Freshly poured concrete often responds negatively to high temperatures, especially in the absence of ideal humidity and wind conditions. You can prepare for these circumstances before starting your next project by learning more about the effects of hot weather concreting.
Before hot weather arrives, you need to start thinking about how high temperatures can affect both freshly poured concrete and the curing process. As temperatures rise above 90 degrees, you may notice a dramatic difference during mixing, setting, finishing, and curing.
Hot weather tends to speed up the chemical reaction that occurs within the aggregate mixture after adding water. While high humidity levels can mitigate the effect by slowing the evaporation rate, you can expect rapid wind speeds to have the reverse effect by accelerating it even further. You must evaluate all of these factors to help you determine the best approach for the hot weather concreting projects on your schedule.
Tips for Creating Smooth Concrete Surfaces in Hot Weather
Before starting to work with fresh concrete, create a plan of action for the project from start to finish. Since hot weather accelerates the setting time, you will need to work quickly and efficiently to spread the concrete across the project area and smooth out the surface. You will need to plan to pour and work with the concrete during the early morning hours to give yourself extra time with the wet aggregate mixture. You can also bring on extra workers to help you rapidly form the concrete structure before the material starts to set.
You do not want to add extra water to the aggregate mixture, as that could cause problems when curing concrete. For extra workability, consider using ice water to prepare your concrete mixture. You may use garden sprinklers for short periods over the subgrade to keep the concrete from shrinking and cracking as it sets and cures.
In case of disruptive wind and humidity levels, add evaporation retardants to the wet concrete mixture before pouring. Consider setting up a sunscreen or windbreaks to keep the surface temperature of your poured concrete at a steady level.
Hot Weather Effects on Finished Concrete
Unfortunately, even if the hot weather does not arrive until well after the concrete cures, the potential for damage such as cracks or divots remains, due to expansion from sustained heat at the surface. As sunlight beams down on concrete surfaces, water within the porous material starts to expand. The relatively rapid expansion rate can open up large cracks through the concrete slab or block in an instant. The concrete may also weaken along the surface, which increases the risk of divots from mechanical damage.
To ensure your clients’ concrete projects remain aesthetically pleasing and functional through periods of hot weather, you can coat the concrete structures with a waterproof sealant. The sealant keeps water from entering the porous material, preventing material expansion in hot weather.
Acquiring Professional Concrete Services
Discuss all of your hot weather concreting options with your local concrete provider before you begin your next construction project. They can provide various types of concrete with chemical admixtures that can be tailored specifically to each project to help ensure an optimal finish for your clients.
To learn more about hot weather concreting in Arkansas, contact Razorback Concrete at 870-455-0700 to speak with an experienced project manager. We can help you successfully apply proven hot weather concreting practices to protect your clients’ concrete structures.