4 cold weather concreting steps

4 cold weather concreting steps


Many people live in areas where the climate may only sometimes be conducive to concrete work. In fact, for those living in the northern hemisphere, the optimal time for such work may be as short as 4-5 months, or even less, depending on the location.

However, there may be situations where the job has to be done regardless of the weather conditions. This article provides detailed guidance to help you succeed with concrete work in cold weather.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand the challenges posed by cold temperatures. Concrete doesn’t set in cold weather as effectively as in warmer temperatures.

It takes longer for the concrete to cure, leading to a weaker end product. Additionally, cold weather can also cause concrete to crack, which can result in expensive repairs.

To avoid these issues, there are several things to keep in mind. Firstly, ensuring the concrete mixture is designed for cold weather conditions is essential.

This may involve additives that help the concrete set more quickly and evenly in cold temperatures. Additionally, it’s necessary to keep the concrete warm during the curing process. This can be achieved using insulated blankets or other materials to cover the concrete and keep it at a consistent temperature.

Another essential factor to consider is timing. It’s best to pour concrete in the late morning or early afternoon when temperatures are typically at their highest. This gives the concrete the best chance of curing effectively.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid pouring concrete during periods of extreme cold, such as during a cold snap or when temperatures are expected to drop significantly overnight.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure your concrete work succeeds, even in cold weather conditions. With the proper preparation and attention to detail, you can avoid the adverse effects of low temperatures and enjoy long-lasting, high-quality concrete.

For hot weather concreting, here is a guide on the link.

Recently poured, fresh, and new concrete slabs lose heat and moisture fast in cold weather conditions. It is important to keep concrete poured and placed in cold weather from freezing early to make sure concrete develops its strength early while curing.

You need to plan carefully when working with concrete in cold weather. To achieve long life from the concrete you are working with, you must follow the correct aggregate production, mix design, proper job site transporting, adequate mixing to the venue, and correct finishing and placing practices with special protective care.

The methods that guarantee correct cold weather concreting are planning, preparing for concrete pour, the actual pouring, and aftercare. I’ll open these up next.

Planning is the key to a better success rate.

Prepare the proper equipment and the workforce to put it into place before pouring. It would help if you had protective weather gear ready to maintain a consistent working environment and to help maintain the correct temperature for the concrete to be finished and placed correctly.

Use low-slump concrete for flatwork in low temperatures. This reduces the time of setting and cuts bleed water because cool air inhibits the evaporation rate and set times of concrete.

Use concrete mixes with admixtures acceleration or Type 3 Hi Early cement that requires a shorter time of protection from freezing.

Use mixes of concrete containing ash if the project is to be protected from becoming frozen for extended periods.

From your company of ready mixing, ask for a heated mix or order one hundred pounds of extra cement in each concrete cubic yard to help develop its early strength.

Before you start, remove ice and snow

Before concrete placement, all the ice and snow needmust be removed from the concrete formations and sub-base.

Ensure that the sub-base’s temperature is not lower than thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit. If it is, you need to heat the sub-base with heating devices such as torches.

When you pour the concrete, keep the temperature proper.

There are many ways to heat, and the correct one depends on the temperature and the provided protection from the weather. Also, one thing to consider is backup if you run out of electricity, gas, or power sources.

Ensure that the concrete minimum temperature is consistent or exceeding fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Do not let the temperature of the concrete become higher than seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit.

Proper insulation from the outside becomes increasingly crucial when it’s freezing, as the heat will escape quickly. In those conditions, the whole thing should be planned out very well.

Precautions in cold weather concreting concern most of the time heating

After the concrete starts curing, you need to keep the heat.

Working with concrete in cold weather can be challenging, and it is essential to take extra precautions to ensure that the concrete is finished correctly, placed, and cured to its full strength capability.

Firstly, it is essential to refrain from beginning the final finishing operations operations while there is bleeding water on the surface of the concrete. This can lead to poor finishing and reduced strength of the concrete.

Therefore, it is recommended to finish the concrete properly without any excess bleed water or extra water worked onto the surface. Refrain from over-finishing the concrete, which can also reduce strength.

If you are working with cooled slabs, keep them manageable as it delays the characteristic setting. Ensure that the concrete for cold weather has cured properly, and avoid letting the hardened concrete become dry.

It is also essential to prevent ice formation on the concrete, as ice formation can halt hydration and seriously impair strength development. If concrete freezes within 24 hours, it can lose up to 50% of its strength after 28 days of curing.

To maintain the temperature of the concrete, keep it above 50 degrees Fahrenheit by using insulated blankets or heat enclosures for 3-7 days after pouring. If you think you won’t be able to maintain a temperature higher than 50 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-7 days, use a compound with high-quality cures. This will help the concrete to cure correctly and reach its optimal strength.

After using insulation blankets or heat enclosures, maintain the temperature of the concrete above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four more days. Do not apply sealers to freshly placed concrete in cool weather, which can reduce strength and poor finishing.

It is also essential to remove the heating protection in a way that does not allow the temperature of the concrete to drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for another 24 hours. This will ensure the concrete continues to cure correctly and reach its full strength.

By following these recommendations, you can successfully finish, place, and cure concrete to its proper strength capability in cold weather conditions. Ensuring that the correct care and planning are done before and after concrete placement is essential.

Even in optimal situations, the concrete may take up to 28 days to completely cure. Therefore, patience is necessary, allowing enough time for the concrete to heal correctly.


Working with concrete in cold weather can be daunting, but it is not impossible to achieve. If the weather is unfavorable, postponing the work is always best. However, sometimes, it is necessary to proceed despite the adverse weather conditions, which requires a can-do attitude and a willingness to adapt.

The challenge in such situations is the difficulty of working in cold weather and the additional costs that come with it. The size of the project and the length and intensity of the heating required will determine the total cost. With the right approach, however, it is possible to work effectively with concrete in cold weather and achieve the desired results.

If you’re interested in reading more about climate conditions and hot places at that time, here is another guide on using ice concrete.