Completing a concrete project yourself is an ambitious endeavour, but it’s perfectly doable provided you have the right resources. If this is your first concrete project, you might find yourself asking one of the most common questions we get from the average hobbyist: Is it better to pour concrete during the winter or the summer? Let’s take a closer look.
There are four basic phases to a concrete project: planning, mixing, pouring and curing. The curing portion is the phase that is most affected by outside weather. While it is possible to control the curing process to some degree, it can be easier (and more affordable) to plan your project based on the outside temperature.
The ideal temperature for pouring new concrete is somewhere between 40° – 60°F. Remember, it’s not just important that the ambient temperature is in that range when the concrete is poured, but that that temperature range is maintained while it cures. That’s why it can be so tricky to pour concrete during seasons when the temperature fluctuates often.
Of course, sometimes you don’t have the luxury of waiting for the next season before finishing your project. Not to worry, there are several successful methods for pouring concrete in different temperatures.
If you live in an area that’s always warm, or are stuck pouring concrete in the summer, there are a few basic tips you are going to want to keep in mind. These tips are really important if you’re working in an environment that exceeds 77°F.
The first, and most important, tip is to create shade over the area where you are pouring the concrete. A simple tarp is an affordable and effective solution. By keeping your concrete in the shade you can reduce its temperature in excess of 10°F.
If it’s really hot, you might want to consider using cold water when mixing your concrete solution together. It’s also helpful to dampen the area where you are pouring the concrete with cool water before putting the concrete in.
Colder weather is a bit more tricky than warmer weather when it comes to successful concrete projects. That’s because concrete simply cannot set if the ground around it is frozen.
You can help concrete stay warm by storing the mix in a dry place and using a concrete mix that is specifically designed for curing in a colder climate. It’s also important to use hot water when actually mixing your concrete solution together.
If it’s extremely cold, you might have to get creative and utilize space heaters to thaw the ground around the area you need to pour the concrete into. After the concrete is poured you can cover that area with plastic to stop all of the heat from escaping.
Concrete can truly be poured during any season if you are properly prepared for the weather. It’s important to do your research before pouring any concrete and worth consulting a professional if you have any doubts.
For help with your next concrete project, we encourage you to reach out to the knowledgeable staff at Razorback Concrete. Visit www.razorbackconcrete.com to learn more.