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How Cold Is Too Cold? A Guide to Pouring Concrete in Winter Weather

With the winter months upon us, many people are under the impression that the concrete season comes to a halt once the first frost emerges. This is far from the truth and in fact, many concrete projects benefit from being poured over the winter months such as reduced wait times due to the summer and spring rush as well as having a longer time to finish curing in case it’s being used for something like a swim spa, hot tub or a shed.

Experts agree that the best temperature for pouring concrete is between 10 to 15.6 degrees Celsius which gives concrete a good amount of time to set properly. That being said, it is possible to pour in colder weather as long as the proper conditions are met. In today’s blog, we dive into the needs of a concrete job being poured on a frosty winter day.

Concrete will freeze at about -4°C so it is vital to ensure during the pouring process that it is kept warm enough to prevent this. Concrete which freezes before properly thawing will crack and lead to greater structural damage.

Prior to pouring, once the gravel is set, our team will cover the site with insulated tarps to keep it warmer than the surrounding area. The day of the pour is usually scheduled when the temperature is no lower than -7°C to ensure everything sets properly using Get-Set ready-mixed concrete which is designed to speed-up set time up to 35% faster than regular concrete mixes. In some cases, a propane salamander is used to help keep temperature level. Other techniques that have been used are adding hot water instead of cold water to concrete and adding more cement into the mix to cause a hotter reaction and cause the concrete to hydrate faster.

While there is some leeway when using additional precautionary measures when it comes to temperature, it is always best practice to use necessary admixtures and freeze protection methods before pouring concrete. Be sure to speak to one of our professionals today to see when we can book your job.