Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather

Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather

A Concrete Guide for Successful Cold Weather Pours

If you’re working on a construction project during the colder months of November through to March, it’s helpful to understand how dropping temperatures can affect your results. Freezing temperatures can cause major problems for freshly laid concrete, leading to cracks, reduced strength, and potential project failure.

As a local provider of volumetric concrete, the Custom Concrete team is well aware that construction timelines don’t pause for the weather. Our volumetric concrete is mixed on-site to your specifications, minimising potential delays. In this blog, we go through some of the additional tips and techniques that anyone pouring concrete in cold weather, no matter the size of the project, should consider.

What Temperature is Too Cold to Pour Concrete?

The ideal temperature range for pouring concrete falls between 10 – 30 degrees Celsius. However, projects don’t always adhere to perfect weather conditions. When temperatures start dropping, it’s important to be alert.

  • The Critical Threshold. Once the air temperature dips below 4 degrees Celsius, the hydration process that gives concrete its strength slows down significantly. If temperatures fall below freezing (0 degrees Celsius), the situation becomes even more problematic.
  • The Danger of Ice. Water expands when it freezes, and if ice crystals form within your freshly poured concrete, it can lead to internal damage, cracking, and reduced overall strength. This is why it’s so crucial to avoid pouring concrete when the air temperature is at or below freezing, and why you should never pour directly onto a frozen or frost-covered surface.
  • Protect Your Pour. Newly laid concrete needs to be protected from freezing temperatures for at least a day after it has been poured. If ice is allowed to form in your freshly poured concrete, expanding water crystals can interrupt the cement’s hydration process with a resultant loss of strength.

Practical Steps for Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather

Planning and preparation are essential when pouring concrete in cold weather. Here’s how Custom Concrete can help you tackle the challenges:

Plan Smart, Schedule Ahead

Pre-schedule your Custom Concrete delivery in advance using our Custom Concrete Calculator, to account for weather unpredictability. We’re flexible and work with you to find the best pouring window even in cold conditions.

Know the Forecast

Check the weather leading up to and on the day of your pour. Aim for an air temperature of at least 3 degrees Celsius and ensure no frost or ice is present on the ground.

Prep Your Sub Base

Take measures to protect your sub base from freezing. Insulating blankets can prevent frost, and for existing frost, ground heaters can thaw the ground for a proper pour. If cold winds are a factor, put up temporary windbreaks around your pour. This helps maintain a more consistent temperature for the concrete.

Maximise Efficiency with Volumetric Concrete

Custom Concrete’s on-site mixing means your concrete arrives fresh and ready to use the moment you need it, drastically reducing exposure to freezing temperatures. Our optional pump hire further speeds up the process when access is difficult.

Protection is Important

Once the concrete is poured and levelled, cover it with insulating blankets to prevent freezing. This step is critical for ensuring the concrete cures properly and reaches its maximum strength potential. Pay close attention to your newly poured concrete during the first few days. If needed, use supplemental heating sources or additional insulation to maintain a safe temperature range for proper curing.

Tailored Solutions From Custom Concrete

The experienced team at Custom Concrete can recommend the optimal concrete mix adjustments and provide guidance on best practices for heating, protection, and monitoring in cold weather. We’re committed to helping you achieve a strong and durable concrete project, regardless of the season

While pouring concrete in cold weather presents its challenges, understanding the risks and following the right strategies can ensure a successful outcome. By planning ahead, using appropriate techniques, and choosing a trustworthy local supplier, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle your site mixed concrete projects year-round.

Contact Custom Concrete today for expert advice, tailored cold-weather concrete mixes, and reliable on-site delivery. We supply volumetric concrete in Beds, Bucks, Herts, and North London. Our volumetric concrete helps you build with confidence, no matter the temperature.

Let us know how else we can help with your concrete needs – 01525 861899

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