How to pour concrete in cold weather

Certain conditions at pouring, such as cold weather, can have a large impact on whether your concrete is strong and long-lasting. The temperature, weather and ground conditions can all play a part to make the difference between high quality, well-cured concrete and a weak, fractured and useless surfacing. So, let’s take a look at the impact of cold weather and how to effectively handle pouring concrete in the cold.

What counts as cold?

Concrete is a hardy material but when temperatures edge towards freezing, this isn’t ideal conditions for pouring or curing. Freshly poured concrete should never be allowed to cool below 0°C as this will cause the water in the mix to freeze. What’s more, it’s not recommended to pour concrete when the temperature is under 5°C, unless appropriate precautions are carried out.

How does cold impact concrete?

Cold weather can negatively affect new concrete in a few ways. Firstly, if temperatures are at or below freezing, then the water present in the concrete mix will freeze, causing it to expand. This is the worst case scenario for concrete as this will cause cracks and irreparable damage, rendering the surfacing weak and useless.

If the concrete is poured when temperatures are at or slightly above 5°C then freezing shouldn’t be an issue. Concrete cures and strengthens over time, but this process works best at warmer temperatures. The cold weather will slow down this process; your concrete will still be able to cure, but this strength development will occur slower, meaning it will take longer to reach peak strength.

Tips on how to pour concrete when it’s cold

  • Never pour concrete when the ground is frozen, icy or snowy
  • Order a concrete mix with a low slump if you know you’ll be working in colder conditions – this is a drier mix which will reduce the amount of bleed water
  • Try and keep the concrete warm, particularly during the first 48-72 hours after pouring – you could do this using a concrete blanket or with space heaters
  • Use insulated formwork
  • Prepare for an extended, slower curing process

Easycrete are concrete experts and can supply customers throughout Surrey and the surrounding areas with high quality mixes, tailored to your requirements. We are experienced suppliers and can offer ready mixed and volumetric concrete for projects of all sizes. Using our large fleet of drum and volumetric lorries, one of our professionals will deliver your mix promptly to your site. Simply get in touch today with any enquiries.