Is It Okay If It Rains After Pouring Concrete?

Properly preparing the concrete mix and timing the pour is essential to prevent damage on freshly laid concrete surfaces.

Some contractors build protective enclosures around the work site using plastic sheets and wood. This helps prevent rainwater from collecting on the concrete surface.

If there is not much protection, it’s best to direct the water off the concrete surface before finishing.

Note: this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The concrete structure is not wholly damaged even if it starts raining soon after the pour. It all depends on the timing and the curing stage of the concrete.

If the rain begins no later than 2 to 4 hours after pouring the concrete, the surface should not be damaged.

Is It Okay If It Rains After Pouring Concrete

Similarly, if it rains soon after the finishing stage, rainwater will not cause much damage if it does not seep into the surface. In situations where the concrete is ready for grinding and grooving, the rain will not cause any damage to the structure.

Either way, concrete takes between 24 and 48 hours to set and another 7 to 10 days to cure.

Contractors must assess the damage left on the surface after heavy rains. Visually evaluating the structure helps in detecting any defects or cracks.

In addition, scratching the surface with a sharp tool helps understand the surface’s hardness compared to other good-quality sections.

If the exterior of the concrete structure shows imperfection, repairs should be performed immediately. For damages on a thin slab, it is best to replace the entire structure.

Small cracks on a thick slab can be repaired by applying some mortar to the damaged areas.

Light sprinkles of rain can cause no damage to freshly prepared concrete structures. However, heavy rain showers and thunderstorms cause the surface to become soft and flaky. In such situations, use a plastic sheet for covering the surface or structure.

See also  How Long Does It Take Concrete to Dry?

Assessing The Damage Caused To A Concrete Slab After A Heavy Rainstorm

As discussed earlier, visual inspections can help find defects and cracks in the concrete structure. Scratch testing is another effective way to find out the hardness of the concrete.

In most work sites, contractors make the mistake of not covering a freshly laid concrete surface before it rains.

If the rainfall is heavy, it may wash off cement from portions of the concrete surface. It will weaken the structure and also reduce its durability. Unsealed concrete surfaces absorb water and crack due to freeze and thaw cycles.

The most damaging effect of water is the scaling of concrete surfaces. It results in flaky layers and a pitted surface.

Suggested waterproofing products:

Grizzly Tarps by B-Air 6' x 8' Large Multi-Purpose Waterproof Heavy Duty Poly Tarp with Grommets Every 36", 8x8 Weave, 5 Mil Thick, for Home, Boats, Cars, Camping, Protective Cover, Blue
  • TIGHTLY WOVEN FABRIC: The Grizzly Tarps by B-Air are constructed with tightly woven polyethylene fibers (True 8 x 8 weave) which provide superior durability and protection.
  • WATERPROOF: Grizzly Tarps are waterproof. These tarps can be used to shelter boats, cars, campers or motor-vehicles from the elements (i.e. wind, rain or sunlight), as an emergency roof patch material for homeowners, and as a temporary pickup truck bed cover
  • HIGH QUALITY: The superior grade tarps by Grizzly Tarps are made from a tight 8x8 sq inch polyethylene weave which provides durability. The tarps are enforced with border piping to ensure stronger ends to avoid tears during stressful applications. Each tarp is 5 mil. thick, making them extremely lightweight and portable.
  • ALUMINUM GROMMETS: Every Grizzly Tarp includes built-in aluminum grommets every 36" to allow secure tie-downs.
  • ULTIMATE PROTECTION: Choose the right tarp for the job - Grizzly Tarps have available sizes that range from 6 x 8 feet and get as large as 20 x 30 feet
Skilcut Clear Extra Heavy Duty 16 Mil Poly Tarp Fiber Reinforced Greenhouse/Agriculture/Garden/Farm 10x14
  • True Finished Size: Provides the exact dimensions as stated, guaranteeing complete coverage and fit.
  • 100% UV Protection: Built to withstand harmful UV rays, perfect for outdoor use.
  • Waterproof Material: Crafted from water-resistant fabric, keeping your items perfectly dry.
  • Tear Resistant: High-quality materials ensure resistance against tearing for enhanced durability.
  • Arctic Flexibility: Offers the ability to remain flexible in extremely cold conditions, ensuring usability throughout the year.

Steps To Take to Fix A Rain-Damaged Concrete Slab

See also  What is the Difference Between Cinder Block & Concrete Block?

There are multiple ways of fixing concrete slabs, and it primarily depends on the final finishing and application of the concrete structure. Builders use concrete grinders to take off the damaged surface.

Usually, the damage is seen in the top 14th inch of the concrete surface, and it can be easily fixed with some grinding.

Grinding the powdery top surface of the concrete down to the dense concrete leaves a polished floor-like finish. After the grinding process is over, rinse the surface with water.

Is It Safe To Pour Concrete Over Existing Rain-Damaged Concrete Surfaces?

Yes, concrete can be applied to fix rain-damaged concrete surfaces using the following steps:

  • The most important thing is to create a surface for proper addition. Hence, cleaning the surface is crucial
  • Use a hard-bristled broom to remove the dirt and then pressure wash the surface for cleaning cracks and depressions.
  • Use de-greasing products for removing tough stains and grease on the concrete exteriors.
  • Then prime the concrete surface and paint it with a bonding adhesive.
  • Pour freshly prepared concrete on the damaged areas and use a trowel for a smooth finish.
  • The newly laid surface will be ready for use after 12 hours. However, it will take 7-10 days to gain its maximum strength.

Method Of Fixing A Crack In A Concrete Slab

The most common technique for fixing cracks in concrete slabs is widening the crack with a grinder. Then it is filled with mortar and a sealing compound. It will completely seal the crack and prevent water leakage or other materials from damaging the concrete.

See also  How Much Does a Yard of Concrete Weigh?

After the mortar hardens, apply a coat of sealant and fill it with polyurethane for a perfect finish.

Pouring concrete in the rain also has several benefits. It mainly aids in the curing process; however, heavy rains just after pouring concrete washes off the top layers and affect structural strength.

Concrete Structures Don’t Dry; They Go Through A Curing Process

Usually, people say that concrete structures will be ready for use after drying. However, it goes through a curing process that results in chemical changes within the structure. Concrete can even cure underwater if favorable conditions exist.

However, pouring concrete in the rain is an entirely different story. The relationship between concrete and moisture is vital in understanding if you can pour concrete in the rain.

Setting And Curing Time Of Concrete

Setting And Curing Time Of Concrete

As we mentioned above, concrete takes between 24 and 48 hours to set and then another 7 to 10 days to cure. During this phase, moderate application of the structure is permitted. Avoid putting any heavy equipment on the concrete surface during this time.

This prevents any damage and facilitates proper curing. Complete curing of concrete structures may take around 28 days.

How Concrete Layers Are Poured In The Rain

Proper Drainage

Drainage ensures that the water flows into the trenches dug for foundation, slabs, and footing. However, rainwater is full of contaminants, so it’s best to drain it out properly instead of pouring it on the concrete surface.

Covering The Top Surfaces

Using plastic covers and tarps can protect small concrete slabs from heavy splashes of rain. Likewise, large areas can be protected with the help of covers and tarps.

Rain can cause significant problems with freshly prepared concrete. It can also delay the curing process due to the presence of excess moisture. Therefore, always keep in mind the above discussed precautionary measures to ensure that the rain does not affect a newly laid concrete structure.