While most everyone knows that it's not good to pour concrete in excessively cold temperatures, some may not realize that pouring it in excessively hot weather can be troublesome as well. The problem with hot weather is that it leads to evaporation of the water in the concrete, which disrupts the curing process. Since concrete relies on that hydration to cure properly, the evaporation can leave you with weak, crumbly concrete if you pour it in high temperatures. Here are some things you should know if you're planning a concrete job in the midst of a heat wave:
What Kinds Of Problems Can Arise?
Pouring concrete in high temperatures can lead to a few common problems. For example, you may find that the concrete shrinks significantly as it hardens due to the evaporation process. That loss of moisture can also increase the risk of cracks and reduce the general strength of the pad.
How Can You Compensate For High Temperatures?
The good news is that there are some things you can do to help compensate for the high temperatures. Being prepared is key, so consider some of these tips.
Make sure you have help. You'll need a few people on hand to assist with the pouring and finishing. The faster you can get it finished, the better your chances of success.
Time it right--plan your project for either early morning or late evening. That way, you're not working in the peak heat of the day or dealing with the direct sunlight over the work area.
Protect the area. Set up some overhangs or windbreaks to help minimize the effect of the weather.
Store your supplies safely. Don't leave the concrete mix or other supplies out in the direct sun. Cover them with tarps, place them in the shade, or leave them in a cool garage until you're ready to work with them.
Mix the concrete carefully. Consider adding ice to the water that you're using to mix the concrete. That will keep things cooler, slowing the effect of the heat. Also, don't mix the concrete as long once you've added the water. The less mixing you do, the more water will be retained.
Dampen the subgrade. Before you pour the concrete, wet the entire subgrade area with cold or ice water. That will help to moderate the heat in the soil while the concrete cures.
With these tips, you can get a successful concrete pad even in hotter temperatures. Talk with a local concrete mixing contractor like R. Pepin & Sons Inc. about helping you if you're not confident in your own skills.