Common Mistakes That Get Made When Pouring or Placing Concrete in Cold Weather

March 24, 2021 6:46 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Wisconsin gets cold. While concrete can be poured in cold weather, it’s usually challenging to get it to pour and cure properly. Often, it’s prudent to wait until the weather thaws out a bit—but if you absolutely need to pour concrete during the colder months, it is possible to get a good result. As long as you work with reliable concrete contractors in Crivitz, WI, you can avoid these common cold weather concrete mistakes:

  • Pouring over frozen ground: Pouring concrete over frozen ground is just asking for cracks and other damage. As the ground thaws, it can shift and settle. This will cause set concrete to crack, even if it’s already cured. The concrete may also cure too slowly, which can also cause cracking issues.
  • Letting the concrete freeze: Concrete has water in the mixture, which means that it can freeze when the temperatures drop. Plastic concrete freezes at 25 degrees Fahrenheit—and the ground it’s poured upon is often colder than the ambient temperature. This reduces its final strength by about 50 percent. A good concrete contractor will protect the concrete with thermal blankets or heaters as it sets.
  • Using cold materials: Concrete can freeze, but frozen tools, forms and embedments will also affect how well the concrete sets. Your concrete contractor should know to warm these items up to at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit before proceeding.
  • Failing to take advantage of daylight: Daylight hours are significantly limited in the colder months. Unfortunately, sunlight is important to the setting and curing process. Your contractor will probably schedule your cold-weather concrete pouring for early in the day, so as to take advantage of as much daylight as possible. If that’s not feasible, you’ll need a lot of heaters and lights on hand to ensure good results.
  • Sealing when it’s too cold: After the concrete has set, your contractors may suggest they seal it. However, this should not be done when the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Ask about the manufacturers’ recommendations and whether your contractors think the sealing can be safely done in the current weather conditions. While sealing the concrete is beneficial, there’s no sense in investing time and money in a project that won’t turn out well. You may wish to wait until the weather warms up.
  • Using heaters inappropriately: Finally, your contractors will likely use heaters to keep the concrete above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This needs to be done carefully, since there’s potential for damage. Fuel-fired heaters need appropriate ventilation, or they’ll cause a chemical reaction called carbonation. This makes the concrete surface dusty and weak.

If you can’t avoid pouring concrete in cold weather, there’s no need to worry. The reliable concrete contractors at Kwiatkowski Construction Co., Inc. can work with Crivitz, WI’s cold weather to ensure your project goes off without a hitch. Call us today to discuss your project. We’ll let you know if we can proceed in current conditions with heaters and thermal blankets, or if you need to wait until it’s warmer for best results.

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