Top 3 Summertime Construction Precausions for Concrete

It’s hot here in North Texas. We had a mild and very wet Spring. We’ve even had a mild summer so far as well. Now it’s getting hot and I’m sure it’s here to stay for a couple of months, but this is Texas. We're known to easily hit 100 degrees as early as May, and it’s just now hitting that mark.

 At Mcfall Masonry & Construction, we just keep working through rain, sleet, snow and extreme heat. If we didn’t, we would only work 8 months a year, and in construction, that is just not enough. We do want to give you, as the consumer, precautions however. There are processes that need to followed when working in the heat, and too often these are overlooked by construction workers in Texas. This can have a damaging effect on the workmanship of concrete, stonework, brickwork, and any repair work that you may have being done on at your home.

When pouring concrete, there are 3 major processes that should be followed:

  1. Are the construction workers adding water to the concrete once it shows up? Here’s the trick to this: Not to much water, the concrete will need to come out of the ready mix truck somewhat wet, flowing smoothly, but not looking like soup. If it’s so wet that it resembles soup, the concrete no longer has the strength that it needs for long lasting results.
  2. Another thing to look for is the ground on which the concrete is placed. Have your crew wet ground. You can wet it down to the point that you see standing water and, trust me, it’ll dry quickly. This prevents the moisture in the concrete from seeping into the ground and drying too fast. It’ll only dry through hot air, and this will cut drying time in half which is crucial in extreme heat.
  3. Finally, when all is complete, do you see your crew spraying a watery substance on the dried concrete? It’ll have a milky look to it and it smells. Not badly, but it does have a distinct odor to it, and it’s called concrete cure. This slows the drying time on the surface, allowing it to cure more properly.

In the past, you would see the crew spraying a brown substance (diesel fuel) which smelled terrible. This was used instead of concrete cure years ago, and had a very similar effect on the concrete. This method has been deemed illegal by the EPA, as the substance is a bit toxic. The other precaution that used to be taken is the spraying a water mist off and on for several hours after the concrete finishing is complete. This method can still be used, but is dangerous, because over-spraying or hitting the concrete too hard can weaken the surface of the concrete and cause concrete's top layer to start flaking a year or two later.

At McFall Masonry and Construction, we take all these precautions to ensure a nice looking finish that will last for decades. Please watch for our next blog about masonry precautions in extreme heat.

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