If you have ever served as part of an outdoor work crew, you understand the impact weather can have on a jobsite. From the need for team members to hydrate in hot conditions, to the importance of bundling up when temperatures drop, Mother Nature can really take a toll. Have you ever stopped to consider how building materials might be affected — specifically in cold weather? Concrete certainly feels the impact. Allow us to explain.
In order to ensure a solid, sturdy product, concrete needs adequate time to cure. This means pouring the concrete, carrying out any necessary smoothing or adjustments and then, quite literally, waiting. Any jostling or stirring can adversely affect the overall strength of the finished piece. And in cold climates, freezes can cause major issues.
As the Portland Cement Association notes, concrete which freezes before it has been given approximately 24 hours to set can experience a 50% reduction in overall strength. That’s a hefty statistic any way you look at it, but especially when you consider the products in which concrete is most commonly used — roadways, protective barriers, bridges and the like. Luckily, as that same article says, there are ways to keep your building material safe for use, even in frigid conditions.
- Construct a windbreak that stands approximately 6 feet high. Not only does it give crew members a welcome respite, but it protects the working environment from sudden temperature drops.
- Erect heated enclosures made of wood, canvas, polyethylene or rigid plastic.
- Incorporate heaters into the work area, taking special care to protect team members from carbon monoxide exposure.
At T&T Construction, our location within the Lone Star State means it’s rare that we find ourselves up freezes. Still, it sometimes happens. We encourage our friends, clients and coworkers to play it safe out there, in any and all weather conditions.