Curing concrete in hot weather can be a challenge. This is due to the fact that high temperatures, humidity levels and wind speed can all prevent the concrete from curing properly, resulting in a weaker structure. The main problem caused by hot weather is that the concrete dries too quickly. If the correct balance of moisture levels is not maintained throughout the curing process, this can jeopardise the strength of the concrete and lead to cracking.
So, the big question is, how can you cure concrete in hot temperatures to the standard required? Preparation and planning are key, and these are the key steps you can take:
Increase The Size Of Your Workforce
When curing concrete in the heat, it’s essential that you have a big enough team to finish the work quickly. It’s crucial that you’ve employed enough people to handle the amount of material ordered to ensure the process isn’t delayed and the integrity of the concrete weakened. Remember that your team is likely to get more tired when working in hot temperatures, which is why it’s even more important to have extra hands on deck.
Avoid Pouring During The Hottest Part Of The Day
Whatever curing of concrete methods you choose to use for your project, when working in the heat, it’s important to avoid pouring during the hottest part of the day. Depending on the climate you’re working in, this is usually between midday- mid-afternoon. Check the weather forecast to ensure you’ve chosen the optimum time to pour. This is crucial for reducing the effect of the heat on the concrete as far as possible, whilst also making working conditions more favourable for your team.
Install Shade Structures
If possible, it’s really beneficial to install shade structures when curing concrete in order to provide protection from direct sunlight for optimal curing conditions. Tarp or aluminium are both a good choice of material for building shade structures as they are both resistant to UV radiation. When installing a shade structure make sure to consider the size of the concrete slab, the direction of the wind and sunlight, as well as the amount of space you have for assembling the shade.
Use A Suitable Curing Compound
A curing compound is an essential ingredient for curing concrete in hot weather. This is a liquid that is applied to the surface of concrete in order to limit the amount of moisture that is lost due to high temperatures and humidity. This is essential for preventing the concrete from drying out too quickly and cracking.
Make Use Of Additives
Certain additives can be used to help control the setting time of concrete in hot weather. These additives are known as “retarders” which slow down the speed of the curing process, or “accelerators” which speed up the process. Using additives carefully can be useful for making the concrete more workable in hot temperatures, ensuring that the best end finish is achieved.
Use Hessian Covers
One of the most traditional curing of concrete methods in hot climates is covering the freshly laid concrete with a hessian or polythene cover. This helps to prevent the surface from drying out too quickly. However, steps must be taken to ensure that this in turn does not cause further drying out. That’s why it’s important that the cover is sprayed with water to maintain the correct moisture levels.
Choose The Right Concrete Mix
When choosing the right concrete mix for your hot weather project, it’s important to choose a mix with a high air content and low water-cement ratio. The air content will help to minimise the risk of cracking by absorbing heat to cushion the concrete, whilst a lower water-cement ratio will further help to reduce the risk of cracking. It’s also important to consider the aggregates included in the mix as different aggregates have their own individual levels of heat tolerance.
At Al Manaratain, our two fully computerised batching plants enable us to produce our ready-mix concrete to meet our customer’s individual requirements. With more than 60 years experience in the construction industry, we have a reputation for quality, innovation and reliability that feeds into all of our products. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today in order to discuss your requirements.