With the right approach, you can mitigate the effects of cold weather to complete your concrete pour on schedule. Here are the precautions you must take while completing indoor and outdoor concrete projects.
””The arrival of cold winter weather has the unfortunate potential to wreak havoc on your indoor and outdoor concrete plans. Cold temperatures and icy conditions can disrupt the pouring, forming, and curing process required for the creation of durable concrete structures. Luckily, you can mitigate these risks to ensure your concrete pour goes according to plan by taking the right steps through every phase of your project. Here are the considerations you need to take into account while pouring a concrete foundation in cold weather or completing any other winter projects around your home during winter in Arkansas.
Check the Temperature
The lower limit for cold weather concrete pours is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures dip below this level, you do not need to abandon your project altogether. You just have to take precautions that facilitate the chemical reactions required to create stronger concrete. When a concrete mix combines with water, the chemical reaction, called hydration, can only occur in ideal conditions. If you’re not careful, your concrete patio or sidewalk may crack or crumble under pressure, if it even manages to harden fully. Admixtures for your concrete can protect it during cold weather, or you can take special measures to keep the pouring area warm.
Thaw the Subgrade
To mitigate the potentially damaging effects caused by low temperatures in Arkansas, you must bring your work area up to an ideal workable temperature. You can achieve this feat by by strategically placing ground heaters over the subgrade. The heaters will thaw out the dirt and gravel at the site of a concrete foundation pour to create a surface that will keep the concrete from falling into the low temperature danger zone.
Perfect the Mix
The composition formula your concrete supplier uses to create the concrete mixture plays a big role in keeping its temperature up in the target range. To increase the inner heat of the concrete, you will need a higher volume of dry compounds in the mixing process to facilitate a stronger chemical reaction. As the chemical reaction strengthens, it will create heat that keeps the concrete in a workable state.
Introduce the Accelerators
If changing the mixture composition does not produce the desired results, accelerator products can also be added to the mix. For concrete foundations or concrete floors requiring steel fiber reinforcement, make sure to use a non-chloride accelerator. Unreinforced concrete pours can use calcium chloride accelerators in the concrete mix.
Control the Pour Rate
If your build requires forms (for instance, when pouring an indoor or outdoor concrete countertop), make sure to strictly control the pour rate to account for increased pressures. Although this may mean moving slower than normal, you still have to sustain a steady pour rate to keep the upper and lower materials from separating.
Blanket the Build
You can use the heat-producing hydration reaction to your advantage by covering your concrete with insulated blankets during the initial stages of the curing process. The waterproof material will trap heat against the concrete to keep the curing process moving forward, despite the presence of low outdoor temperatures. You must leave the insulators in place until the concrete reaches a 500 pound per square inch strength rating to mitigate the effects of cold weather on the curing process.
Starting Your Winter Concrete Pour
If you are building a home during winter, or finishing up any other concrete project in cold weather, contact the team at Razorback Concrete by calling 870-455-0700. Our experts will help you estimate the amount of concrete and reinforcement material needed to ensure your project remains on budget. Once you identify your concrete needs, you can have the concrete delivered by our trucks after preparing your worksite for the winter weather concrete pour.