Is It Too Cold to Pave a Concrete Driveway?

October 19, 2020

Can you pave a driveway when it’s cold in Racine, WI? How cold is too cold? Paving driveways and other surfaces is dependent on temperature—when it’s too cold, you run the risk of the concrete not setting properly. For that reason, you not only need to consider the air temperature outside (what you’ll feel when you check your thermometer or your weather app), but the ground temperature as well.

With fall already here and winter rapidly approaching, you should either schedule your pavement appointment now, or wait until the spring. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a poor finished product—one that no responsible pavement contractor would want to offer.

Here’s what you need to know about concrete paving in the cool weather months.

How cold is too cold for concrete?

Concrete needs a specific temperature range not only when it’s poured, but also as it cures. Many people use enclosures, coverings or even insulated blankets to keep concrete safe while it’s curing.

The ideal temperature to pour concrete is 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This gives an even and durable result. When the weather gets too cold, the concrete curing process slows down enough that the finished concrete is much weaker as a result. What’s worse is that if the weather suddenly freezes, the water content in the concrete will freeze, too, leading to cracks. If you want to pave concrete in the fall, it’s best to do it before the temperature dips consistently below 50 degrees. Otherwise, you risk repairs and an unattractive surface, especially when the snow melts.

Additionally, keep in mind that your concrete driveway is going to be exposed to the elements for its entire lifespan, and anything you can do to ensure it’s ready to stand up to the worst of the weather is ultimately going to help it last longer and serve you better. Rather than pave in less-than-ideal conditions and risk damage and weakness early on, wait until it’s warmer and your new driveway will be sturdier.

Watch out for rain in the forecast

Rain is one of the biggest problems you can run into when paving. (Obviously, it’s far too cold to pour concrete in the snow.) If there’s rain in the forecast, you should talk to your pavement contractors about whether that’s going to delay or prevent your paving project. As you know, water is a big factor in how well concrete can set.

The good news, however, is that your pavement contractors will know whether any coming rain is likely to be heavy enough to affect the quality of the project. Sometimes a small drizzle will be light enough to continue the process (especially if the temperature is still above 50 degrees), while other conditions would make it riskier to proceed. Since your pavement contractor wants you to be happy, they generally will not go forward with projects that may lead to poor results.

To find out if it’s too cold to pave your driveway in Racine, WI, call Langenfeld Masonry & Concrete today.

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