If you are considering a new concrete project, such as a patio or sidewalk installation, you may be wondering when the best season is to pour concrete. For most homeowners, they believe the summer is best due to the hot temperatures. However, both hot and cold temperatures can affect concrete in a different manner. Learning more about the material and how it is affected by the heat and cold can help you to determine when your project should begin.
Generally speaking, the air temperature outside needs to range from 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit to be able to safely begin a concrete project. Depending on the actual temperature, changes may need to be made during the mixing and laying process to ensure a successful project.
There are several factors to determine if concrete should be poured involving the weather. Along with the air temperature, the humidity levels will need to be reviewed along with the speed of the wind, surface temperature where the concrete will be poured, water and dry concrete to be used. All factors need to be considered to ensure a quality installation.
Wintery Cold Weather
During the winter months, if the air temperature is less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, then it is recommended that you wait or contact a professional for help. When it is so cold out that the ground is frozen, the surface is not ready for concrete installation. Concrete will set slower when the weather is cold and the concrete must be able to set before it is exposed to freezing temperatures.
The water in the concrete will freeze first and take up more space during the liquid phase. Once the water freezes, it will begin to expand and this will cause the concrete to crack. In the winter, professional concrete installers will use hot water during the installation process and keep the dry concrete in a heated area to accelerating the setting of the material to help try and avoid cracking in the future.
During the summer months, if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the top layer of concrete will dry quicker than the bottom later. As the concrete dries, it will shrink. The top will shrink first as the bottom is still wet. This can create breaking on the inside of the slab, which creates an unstable surface.
In the summer, professionals will store the dry mix in a cool place and keep the slab moist as it sets. Spraying the concrete with a hose can help or use a sprinkler with a mist setting.
Overall, the spring or early fall is the best seasons to consider a concrete project. With these seasons, you have moderate temperatures, and you are able to avoid any quick drying or slow setting processes. The concrete can set up in a normal fashion and if installed correctly, you will have a quality concrete section for your home. Consider waiting until these ideal seasons or hiring experts to assist you with your latest concrete project plans.