Will Winter Cancel My Concrete?
Handy tips for concrete in the cold months.
Laying Concrete In The Winter
All size projects from small domestic jobs at home to large scale, commercial works will be impacted by the weather, hot or cold.
In Britain, we are famous for commenting on the weather all year around. This will come in handy when planning your concrete delivery.
What Do We Mean By Cold Weather?
A cold day in winter is not the same temperature as a cold day in the summer. It is important to understand the definition of cold weather in relation to the impact of pouring concrete.
We consider it cold when;
- The daily air temperature is on average 2°c or less.
- When the air temperature does not increase above 5°c for more than half of any 24 hour period.
The main problem that the cold weather imposes on concrete is the development of concrete strength as it sets. If the temperature is too low, the water within the mixture freezes before the concrete has set. The effects of the cold temperatures will differ between the different grades and slumps of concrete.
Your goal when laying concrete in the cold is to get the concrete to set to a strength where freezing temperatures will not effect the concrete.
Tips For Ready Mix Concrete In The Winter
- Plan ahead. If cold weather, according to our guidelines, can be avoided then it absolutely should! Aim for 5°c air temperature.
- Be prepared. Preparing for a concrete delivery is always important, even more so in winter months. The groundwork is harder work during the cold months so bear this in mind when planning and executing your prep work.
- Thaw the ground. The frozen ground, although will be harder to dig, is actually weaker. Once the ground is thawed out you need to keep it from refreezing before your concrete delivery arrives.
- Concrete Grades. Not all concrete grades are suitable for winter temperatures.If the temperature is too low, it may never reach its full strength. Make sure you consider this when ordering concrete for strength requirements.
- Consider fibres. Adding fibres to the concrete mix helps balance the effects of temperature, hot and cold. This is because the hair-like fibres hold moisture and slowly release this moisture into the concrete.
- Maintain the temperature (Aftercare). Aftercare can be just as important as the initial preparations, even more so when in cold conditions. Balancing the optimum temperature is key for a successful outcome. Keeping the concrete covered with a frost blanket is advised. If you are concreting indoors then keeping the heating on is also advised, however you must mind not to dry the concrete out too quickly.
Still got questions? Our friendly team at Total Concrete & Screed will be happy to share their knowledge and experience with you. We will talk you through the whole process from beginning to end to ensure you prepared and know what to expect. Our volumetric lorries supply concrete to Wolverhampton and across the West Midlands.