Whether you’re pouring a foundation, a driveway or any other concrete surface, curing is an essential step in the process. When done the right way, cured concrete is as strong and durable as possible. While the curing process is usually straightforward—all you really have to do is wait—there are weather factors to consider with concrete curing. Here’s a basic guide covering the effects of weather on concrete.
Curing concrete in cold weather can be tricky. You still need to wait for concrete to dry, but you need to keep it from freezing as you wait. One of the worst effects of weather on concrete is freezing—it severely weakens the concrete. Whenever ambient temperatures get below freezing, it immediately stops the curing process. Even if the concrete doesn’t freeze, you still need to be proactive and alert when pouring concrete in cold temperatures. Some tips for installing concrete in cooler temperatures include:
- Keep the forms in place: Try to leave forms in place for as long as possible, since they help the concrete retain heat and prevent it from drying out too early. While there’s no set timeframe for leaving forms in place, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Check the ground: If concrete is poured directly onto frozen ground, it’s more likely to freeze itself. Even though the curing process can still happen, it will undoubtedly be uneven, and the end result could be a concrete slab that’s only strong at the surface.
- Keep your equipment warm: As a general rule, everything that comes into contact with concrete should be reasonably warm. All formworks and tools used to finish concrete should be at an acceptable temperature, otherwise you risk freezing.
Hot weather also has effects on concrete. If the weather’s too hot, concrete cures too quickly and you risk losing a lot of quality and strength. On days when it’s especially dry and windy, you need to look out for concrete drying too quickly. Some tips for pouring concrete in hot weather include:
- Keep concrete wet: You should either pond or spray the surface periodically during curing with a hose. Alternatively, you could set a sprinkler with a fine mist and cover the concrete surface with wet burlap to maintain adequate moisture for curing.
- Keep equipment cool: The tools and equipment you use need to stay cool when pouring concrete in the summer. Leave equipment in covered, shaded areas and spray it with cold water right before you use it.
- Block sunlight and wind: It’s wise to use sunshades and windbreaks to prevent premature drying of the concrete. Some simple tarps or other sheeting that blocks the sun is usually sufficient.
There are many weather factors to consider when it comes to concrete curing. That’s why concrete installation should never be a do-it-yourself job. Rely on the concrete experts at Kwiatkowski Construction Co., Inc., who understand what it takes to install concrete driveways, patios and other features that are made to last.
Categorised in: Concrete Contractors
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