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Pouring Concrete in the Winter

Trucks driving down snow covered highway in cold temperatures

Here at McFall Masonry & Construction, we never get tired of talking about concrete! It is now November, and just the 11th of this month, an early and quite blustering cold front has come through Texas.

The temperatures started at about 38 degrees, and never got much higher, briefly hitting 50 degrees for an hour around 2 pm before dropping again. Even with the cold, we still poured concrete today in these temperatures.


Can you pour concrete if it freezes at night?

We are often asked if concrete can be poured during cold weather conditions, and the answer is yes. We must pour the concrete early enough to allow the concrete to dry. This is actually very important because when concrete freezes eventually the top of the concrete will wear off, flake, or chip. Sometimes we see this with concrete that was only poured a few years prior.

When concrete is poured late in the day, it'll freeze that night unless special precautions are taken. To avoid freezing, we incorporate drying chemicals in the concrete or cover the concrete with blankets.

If the water does not dry in time, the moisture in the concrete freezes and thaws out the next day when it's warm enough. This pattern of curing concrete can weaken the surface, allowing the paper-thin top layer of concrete to eventually loosen and flake away.

How do you pour concrete in cold weather?

cold weather concreting causing cracks in concrete slab

At McFall Masonry & Construction, we are always aware of these situations and pay great attention to weather patterns. In Texas, we must be aware and take the proper precautions in any winter weather changes such as quick temperature drops.

Often when it's very cold, like below freezing all day for example, we simply prepare a project for concrete but wait to pour it until the weather reaches higher-than-freezing temperatures.

I know that some people think concrete is too dangerous to pour during the winter, but concrete is poured in freezing temperatures throughout the country where the temperatures do not rise above freezing for weeks. In construction, we keep working.

Not much has changed in the past 30 years with construction, but one thing has changed.  There are now many different engineering methods that allow us to work all year round, including:

  • Heated enclosures

  • Heating systems

  • Heat blankets or insulating blankets

  • Drying chemicals

  • Thaw frozen ground before pouring fresh concrete

  • and more!

Your Cold Weather Concreting Experts in Texas

As the owner of McFall Masonry & Construction, I have traveled to different areas of the country at different times of the year, and it amazes me to watch the different methods for pouring concrete in all seasons including the winter months.

I have been to Seattle where it seems to rain all the time, yet they are pouring concrete. I have been to Salt Lake City during the winter with two feet of snow on the ground, and even they are able to successfully pour concrete when the temperature drops.

So at McFall Masonry & Construction, we say: “Let's pour your concrete!” Have a great winter.