The weather can have adverse effects on the concrete pouring process.
It’s possible to pour concrete in both cold weather and hot weather, but it’s important to be aware of the correct procedures to follow in these conditions.
You need to be considering both the ambient temperature and how you’ll be keeping the concrete at the right temperature throughout the curing process.
The following article will outline the best temperature at which to pour concrete and everything else you might need to know about the concrete pouring process.
What’s the Best Temperature for Pouring Concrete?
To avoid any issues with your concrete (which we’ll go over shortly), you should be pouring at between 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you pour concrete at temperatures lower than 50 degrees, it will slow down the curing process.
At 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the water within the concrete is at risk of freezing. This will result in cracks.
Pouring concrete at anything higher than 60 degrees Fahrenheit will be far too hot, and could make the water evaporate.
This would affect the structural integrity of the concrete, and you’d need to add water to the concrete regularly once it has hardened.
All that’s involved in this process will be spraying the concrete lightly with water no less than 5 times a day and no more than 10 times a day within the first 72 hours of the curing process.
It should be noted that concrete should not be watered until it has hardened, which tends to take somewhere between four hours to eight hours.
Pouring Concrete in Hot Weather
There are many things you can do to offset the detrimental effects that hot, humid, and windy weather can have on the concrete pouring process.
- Use windbreaks or sunshades for further protection from windy or hot weather.
- Try to avoid pouring the concrete during the hottest part of the day. Likewise, if you have the flexibility, keep an eye on the weather forecast and aim to pour the concrete on a cooler day.
- Prior to pouring, store your concrete in your garage, outside in full shade, or any other cool area.
- Be sure to dampen the subgrade (the foundation) prior to pouring the concrete.
- You can also add ice to the concrete’s water mix, in order to cool the concrete down.
- It’s not a job you should be doing alone- make sure you have help during the pouring process and, if possible, during the curing process.
Pouring Concrete in Cold Weather
Just like with pouring concrete in hot weather, there are many ways to offset the effects of cold weather on your concrete.
- Use heaters to thaw frozen ground, ice, or snow.
- Store your concrete in a dry and warm place.
- Make sure you’re using cold weather products that are designed for quick curing.
- Use extra cement in order to create a hotter reaction.
- Mix your concrete with hot water rather than with cold water.
- Quickly remove bleed water using a vacuum or other appliance.
- Wait until your concrete has cured before removing the frameworks.
Staying Safe While Pouring Concrete
Regardless of the weather conditions, there are certain safety procedures you must follow when pouring concrete.
The concrete mix is an irritant to your breathing passages and your lungs, so you should always be wearing breathing protection (like a respirator mask) when working with the substance.
It can also be an irritant to your eyes, so make sure you’re wearing sufficient eye protection.
Concrete is very heavy even before it has hardened, so be sure to have help when lifting bags of the substance in order to avoid hurting yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the Best Season for Pouring Concrete?
When pouring concrete you’ll want to avoid extreme weather conditions as much as you can, so the best season to pour concrete will be the cool to moderate months.
This could be fall, spring, or possibly even winter if you’re living in a region with consistently high temperatures.
It’s important to keep an eye on the temperature at night, too- if it drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit it could lead to the water within the concrete freezing overnight.
What Time of Day Should You Pour Concrete?
You should be pouring your concrete either before 10am or after 8pm, when temperatures are at their lowest.
If you’re planning on pouring concrete during the summer and you live in a region with very high temperatures, it might be worth considering pouring the mixture during the night.
This will give the concrete a longer period of cooler temperatures in which to harden and cure.
Can You Pour Concrete When it’s Raining?
If rain is in the forecast, you should avoid pouring concrete until a later date. Even a small amount of light rain has the potential to damage your newly poured mixture.
After four to eight hours, though, the concrete may be hard enough that rain might actually aid the curing process.
It’s all about timing, but remember- the forecast gets it wrong sometimes. If you can, try to avoid rain altogether.
How Does Concrete Actually Work?
Concrete tends to be made up of a paste and an aggregate. The paste will be a mixture of cement and water, while the aggregate is usually made up of precise amounts of broken gravel and sand.
Mixed together, the paste and the aggregate will become fluid concrete, which can be poured and formed into custom molds.
Once the concrete has been poured, the mixture chemically reacts with the water molecules, and this is the process referred to as curing.
The components are bonded together, creating the strong and cohesive substance we know as solid concrete.
What Tools Do I Need To Pour Concrete?
To pour concrete, you’ll need the right tools.
These include the following:
- A shovel
- A level
- A hammer
- A circular saw
- An electric miter saw
- A mixing hoe
- A concrete hand float
- A wheelbarrow
- A tamper
- A measuring tape
- Breathing protection
- Eye protection
- A speed square or a carpenter’s square
- Nitrile or latex gloves.
While pouring concrete in hot weather or cold weather is never ideal, in some regions you won’t have a choice.
So long as you keep the concrete cool enough in hot weather or warm enough in cold weather, the pouring and curing process shouldn’t be an issue.
Remember: pouring concrete is usually quite a nerve-wracking process, even when the weather is ideal. Plan ahead as much as you can, and you’ll be getting good results no matter the weather.