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Cold Weather and Concrete Pouring

Construction is something that does not see if the weather is hot or cold. Some things need to be constructed and nobody can wait for the right weather and the right time. Road rollers operate even in the heaviest of snowfalls.  However, when it comes to pouring concrete in Calgary, well there comes some reason to pause and ponder.  Mindlessly concrete pouring in winter circumstances does present some unusual challenges you need to be ready for.

The favorable temperature for concrete pour remains between 10˚C to 15˚C. If the temperature goes below the 10˚C mark, the chemical effects required to fix and reinforce concrete slow down considerably. Moreover, when the temperature goes below freezing, things can get even tougher as the setting and reinforcing halt completely. In this article, we will give you all the tips and tell you about things to consider when it comes to pouring concrete, and the weather is cold. Read on to find out more.

Winter Effects on Concrete

When it is extremely cold, concrete cannot cultivate its intended strength, so when freshly spilled concrete freezes up in the initial twenty-four hours, it could lose fifty percent of its possible twenty-eight-day vitality. Aside from not reinforcing, concrete can stiffen and broaden in freezing climates, and ensue cracking which is bad news. However, with the correct precautions, pouring concrete can still be a successful endeavor even in the coldest weather without incurring any winter damage. 

What to Consider with Cold Climate Concrete Pouring

If you need to follow through with particular endurance prerequisites for the concrete, ensure to conserve the concrete at the necessary temperatures. Moreover, you will need to ensure that the concrete is set before it is exposed to very cold temperatures.

You can think about utilizing the following tips for ensuring the protection of the concrete:

  • Heated water to blend cement.
  • Additional cement for making a hotter reaction with quicker hydration. 
  • A shop vacuum to eliminate bleed water promptly.
  • Warm and dry substances maintained in a dry area.
  • Concrete blends that lay fast, accelerations that speed up the time of setting. However, forgo additives incorporating calcium chloride if you are utilizing steel-reinforcements as it can induce rusting and crack the concrete.
  • Hot enclosures that come windproof and weather-resistant to preserve the concrete in harsh weather. Also, if you utilize a combustion heater, you need to vent it outdoors to stave off carbonation.
  • Protected forms and quick covers to give ample insulation in walls, columns, and beams.


What to Avoid While Dealing with Concrete in the Cold

When you have to pour concrete in harsh weather, you must be mindful of a few factors and avoid them explicitly. We have narrowed down a few to make it easier for you.

Allowing Fresh Concrete to Freeze

Concrete necessitates warm conditions (minimum of 10˚C) for curing and reaching its desired strength. It will simply freeze at -4˚C. When it gets excessively cold, it will fail to cure completely; therefore, you have to be careful to keep it warm by using heaters during the curing process. It is critical in cold conditions.

Pouring it on Iced Ground

The fresh concrete closest to the chilled ground cures slower than that on the surface; therefore, the underside will remain soft while the top sets. Furthermore, when the chilled ground will thaw and settle, it will induce cracks in the concrete.

To make sure you do not pour concrete on freezing ground, go with heaters to warm up the ground. You can also put concrete coverings on the ground for some days before you pour.

Wielding Frozen Tools

Cold tools, particularly cold forms, can change the vitality and excellence of concrete. Therefore, be careful in keeping all tools warm and away from the direct cold. Store them in a good and warmer place when you are not using them

Eliminate Formwork Very Early

Do not remove formwork while the concrete is excessively cold and did not reach its desired endurance. Otherwise, it can collapse.

Sealing It below 10˚C

As concrete requires maintenance at the lowest temperature of 10˚C for curing appropriately, you must prevent sealing the concrete if it did not fully cure. If the temperature went below 10˚C, you need some precautions, consult a concrete supplier, and inquire about the adequate method for sealing.

Ignoring the Concrete Temperature

You need to regulate the concrete’s temperature and keep monitoring it in winters to stave off freezing, poor quality results, and slow curing. 

Tips for Pouring in winters to Maintain Quality

  • Plan and deduce the cold weather precaution measurements of the concrete blend.
  • Maintain a history of the concrete and the external temperature.
  • Avoid pouring concrete directly on ice, snow, or an iced ground. 
  • Conserve dry concrete blend and tools inside and keep them warm until the concrete is mixed and is ready to pour.
  • Utilize a concrete mix that has the proper percentage of air-entrained holes to dissuade any destructions from freezing or thawing.
  • Go with accelerating additives for the concrete mix to make it cure quicker.
  • Have a concrete blend with a water reducer and use the least water-to-cement distribution to restrict bleeding and lessen the time for setting.
  • Ask for a heated ready blend concrete from the local suppliers to assist in developing early strength. You can also request a hundred pounds of additional cement for every concrete cubic yard. 
  • Place concrete as quickly as possible once mixing is complete.
  • Have concrete curing coverings or heated compartments for maintaining the temperature above 10˚C for some days
  • Never finish the concrete while the bleed water persists.

How to Maintain the Right Temperature

To conserve concrete in cold temperature, it needs to be kept warm throughout the curing procedure.  Concrete vitality development is crucial during the initial forty-eight hours. However, if it remains below 5˚C, then it will require longer to acquire its necessary strength. The ideal practice is that you maintain concrete conditions above 10˚C for the initial 3-7 days. For a minimum of four additional days after, retain the temperature of concrete above 4˚C. Beware of letting the temperature drop further than 4˚C in twenty-four hours.

Frost coverings or insulated formwork can enable in keeping concrete sufficiently warm and ensure it from the chill. Ensure to enclose the concrete slab with plastic sheets, then covers sheets with insulating coverings.


Concrete pouring in cold conditions does require some extra effort, but it is possible. You simply need to be mindful of some necessary measures to make sure the concrete does not risk freezing and cracking. It is important if you want it to maintain its intended strength. If you require some help while pouring concrete in cold conditions, a good way is to reach out to the local concrete suppliers that carry ready mixed options.

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