Handling Concrete in Cold Weather

As it is late November and is only going to get colder now until spring next year, then it is a good time to explain the issues of working with concrete during this chilly period.  Working with concrete in the winter months is much more challenging than in the warmer weather.  Concrete will take much longer to set and strengthen in cold weather, so this should be taken into consideration before quoting lead times.

The air temperature as well as the concrete temperature at the time of delivery needs to be considered because the product might not be fit for use if normal procedures occur.

For instance, if the concrete cools below zero degrees soon after being poured then the water could freeze and therefore expand and consequently render the product useless.  It is also important that the concrete is not removed from the mould too soon otherwise it may not be strong enough to hold its own weight, and could potentially collapse.

Precautions need to be taken in terms of making sure any sub-bases, formwork, reinforcement and transporting and placing equipment is clear from ice and snow prior to pouring and placing.  Also, exposed concrete surfaces should be covered with an insulating material.

Obviously the extent to which precautions need to be taken is determined by the severity of the weather.  If it is just a little cold then there is minimal risk to the concrete, however if there is a heavy frost or even snow then the concrete would need to be heated or even delayed until warmer weather.

Hopefully we have provided a brief insight into the problems of working with concrete in the winter months.  Although it is not impossible, these complications do need to be brought to attention to avoid unwanted damage and costs from not being completely cautious to begin with.

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