Concrete is a strong and durable substance often used in major construction projects. If you’re planning a winter project, however, you need to take special precautions to ensure that it cures properly. Otherwise, you risk damaging the structural integrity and safety of the finished product. Here are a few basic do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Warm the ground up first.
Never pour your concrete mix onto frozen ground. All traces of water, ice, and snow must be removed before any work begins. That’s because the ground will settle as the moisture thaws, which will then affect the concrete’s structure and leave it vulnerable to cracking while it cures. It also takes longer for the substance to cure when it’s poured on a cold surface.
Work during the daylight hours.
Since winter days are short, be mindful of your work schedule. It’s best to work during the day so that you have optimal light. Temperatures are also higher during the day, which means it’s more likely that you can successfully pour at that time. If you have no choice but to work at dusk or dawn, make sure to have the appropriate warming equipment available.
Let it freeze.
When concrete is in its malleable or “plastic” state, it will freeze at around 25° Fahrenheit. If that happens before it’s had the chance to properly cure, your finished project may be considerably weaker than it would be otherwise. You can prevent that by covering the surface with thermal blankets or using heaters until it reaches at least 500 pounds per square inch, which refers to its strength.
Use surface heaters improperly.
When conditions necessitate using heaters, you need to make sure that they’re employed safely, both for your own protection and the integrity of the concrete. When using a device that depends on fuel, for example, make sure to allow for proper ventilation. Otherwise, carbon dioxide in exhaust fumes could lead the surface to develop a dusty finish and cure improperly.
If you’re working on a concrete project in Windham, CT, trust in the suppliers at Builder’s Concrete East to provide what you need. Proudly serving the state for 50 years, the company offers a variety of high-quality concrete mixes to meet your demands. They’ll work closely with you to determine the appropriate mix and can even assist with projects that require colored or stamped concrete. Visit them online for information, or call them at (860) 456-4111 to speak with a representative.