Safe Concrete Pouring Is Doable in Warm Temperatures
Summer can be an ideal time to perform home or commercial property upgrades, and for good reason. The warm temperatures and bright sunlight offer an atmosphere that is conducive to outdoor work. But when concrete is part of your home or property improvement project, there are a few considerations to keep in mind—especially when you’re dealing with the hot weather so common in Oklahoma.
Whether you have existing outdoor concrete surfaces to maintain or you desire to pour a new driveway or patio, the summer sun and heat can affect concrete care. To prevent concrete damage due to hot weather, it’s important to ensure concrete pouring is done right the first time. These helpful tips, from the pros at R&M Concrete, will keep you on the right track as you oversee any concrete installations on your property and as you care for your existing concrete surfaces.
How Concrete Is Affected by Hot Weather
You may think of concrete pouring as a simple process, but it actually involves intricate chemical reactions that take place as the concrete is mixed, set into place, and then allowed to harden (a process known as curing). The higher the outdoor temperature is, the faster the chemical reaction tends to take place,
When this process occurs too quickly, the concrete will set, but it won’t be sufficiently strong. It is also likely to cure unevenly, so if your concrete is tinted, you may end up with significant differences in the shade from pour to pour.
Steps a Reliable Concrete Company Takes to Ensure a Good Pour in Summer
Temperature, humidity and wind can all affect a successful concrete pour, which means your contractor must plan ahead and take the right steps to compensate for hot weather conditions. If you’re considering having fresh concrete laid on your property in the summer, discuss the process with your contractor. Ask how they plan to ensure smooth, proper concrete pouring and curing. You can expect to hear them describe a process like this:
1. An Early Start to the Workday
To obtain the best conditions for pouring, your contractor will want to get started as early as possible. Expect them to arrive early in the morning, when temperatures are coolest. By starting first thing in the morning, the concrete company will also have more time to work with the concrete before temperatures soar.
2. Methods to Keep Concrete Cool
Your contractor should have a plan to keep the concrete mixture from overheating. Some of these techniques may include:
- Using ice water to prepare the mixture
- Spraying the subgrade (upon which the concrete will be laid) to cool it down
- Adding evaporation retardants to the concrete—this slows down the setting process so your concrete hardens and strengthens better
Note: One thing you don’t want a concrete company to do is to add extra water to the mixture, which can lead to improper curing.
3. Protection against the Elements
While it isn’t possible to change the weather, there are things a reliable contractor can do to lessen its effects on your concrete. Sunshades and wind breakers can be set up to help manage heat and evaporation levels during concrete pouring and curing.
4. Use of a Sealant
Even after concrete is poured and hardened, damage from excessive hot weather can occur. The heat can still cause set concrete to expand, crack and break. To keep that from occurring, a protective waterproof sealant can be applied to repel moisture and prevent concrete expansion.
How to Care for Existing Concrete During the Summer Months
Existing concrete surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, and patios need proper tending so they don’t crack or fade during hot weather. The good news is, it’s not complicated to correctly maintain concrete. These three action steps will make a huge difference in keeping your concrete surfaces beautiful and lasting:
1. Wash the Surface Once a Year
Keeping your concrete clean can protect it from discoloration and chipping, and keep it looking attractive. Concrete surfaces that are completely hardened and cured can be gently cleaned by sweeping or rinsing with a hose. If you desire to use a power washer, be sure to use the proper tools and techniques so the concrete surface doesn’t get eaten away.
2. Add Fresh Sealant Regularly
Sealant will wear down over the course of time, so a regular schedule of maintenance is a simple, practical way to protect your concrete. A fresh layer of sealant applied every two to three years, depending on weather conditions and how much use the surface gets, will be sufficient.
3. Remove Stains Immediately
As soon as you notice any stains on your concrete—oil, grease, etc.—use a concrete-appropriate stain remover and cleanse the area according to the directions provided. It’s important to do this as soon as you see the stain; otherwise, the stain can be absorbed into the concrete and remain there permanently.
Beautiful, Strong Concrete Home Features You’ll Love
Whether you have existing concrete that needs some attention or you’d like to add new home features such as a lovely, decorated concrete driveway or backyard deck, R&M Concrete has solutions that will make your home stand out with charm and style.