How Does Cold Weather Affect Concrete?

January 15, 2018 7:13 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Cold winter weather has a big effect on our everyday lives. We have to bundle up before we go outside, and we crank the heat when we’re back indoors. Did you know winter also affects one of the most common building materials out there? It’s true! Cold weather has a big impact on concrete and the concrete pouring process. Keep reading to learn more from your concrete driveway contractors in Lufkin, TX:

  • Crystallization speed: When cement powder is mixed with water, a crystallization process begins. This semi-liquid eventually crystalizes into the solid building material we call concrete. As more crystals form, the stronger the concrete becomes. The speed at which this occurs depends on the mixture being used as well as the temperature outside. The colder it is outside, the longer the process takes. If the temperature drops below 14 degrees early in the process, the crystals stop growing and your concrete will be weak and dangerous. Concrete driveway contractors in Lufkin, TX know this and take care to only pour concrete once it’s strong enough to resist freeze damage.
  • Durability: If concrete is made or poured when it’s too cold out, or if it doesn’t set correctly, its durability could be compromised. That’s obviously not good! Less durable concrete can crumble unexpectedly and may need expensive repairs sooner rather than later. Be sure you hire knowledgeable and experienced contractors to pour your concrete, so you can rest easy knowing that your investment will stand the test of time.

As you’re getting started, there are some important precautions you’ll want to take before embarking on your winter concrete project:

  • Use the right mixture: Any good concrete contractor knows that a special mixture needs to be used when pouring concrete in the winter. Make sure that your contractor uses air-entrained concrete during the building process. This type of concrete has millions of air bubbles that act as shock absorbers. If the water in the concrete happens to freeze, the water will expand into the air pockets instead of blasting the concrete apart.
  • Buy more cement: In addition to using air-entrained concrete, you’ll want to buy more cement for winter building projects. Experts recommend ordering 100 pounds of extra cement for each cubic yard of concrete. The extra cement will add strength early on and ensure it remains durable throughout its lifespan. Even though it costs a little bit more, the price is well worth it in the long run.
  • Be careful where you pour: Concrete can’t be poured wherever you like during the winter months. Never pour concrete on frozen ground, ice or snow. Concrete poured on cold ground can crack once the soil thaws.
  • Lay down insulated blankets: Be sure that your concrete contractor lays down insulated blankets before and after pouring concrete. Blankets will keep the ground warm before pouring, and help prevent the concrete from freezing after it’s been poured.

Never hire an inexperienced person to pour your concrete, especially in the winter! You could wind up with dangerously unstable concrete. If you’re putting in a new driveway anytime soon, be sure to give Brown’s Paving and Excavation a call. We have years of experience working as concrete driveway contractors in Lufkin, TX in all sorts of weather conditions and are equipped to tackle your project.

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