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Winter concrete construction is definitely possible, but less than ideal in cold weather. We require extra precautions when pouring concrete in the winter months during the curing process. Brosco often focused on indoor projects.

Challenges of Winter Concrete Construction

Concrete curing is an important step when concrete goes from a liquid to a solid. When the ground or air temperature is colder, the chemical reaction that occurs during curing takes longer. The water inside the concrete mixture can freeze and cause permanent damage and reduce the compressive strength.

You should not pour concrete when the ground is frozen. When it thaws, the concrete can absorb excess moisture and the ground can shift resulting in higher risks of cracking other challenges.

Necessary Precautions for Winter Concrete Construction

If a job can’t wait for warmer temperatures, here are some things you can do to improve results:

  • Warm the ground a few days in advance
  • Increase the amount of cement in the concrete mixture
  • Add hot water instead of cold
  • Heat other components of the mixture
  • Include additional chemicals to accelerate curing or reduce bleed water

The most important precautions are during the curing stage because that’s when the damage can happen. The normal 24 hour to 48 hour Setting time increases as the temperature decreases. 

You must protect the concrete as it cures. Covering the new slab can help insulate it and maintain the concrete temperature. This helps prevent the top layer of concrete from freezing or losing strength.

black plastic blanket covering winter concrete construction

Winter concrete construction takes more time and effort and therefore often means higher prices. So what does the construction industry do instead?

Alternatives to Winter Concrete Construction in Cold Weather

worker levelling concrete with poly level system outside in cold weather

Concrete Levelling

Because poly-level concrete levelling is so quick, and Ontario winters vary in temperature, we can definitely fit in concrete levelling jobs during the days when temperatures are above freezing.

Interior of spacious kitchen with concrete wall

Indoor Concrete Jobs

Beyond concrete foundations and slabs for basements, garages, patios, and pools, concrete is becoming more popular for decorative interiors like finished flooring, countertops, and feature walls. These are definitely possible in the heated indoors over winter.

man typing on laptop learning online

Education

When winter concrete construction slows, it is a perfect time to expand our knowledge and increase our skills by learning new best practices and improving existing techniques.

Carpenter working with equipment on wooden table

Other Construction Jobs

We definitely want to keep our teams busy throughout the winter. They are skilled in many trades, so very capable of carpentry and other tasks. Have a project in mind? Call us to see if we can help.

two people looking at drawings planning construction work

Scheduling and Quoting

If you have a concrete project in mind, the winter months are the perfect time to plan and dream. Call us this winter so we can start discussing ideas and ensure you fit into our schedule when things pick up again.

While pouring concrete in cold temperatures may cause permanent damage and reduce its strength, it’s not impossible.  We can discuss the risks, and the time and additional cost required for necessary precautions if you can’t wait until winter ends. But we also offer other services over the winter too.

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