Are you undertaking a construction project this winter? Well, concrete pumping is one of the processes you cannot avoid. Pouring concrete during the cold season poses a number of significant challenges. Usually, concrete sets at fifty degrees Fahrenheit, meaning in winter the ambient temperature will fall below this range. Here are steps you should take to ensure your concrete cures efficiently in the cold weather.
Concrete pumping temperature limits
If the temperature drops below 5 degrees, the exothermic reaction that makes the wet cement change into strong concrete slows down significantly. This will slow down the construction since the contractor will be forced to wait for the concrete to set in and become strong before proceeding. What's more, if the concrete reaches the freezing temperatures as it sets in, the water that was mixed with the cement will start freezing and expanding. This will make the concrete brittle, weak and flaky once it sets.
How to pump concrete successfully in winter?
Luckily, there are strategies you can implement to boost the temperature of your cement mixture. Below are some tricks your contractor may use:
- Mix the cement with hot water to increase the concrete temperature. Once mixed, the concrete should be stored in a warm location. If hot water isn't available, the cement can be mixed with additives that accelerate the concrete set time.
- Use heated blankets or heaters to thaw the surfaces where concrete is poured. When concrete is pumped on frozen ground, it will cool quickly. Using heaters to prepare the surfaces prevents the freezing or cooling rate of the concrete and keeps the setting reaction going.
- Use extra cement to ensure the reaction is hotter to make concrete hydrate more rapidly.
- Use quick-set cement. Although it will set slowly compared to what the instructions indicate, the concrete will harden faster than the traditional cement mix.
Concrete curing in cold weather
Once the concrete is poured, it's important to keep it in the ideal temperatures so it can cure efficiently. Most importantly, it must be kept from freezing. The ideal curing temperatures we mentioned earlier must be maintained for approximately two days to make sure the concrete has attained its optimal strength while setting. This process can be tricky in winter and that's why most contractors will recommend you acquire an external source of heat. The experts should be able to guide you accordingly to make sure the concrete cures as needed.
To learn more about the process, reach out to services such as Hunter Concrete Pump Hire.