How Quickly Does Concrete Set?
When the Custom Concrete team talk to customers about the benefits of site mixed concrete, top of the list is the the fact that our concrete is made in the same place it will be poured. This is because concrete has a limited window during which it is workable. After that it begins to harden as a result of the chemical reaction called hydration.
In this article, we answer the question ‘How long is concrete workable?’ and we consider the best options when ordering.
The Workability Limits of Fresh Concrete
If you work with concrete regularly you will know that moment when it turns from being fluid and malleable to a hard surface. Whilst the window available for pouring fresh concrete differs according to the mix, most professionals set it at just over one hour. Hot or icy weather can reduce workability, and this should always be taken into account on site.
Managing the Delivery of Ready-Mixed Concrete
Ready-mixed concrete is transported in trucks with rotating drums in order to keep the concrete agitated. This extends its fluid workability by delaying the process of setting. This solution cannot, however, infinitely delay hardening. The longer the period of transport the less workable concrete becomes.
There are a number of additives that can be used to manage the condition of concrete in transit:
- Water. This is normally added once the hardening process has begun. It may remediate the issue but will ultimately weaken the concrete mix.
- Water Reducers. These lower the amount of water required when mixing, which allows for the setting time to be extended.
- Hydration Stabilisers. These suppress hydration in order to provide control over the setting process.
The Volumetric Concrete Guarantee
For Custom Concrete the only way to absolutely guarantee concrete workability is to have concrete freshly mixed on site. Our volumetric trucks carry the raw materials to your site, and the concrete is mixed only when we are in position. In most cases the concrete is poured from the truck immediately after it has been mixed.
If a site presents obstacles, or the concrete needs to be poured from above, we hire out line and boom pumps to ensure speedy and efficient delivery. We regularly mix multiple batches in a day, and these can be set up in the order that best suits the construction manager.
Working With Custom Concrete
We hope that we have provided a clear answer to the question ‘How long is concrete workable?’. If you have any questions relating to the kind of mix you need for your job, or the ordering process, our customer service team are mix on-site concrete specialists and will be able to give detailed responses.
Custom Concrete delivers volumetric concrete, mixed on site across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, no matter the size of the job. Our Custom Concrete Calculator allows customers to work out in advance what materials are needed and eliminates unnecessary waste.
Just let us know what mix you require, and the Custom Concrete team will deliver freshly mixed concrete to your site when and where it is required.
Do you have any questions about the types of concrete needed for your project? Just give the Custom Concrete team a call on 01525 861899