Pouring a cement mixture in the winter can be challenging, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. However, if you're pouring concrete for a road, driveway, sidewalk, or basement, you must take precautions to ensure the material cures and you're left with a hard, sturdy surface.
Can I Pour Concrete in the Winter?
The quick answer is yes. However, the mixture must go through a hydration period to harden. During this time, the water molecules bind with the chemicals in the sand, rock, and cement to create a stable mixture. If the average temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the process, the hydration can stall, resulting in a weak surface.
If you want to ensure your concrete cures properly, aim for some time in the winter that has a string of sunny and warm days. Curing is done best when outdoor temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees, so keep overnight temperatures in mind as well, as these can significantly impact the process and result in cracks if it gets below freezing.
How Can I Ensure the Surface Cures Correctly?
If you need to pour concrete this winter, there are ways you can help cure it so it hardens correctly. Before beginning your project, assess the site and consider warming the ground with heaters to ensure the temperatures from underneath are warm and there's no trapped ice or snow.
You can also use hot water in the mixture, as it'll keep the concrete warm and prevent the water inside the mixture from freezing too quickly. Keep the mix in a dry place until you need it and add a curing accelerant if you're in a time crunch. If you only have a day or two of decent weather, use a quick-drying mixture to avoid cracks or weak concrete.
For nearly 50 years, Builder’s Concrete East has been supplying the state of Connecticut with quality concrete and cement mixes. This experience will help them determine which mixture you need for your project, whether you’re working in the warm or cold. If you need a special mix for your next project this winter, give them a call at (860) 456-4111 or visit their website for more information about their products.