How to Do Cold Weather Concrete Pouring?

Can you pour concrete in winter? Many countries require construction projects to be carried out throughout the year, even during winter. Therefore, cold weather concrete pouring is the big issue to face with to prevent disruptions to project progress.

Cold Weather Concrete Pouring - AIMIX Concrete Pump

However, several countries in northern regions, such as Russia, Nordic countries, and parts of North America, face significant challenges on “too cold to pour concrete”. If you are a construction contractor involved in projects during colder months, it is important to understand the coldest temperature to pour concrete in winter.

How Cold Can You Pour Concrete? – On What Temperature

The optimal temperature for pouring concrete in freezing weather typically falls between 10 to 30 degrees Celsius. However, construction projects often have to deal with less than ideal weather conditions. When temperatures begin to drop, it becomes crucial to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions.

Critical Temperature Threshold

When the air temperature falls below 4 degrees Celsius, the hydration process, which is responsible for giving concrete its strength, significantly slows down. If temperatures drop below freezing (0 degrees Celsius), the situation becomes even more challenging.

temperature for pouring concrete

The Risk of Freezing

Freezing water expands, and if ice crystals form within freshly poured concrete, it can result in internal damage, cracks, and reduced overall strength. That’s why it is essential to avoid pouring concrete in winter when the air temperature reaches or drops below freezing, and never pour directly onto a frozen or frost-covered surface.

Protecting Your Pour

Newly poured concrete must be shielded from freezing temperatures for at least a day after placement. Allowing ice to form in the concrete can lead to the expansion of water crystals, disrupting the cement’s hydration process and causing a loss of strength.

How to Judge if The Concrete Froze?

You can determine if concrete has frozen by observing whether there is frost or ice formation on the surface. If there are signs of freezing, such as frost or ice on the concrete surface, it is highly likely that the concrete has frozen.

Concrete Froze
Frozen Concrete

How to Do Cold Weather Concrete Pouring?

When pouring concrete in the cold weather, one of the main concerns is preventing the concrete from freezing. If the concrete freezes in the hopper or boom of the concrete pump, it can cause significant issues for the pumping operation. Moreover, once the concrete thaws, it cannot be reused. Therefore, careful planning and preparation are crucial when pouring concrete in cold temperatures. Here are some tips for cold weather concrete pouring:

Check the Forecast

Check the weather on the day of pumping concrete. Aim for an air temperature of at least 3 degrees Celsius and ensure no frost or ice is present on the ground.

Prepare Your Sub Base

Prioritize safeguarding your sub base against freezing. Utilize insulating blankets to deter frost and ground heaters to thaw existing frost for optimal pouring conditions. Erect temporary windbreaks in areas susceptible to cold winds to maintain consistent temperatures for the concrete.

Check The Forecast before Pouring Concrete
Prepare Your Sub Base Before Cold Weather Concrete Pouring

Mix Concrete Using Very Hot Water

Using very hot water to prepare the concrete mixture is one method to prevent concrete from freezing in cold weather. The tip applies even if you are using ready-mix concrete. When the concrete is being transported or pumped to the site, hot water helps to keep the mixture warm, which is crucial for the quality of the concrete.

When the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the concrete must be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher before it can be placed into the forms. While it is possible to heat the water in the mixer up to a maximum of 170 degrees Fahrenheit, it is not recommended to mix concrete at temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Preheating Equipment

One method to prevent the freezing of concrete during pouring cement in winter is to use a concrete pump discharge line preheating device. The equipment heats the pipeline during the concrete conveying process, preventing the concrete from freezing inside the pipeline. The preheating device can utilize fuel, electricity, or steam as a heat source.

When using a preheating device, it is important to monitor the temperature of the pipeline to ensure that the concrete is not overheated or subjected to other forms of damage. The equipment also requires regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure its proper functioning and timely replacement of parts when necessary. The preheating device plays a crucial role in handling frozen concrete, improving the efficiency and quality of concrete construction.

It is essential to protect the boom pipeline and prevent concrete freezing during the concrete pouring process. AIMIX Group offers several methods to protect the boom pipe, such as using foam pipes, implementing appropriate anti-freezing and grading measures before and during pouring.

Wrapping the Pipeline or Boom with Insulation Material

Another low-tech method to combat concrete freezing in winter is to wrap the pipeline or boom with insulation material. This can be achieved by using foam insulation material to envelop the pipeline or boom. It can be implemented in conjunction with other suggestions in this list or independently if the external temperature is low but not approaching the danger of freezing. By securely fastening the tubular insulation material without any gaps, it allows the concrete to retain some of its original heat during transportation and pouring.

Wrapping The Pipeline Or Boom With Insulation Material

Prevent Rapid Drying

To avoid the weakening of concrete due to rapid drying, you can take the following steps:

  • Utilize insulating blankets, windbreaks, and enclosures: Shield the drying area of the concrete by using insulated blankets, windbreaks, or enclosures. These measures help retain heat and prevent freezing.
  • Apply curing compounds: Applying curing compounds aids in moisture retention and ensures the concrete cures at the appropriate pace. Always follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer when using curing compounds. If you have any queries, consult your material supplier for further information.

Cold Weather Concrete Pouring

Tailored Solutions From AIMIX Group

The AIMIX Group team, with our expertise, can suggest the best concrete mix adjustments and offer guidance on heating, protection, and monitoring during cold weather. We are dedicated to helping you achieve strong and durable concrete projects, regardless of the season. While cold weather concrete pouring may have its challenges, understanding the risks and following these strategies can ensure a successful outcome. With careful planning, and proper techniques, you can confidently tackle your concrete projects year-round.

For any inquiries about pouring cement in cold weather, don’t hesitate to contact AIMIX for advice. Our technicians are ready to assist you promptly. Leave your inquiry in the following form right now.

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