means that the top of your concrete will set while the bottom still stays soft.
This is an issue since concrete with different temperature gradients will not develop strength adequately, leading to a possible structural disaster and cracking shortly.
Allowing your concrete to freeze
It would help if you kept your concrete warm for it to cure correctly. Remember that fresh concrete can freeze at 25 F, so it is vital for you to keep your new concrete warm until it has the required compressive strength measurement.
This can be done efficiently using various tools and equipment such as concrete temperature and maturity meter.
Using cold tools
your concrete needs to be kept warm for it to develop the required strength and continue curing. If you notice that your concrete slab gets too low in temperature, it means that the curing process will stop altogether.
Using portable heaters to deliver some extra heat onto the ground and directly on your concrete will ensure that the concrete keeps curing and gaining strength without any difficulties.
Nevertheless, it would help if you were careful when using heat since inappropriate heating of concrete can result in an overall weak structure.
Sealing concrete when it’s too cold
Professional concrete sealers help you make your concrete more resistant to various weather exposures and outside elements’ attacks.
Suppose you are placing your concrete slab in cold weather. In that case, it is advisable to get a sealer that works well in various extreme weather conditions based on the manufacturer’s recommendation or the producer.
Our team from T&T Redi Mix LLC Suggest that you should not be doing any sealing of concrete if the temperature is anywhere below 50 F.
During the cold winter months, the total amount of daylight tends to drop significantly. It would be best if you used your daylight time wisely, as running behind on schedule can further lead to various problems.
Adequate daylight will not only give you a lot of light, but it will also result in comparatively warmer temperatures. Nevertheless, if you need to pour your concrete after or before the sun, ensure that you use heaters during the process to help your concrete cure ideally.
Using real-time temperature sensors
For all of these techniques to make any valuable difference, you must be able to monitor and report on the various changing temperatures of your concrete slab. Traditionally wired professional systems such as thermocouples and loggers should be used for best results.
Nevertheless, in most of these systems, wires stick out from the concrete and need protection from any damage on site. For data loggers attached to these thermocouples’ ends they might also experience malfunctioning if the temperature drops extremely low.
Moreover, manual installation of such types of sensors and its time-consuming data collection process can become even more difficult in icy conditions.
More specifically, when you use a heat blanket on top of your concrete slab, it gets a bit challenging to lift them and find the end of your temperature cables to collect the data. If you do not have any previous experience, we suggest hiring a professional to get the job done effectively.
Want more tips and tricks related to concrete? Get in touch with T&T Redi Mix LLC today!
Here at T&T Redi Mix LLC, we provide high-quality ready-mix concrete and concrete additives to cater to all your needs. Conveniently located in Gunter, Texas, our company can easily access all the major surrounding cities including McKinney, Frisco, Prosper, Celina, Anna, and Denton.
If you wish to learn more about concrete or would like to place an order, give us a call at 214-785-8037, and our team will coordinate with you shortly.