Northern climates such as Canadian or climates with temperatures dropping below freezing marks, require more attention when working with concrete. Whether pouring concrete, laying blocks & stones or working with cement in temperatures below 4oC, certain procedures must be followed to ensure concrete cures right.

Curing plays one of the most critical roles in developing the strength and the durability of the concrete structure. The process starts taking place immediately after the concrete is poured and the finishing process is complete. The process of curing requires maintaining the moisture as well as the temperature at the desired level. It is critically important not to let concrete freeze during the curing process.  These favourable conditions must be maintained at the surface and throughout the concrete to provide enhanced durability and strength. Concrete that has been properly cured contains the right amount of moisture to ensure maximum strength and durability. Pouring and curing of concrete thus plays a vital role.

In winter, it is very difficult to properly cure concrete since the low temperatures tamper with the hydration effect. It is very important to take proper heating measures to successfully cure the poured concrete.  This requires expert knowledge about the process, materials and certain guidelines which should be followed to cure the concrete properly during the freezing temperatures of winter.

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winter conrete mixed with hot water and added accelerator for better curing

Materials Needed to properly cure concrete in winter:

The first thing that you must have to be able to properly cure the poured concrete under freezing conditions are the right materials. In winter, special equipment and materials are required such as:

  • Heating equipment; gas, propane, electrical
  • Straw-plastic
  • Insulating sheets
  • Insulating blankets

When used properly these special equipment and materials will help produce constant heat required to maintain the hydration of the concrete and to prevent the moisture in the concrete from freezing.

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winter foundation concrete forming

Tips on curing and pouring of concrete during winter:

To efficiently carry out the curing process during winter, you have to keep in mind the following:

  • It is the utmost importance to maintain a proper ratio of water and cement mixture. The ratio of water and cement must never exceed 2:5 under freezing conditions.
  • While curing the concrete in cold weather it is always wise to wait for all the bleed water to evaporate.
  • If the temperature is expected to drop below 4 degree Celsius then it is always better to use external heating options.
  • Use propane heater along with polyethylene enclosures if the temperature drops too much to maintain enough temperature for hydration to continue.
  • Use a cement with high early strength in the pouring process
  • Use hot water to mix the cement.
  • Add accelerators to the mix to accelerate the usual set time of the concrete.
  • After pouring the mixture of concrete and mortar, cover it with insulated blankets to properly cure the poured concrete.
  • The chloride ions must be controlled by suing silica fume, furnace slag and fly ash.
  • The sudden removal of the blankets prematurely may cause a temperature difference between the outside and inside of the concrete. This difference in temperature can become the cause of cracks in the concrete structure.
  • The temperature of the concrete must be checked from time to time while it is curing with the help of an infrared temperature gun.
  • Use concrete sealants to increase the life expectancy of the structure.

Though curing is difficult in winter, it is not impossible as long as the concrete forming company follows certain standards and the above guidelines to efficiently cure poured concrete during freezing conditions.

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concrete front porch formed and poured by GTALANDSCAPING.COM

GTA Landscaping is a Toronto and Vaughan based landscaping and concrete forming company.  We specialize in modern designs & superior build quality. To contact us please visit www.gtalandscaping.com or call 647 979 9248