When you’re dreaming of a bigger patio or a cleaner driveway, you may not realize that the weather has a big effect on how strong your new concrete is after it cures. Concrete doesn’t just dry, it undergoes a complex chemical reaction that makes it so durable and strong when the curing processes slowly and carefully. Find out how pouring concrete when it’s too hard, cold, dry, or wet could affect the end results of your project.
Warm and Damp
Concrete cures best when it’s kept above 40 degrees F and with a relatively high water content for at least 14 days. This means Phoenix homeowners can have their concrete projects done throughout most of the winter without any issues. However, it should be noted that dry days still make it hard to keep moisture in the concrete and on the surface of the slab.
Dry air, temperatures that rise above 80 degrees F, high winds, and direct sunlight all make it hard to keep the moisture levels even in the concrete as it cures. But not to worry. Our concrete specialists here at S.A.K. utilize numerous techniques after pouring concrete to manage humidity for the hardest and strongest possible finished product. Some techniques include
- Soaker hoses and sprayers to routine add extra water to the concrete
- Plastic sheets and tarps that create a greenhouse effect to recycle evaporating water
- Burlap sheets that are soaked regularly to hold water at the surface
- Shade tarps to keep direct sun off of the slab as it cures.
Aside from removing moisture, high ambient temperatures also speed up the chemical reaction in the concrete that gives it such strength. Curing a slab at 88 degrees F can reduce the total strength by 10% when compared to concrete cured at 78 degrees F. Since it gets hot early here in Phoenix, you’re best off scheduling your visits with S.A.K. for pouring concrete as early as possible in the spring. If this time frame does not work for you, however, we still have techniques to make it work at any time of the year.
So, if you’ve been thinking about a new patio or driveway, conntact us at S.A.K. for more information.