The weather has a large impact on the proper curing of concrete. If you have to place your concrete during cold weather, for example, special techniques are required because concrete that has not set will weaken if allowed to freeze. These methods are applicable if you expect the average temperature to be 40 degrees or lower for three days in a row. This article offers some of the best ways to make certain your concrete cures properly.
Remove all snow and ice from the sub-grade where the concrete will be poured. No surface that touches the wet concrete should be below freezing. This might require you to warm the sub-grade prior to the pouring by using heaters or insulation.
One ways to keep the concrete from freezing as it cures is to use heaters. There are several precautions you must take, however, when using heaters. Never leave your heaters unattended, because they are potential fire hazards. Also, avoid having combustion heaters in a unvented space.
Heaters that release gases into an unvented area can cause the curing concrete to develop a fine powder on the surface, a process known as dusting. To avoid this possibility, make certain that any gases from the heaters can be released outside the work area.
Another great way to protect curing concrete in cold weather is too use special insulation materials known as concrete curing blankets. When you place the blankets over the concrete, pay special attention to the corners and edges. These areas are the most vulnerable to the effects of cold weather during the curing process. Place an extra layer or two of blankets at these locations.
Keep the temperature of the concrete at about 50 degrees as it cures for about three to seven days. After that, you should keep the temperature at 40 degrees or more for an additional four days.
Patience is a virtue as the old saying goes and it definitely comes in handy when curing concrete in cold weather. For instance, concrete curing in 50 degree weather takes about twice as long to set than concrete curing at 73 degrees.
Placing concrete when the temperatures start to fall is not a simple task, but it's doable as long as you follow the recommended techniques, such as the use of curing blankets and heaters. So keep these key tips in mind when performing this tricky task.
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