The best way to get concrete mix ready is by understanding its desired use, such as floors, foundations, and countertops and admixtures like water reducers, retardants, accelerants. Concrete may be a versatile substance but it does have its limitations and is affected by temperature, too hot and it dries with cracks, too cold and it takes forever to set-up. Pouring or Placing Concrete?
The proper concrete jargon is placing concrete, though concrete coming out of a 3-in. hose looks more like a pour, albeit a sluggish one. But to denote the general movement of concrete from truck to forms it is referred to as pouring. Most small concrete pours should be planned when temperatures are between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that the concrete will begin to set-up in a reasonable time but won’t set-up before you have a chance to touch it up.
Hot Weather Tips
- Plan ahead.
- Wet down all the forms and ground just before the concrete pour to reduce the rate of evaporation of the moisture in the concrete mix.
- Don’t add water to the mixture because it will lower the strength and increase cracking
- Limit the time between placing the concrete and final finishing.
- Provide sunshades to control the surface temperature on the exposed surfaces.
Cold Weather Tips
- Do not plan to pour concrete when the temperatures will not get above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wait for the sun to begin shining on the pour site.
- Use a concrete mix with a low water volume so that it will have less moisture to reduce the cure time.
- Provide a curing membrane that can be as simple as a plastic tarp or as sophisticated as a concrete curing blanket.
Concrete will reach half its strength in 10 days and its full strength in 27 days. But if you make proper plans in advance you should be able to pour concrete anytime. Here are four tips to follow when pouring concrete that will help ensure your next project is a success.
Tip #1: Prepare your base
The concrete is only as good as its base. Evenly grade the area for your concrete slab and place a well drained, clean gravel at least two inches deep. Place concrete forms after the base is prepared properly to avoid cracking in the future.
Tip #2: Choose the right mix design
Depending on the application choose the correct mix to use for concrete. For an outside application such as a patio, driveway, or carport, we recommend a 6.5 bag engineered mix that is air entrained. Air entrained concrete mix designs have microscopic voids that provide room for water to expand, which helps prevent concrete from “popping off” during extreme temperatures.
Tip #3: Add fiber To prevent settlement and shrinkage cracks add synthetic fiber to concrete before or during mixing. Fiber adds internal support and lowers the permeability of concrete; however, fiber should not be used to decrease slab thickness.
Tip #4: Proper concrete care
When properly produced, placed and protected concrete is a durable product. So keep concrete surfaces clean and free of ice and snow to remove moisture, which has the potential to freeze and cause damage. Use clean sand or kitty litter to add traction to icy concrete surfaces. Sealing your concrete surface soon after pouring the concrete will protect the surface from stains and help minimize the amount of water entering surface pores.
For help with your next concrete project, contact Davis Concrete. Our staff is available to offer assistance and advice for any product or quality related questions as well as pricing.