Handling Weather and Climate Challenges When Placing Concrete

Association of Construction and Development
December 4, 2012 — 1,256 views  

Handling Weather and Climate Challenges When Placing Concrete

Pouring and casting concrete occurs indoors, but the majority of work involving concrete takes place outside. A professional scheduling their pour is almost always subject to the elements. Be it too hot, too cold, or perhaps rain or snow, there are ways to resolve the problems that may arise.

Weather and climate conditions can sometimes determine if concrete will be placed or not. There are products available that can help in the decision-making process. Rising temperatures during the summer speed up concrete's setting process, thereby giving the mason less time to work with the material. Less time to work with the material will compromise your finishes. In this case, the use of a retardant would be ideal. Your concrete provider can suggest the temperature at which a retardant additive is appropriate. They would mix it in at the plant, and the concrete will react slower regardless of the summer's hot climate.

The opposite is true of the winter cold. When temperatures drop, the heat activity that occurs when the concrete is mixed decreases. This makes for concrete that freezes, or takes too long to set and ultimately a failure in the material's performance. The use of an accelerator in the concrete would be the best solution to cold climate conditions. This additive is made to speed up concrete's setting time so the cold climate doesn't affect it adversely.

There is such a thing as having hot or cold climate, yet pour-able conditions. Perhaps you don't even have to resort to adding mixtures or solvents to your concrete. However, sometimes rain and snow can become the variable factors. In general, when scheduling your concrete, weather plays an important role. If the threat of rain is present, keeping a plastic tarp handy to cover your work and perhaps some wood and nails would be a good idea. Remembering to pitch the plastic correctly to avoid puddling is also important. When snow is in the forecast, the best remedy is a concrete blanket. Concrete blankets are insulated tarps. If you've placed concrete and covered it with a blanket and had a snowfall, your work is much likelier to make it than if you had just used plastic to cover it. Also, since it's insulated it doesn't let heat escape the concrete while it sets and cures.

Both climate and weather are imperative when planning to place concrete. Sometimes a schedule or budget can't afford cancelling the job for another day. There are still ways of having a successful project, even when faced with unfavorable circumstances. Accelerators, retardants, tarps, and insulated blankets are just some examples of products that can help resolve issues caused by inclement weather or poor climate conditions.

Association of Construction and Development