What to Know About Laying Concrete in the Summer

February 23, 2021

Planning a summer concrete project on your property? It’s important to start researching and planning now, even while we’re still in the late winter.

When pouring concrete in the heat in Racine, WI, there are some challenges you’ll have to overcome, particularly the potential for early loss of water from the concrete. Periods of extreme heat, wind or humidity could result in issues with the concrete cracking or setting too quickly. This means you’ll need to take some special precautions with handling, placing, compacting, finishing and curing the concrete. A failure to do so could put you at risk for some of the following issues:

  • Shrinkage and cracking due to excessive loss of moisture too early in the curing process
  • Crazing or hair cracks due to the water evaporating too quickly from exposed surfaces and poor curing
  • Difficulties with placing and finishing, due to a faster rate of hardening and shorter setting
  • Possible strength loss at around 28 days, due to rapid drying out and higher concrete temperatures

Best practices for installation

So, if you hope to avoid these problems, it’s important you follow the correct processes for a safe, high-quality concrete installation during hot weather. Some of these processes include:

  • Focusing on the subgrade: The subgrade and any reinforcing steel or formwork should all be moist before you set down the concrete. Otherwise, the concrete’s water will evaporate with no moisture to back it up, causing cracking. The base material should be saturated immediately before pouring the concrete.
  • Pour quickly: You’ll need to work quickly but carefully when operating during high heat. This means you’ll need to have a sufficient number of workers on the job site so you can get the concrete down as fast as possible, without sacrificing accuracy. If the concrete stays in the truck too long, it will start to harden inside.
  • Wind breaks: Use wind breaks or sunshades to protect the concrete from the wind and sun so you can avoid early drying out. This will help you prevent some of the cracking caused by premature evaporation.
  • Joints: Make all joints correctly, and keep them spaced properly so you can allow for proper expansion and contraction of the concrete through changing weather conditions.
  • Damp covers: Set down damp covers on top of the fresh concrete as soon as screeding is complete. Once you’re ready for finishing or floating, you can remove small sections of these covers right before beginning those processes, then cover again and keep the covers damp. A curing compound can help you prevent premature evaporation.
  • Curing: Proper curing should begin as soon as possible. You’ll need to work to keep the temperature of the concrete low (the damp covers can help with that). Constant curing for the first three to seven days in hot weather is crucial to help you avoid cracking and to ensure the concrete gains sufficient strength.

For more information about the steps you should follow when pouring concrete in the summer in Racine, WI, contact the team at Langenfeld Masonry & Concrete today.

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