Pouring Concrete in the Winter

Here at McFall Masonry & Construction, we never quite tire 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 2pm before dropping again.

Even with the cold, we still poured concrete today in these temperatures. We are often asked if concrete can be poured when it’s cold, and the answer is yes. We must pour the concrete early enough to allow the concrete to dry. This is actually very important. If concrete is poured at a time when it’s very cold, it can freeze later that same night. We’ve all seen the top of concrete that has worn off, flaked, or chipped. 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. 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 the concrete can weaken the surface, allowing the paper-thin top layer of concrete to eventually loosen and flake away.

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 precautions in all weather patterns. 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.

As the owner of McFall Masonry & Construction, I have travelled 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. 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 pouring concrete.

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

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