The construction industry is one such industry that continues working year around. Even though contractors would want to avoid carrying out construction tasks in biting cold weather, stopping construction entirely due to winter can lead to costly delays and missed deadlines.
Most construction workers do not prefer winter because concrete can easily crack, and maintaining its structural integrity is difficult. If a concrete mix is not used correctly, the repercussions can be even costlier than delaying the construction.
The only solution to avoid both delays and sacrificed integrity; contractors need to take ample precautions and plan out the construction meticulously.
Handling concrete in cold weather can be quite difficult, and contractors need to take extra precautions while carrying out curing and finishing processes. As a result, contractors must plan ahead of time to effectively safeguard fresh concrete before the weather changes.
Having the correct supplies on your hands, such as tarps and blankets, can help you avoid unnecessary delays and hazardous mistakes.
To avoid structural defects and unplanned delays, you should be familiar with the dos and don’ts of working with Ready-mixed concrete in cold weather. Let us look at the mistakes you should avoid while placing concrete in winter.
How To Improve Your Concrete Construction By Avoiding Common Mistakes
Pouring Concrete On Frozen Ground
Placing concrete over frozen ground is one of the most common blunders that contractors make during concrete placement. When thawed, the frozen ground easily settles, causing the concrete to crack.
Furthermore, because the fresh concrete closer to the ground cures slower than the surface, the top will set while the bottom will remain soft, ultimately impairing the structural integrity of the base.
Allowing Concrete Freezing
To cure correctly, it is important for concrete to be kept warm (about 50°F (10°C). Because fresh concrete can freeze at temperatures as low as 25°F (-4°C), it’s critical to keep it warm until the compressive strength is achieved.
To avoid freezing, a measuring device that measures concrete temperatures and determines their maturity should be used. This will make the process efficient and prevent premature freezing of the mixed concrete.
Using Cold Tools
Just as with poured concrete, you also need to maintain the temperature of tools and equipment.
The tools and building materials need to be kept warm; if not, cold surfaces of the tools can hinder the concrete. Ultimately, this negatively affects the strength development of the slab and prevents it from achieving optimal strength.
Sealing Concrete In Extreme Cold Conditions
Concrete sealers increase the resistance of your concrete to weather and outside forces. If you’re pouring concrete in cold weather, one should opt for a sealant that works well in adverse weather conditions.
If the temperature is below 50°F (10°C), sealing should be avoided if it is possible. Haste in sealing the concrete can be far more hazardous than delaying it.
Not Taking Advantage Of Heaters
As mentioned in point number 2, concrete must be kept warm to continue curing and achieving its optimal strength. The curing process will come to a halt if the temperature of your slab drops too low.
Portable heaters provide additional heat to the ground and directly to the concrete, allowing it to cure and acquire strength. However, When utilizing heat, the contractor should be cautious, as overheating the concrete can result in a fragile structure.
Working At Night
It is not uncommon for construction workers to carry out the majority of their bulk tasks at night, especially in the roads and sidewalk construction projects.
However, working with concrete on a cold winter night might be difficult due to the frigid temperatures. It’s much easier to pour concrete and deal with masonry supplies when the weather is bright.
Moreover, daylight also provides ample warmth to the slab, allowing it to be set appropriately and developing strength. But, if you must work late at night, make sure that there is enough artificial light and heat to allow the material to set.
Not Measuring Temperature At Regular Intervals
Temperature monitoring is very important while concrete pouring and settling, but it becomes especially important in cold weather. When proper attention is not given to the temperature, several problems can occur, some of which are –
- Premature Freezing
- The required strength is not met
- Rapid temperature fluctuations
- insufficient structural protection and serviceability.
To minimize the chances of mistakes during concrete laying in cold weather, hire trusted contractors and use top-notch Ready-mixed concrete for optimal results. For your concrete mix requirements in London, Kent and Essex, contact RMS Concrete today.