• Give Kryton a call
  • Toll Free +1.800.267.8280

Like the warm weather that has come and gone, cold weather brings a set of challenges to the concrete industry that must be accounted for to ensure a strong, durable structure. The speed at which concrete sets and hardens is greatly affected by the temperature of the concrete. Concrete at low temperatures delays the setting of the concrete, which means the strength is also delayed.

Cold weather concretingFurthermore, if concrete is allowed to freeze before reaching adequate strength, it will significantly and permanently be damaged, which will certainly have disastrous effects on the final product.

As defined by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) cold weather concreting occurs when the average daily temperature falls below 40 F (4C) for more than three consecutive days. If proper precautions and planning are not executed during this time, problems will arise, such as slowing the rate of cement hydration. Delayed cement hydration results in slower setting and rate of strength gain for concrete. Also, when plastic concrete freezes, potential strength is decreased by more than 50%, which then adversely affects its durability.

Thankfully, proper precautions and planning can avoid these issues. Here are a few simple guidelines for concreting in cold weather:

  • Heat the substrate or forms (never pour over a frozen substrate or into a frozen form);
  • Place concrete at the lowest practical slump and protect from freezing or drying;
  • Place and maintain concrete at the recommended temperature;
  • Reduce the amount of water and consider a non-chloride accelerator;
  • Capture hydration heat  with insulating blankets, batt insulation, canvas or polyethylene tarapaulins; and
  • Limit rapid temperature changes where removing protective barriers.

Picture2Freeze-thaw cycles are of a particular concern for concreting in cold weather as the final compressive strength of the product can be considerably weakened.  Tweaking your concrete mix to compensate for these measures, like using air-entrained concrete or considering a non-chloride, and taking the proper precautions for the harshness of the environment could save the viability your concrete project.

It comes down to simply being aware of cold conditions and planning adequately in order to deal with them. For a more detailed depiction of concreting in cold weather, consult the American Concrete Institute’s ACI 306R-10for complete recommendations, or the NRMCA’s CIP 27– Cold Weather Concreting for an overview.

Related News

  • Concrete Best Practices

    Cold Weather Concreting (Came Early this Year)

    Written by: Kevin Yuers

    It is officially winter and it came early this year. For me, winter officially starts when I receive that first...

    Read More
  • Concrete Waterproofing

    Can anything really be waterproof?

    Written by: Kevin Yuers

    Traditionally, waterproofing of concrete structures has been accomplished using a membrane of some sort. The membrane can be anything from...

    Read More
  • Concrete Waterproofing

    What does waterproof mean?

    Written by: Kevin Yuers

    What does it mean to be “waterproof”? Can anything really be truly waterproof? I’m not speaking philosophically. The question is...

    Read More
  • Concrete Waterproofing

    Why waterproofing with surface membranes is obsolete thinking

    Written by: Kevin Yuers

    A local issue making headlines in Vancouver is the destruction of the gardens above Robson Square in the heart of...

    Read More