Most people prefer concrete as a construction material because of its durability. However, this is a quality that concrete can only retain when it has been properly poured and when it is allowed to properly cure.
Following normal concrete-pouring procedures in cold weather usually increases the chances of ending up with non-durable concrete. This is so because extremely low temperatures increase the risks of the moisture in the concrete freezing, which then affects the curing process. There is also the fact that, by accelerating the rate at which the concrete loses heat, cold weather slows down the curing process, grinding the hydration process to a standstill. This then keeps the concrete from forming stronger bonds.
The good news is that it is possible to reduce the effect that cold weather has on your concrete by taking advantage of the options that most ready-mix concrete suppliers usually make available. The following are some of the things that you can ask for.
The use of hot water
To avoid ending up with concrete that is too cold to properly cure, you can ask for the supplier to use hot water when preparing your ready-mix concrete. The extra heat provided by the hot water will make up for any heat that is lost during transportation. It will also ensure that, even with heat getting lost after a pour, the concrete will still have enough heat to ensure a perfect curing process.
The use of accelerators
Cold weather slows down the curing process. This increases the risks of extreme heat loss, which then reduces the strength of the bonds formed. It also leaves the concrete vulnerable to cracking since it means that not-yet-cured concrete will have to be exposed to extreme temperatures for a longer period.
An easy way of avoiding this problem is to have the supplier of the ready-mix concrete add accelerators to the concrete. When an accelerator such as calcium chloride is added to the mix, it will speed up the hydration process, allowing the concrete to form strong bonds at a faster rate, which shields it from cold-caused premature cracking.
The only thing that you should keep in mind when using an accelerant such as calcium chloride is that accelerants can corrode some building materials. They may also change the look of your concrete. Therefore, if you are using rebar in your concrete construction, you should consider using nonchloride accelerators.
For more information on ready-mix concrete, contact a company like New Interstate Concrete.