With kids heading back to school combined with managing work and planning for the holidays, the Fall seasons is a busy one for most homeowners. Over the last few weeks, the temperatures here in Kansas City have started to drop and perhaps the weather change took you by surprise. You had planned to start a hardscape project including a decorative concrete patio long before the weather changed, but with your busy schedule, time has gotten away from you. Many homeowners assume late fall and winter is much too late to pour concrete, especially in the Midwest where temperatures drop by early November.
The idea that concrete can’t be poured in cold weather is one of the most common misconceptions we hear from our clients. Today, we would like to clear up that myth. It isn’t too late for Kansas City homeowners to give Hinkle Hardscapes a call before the holidays arrive. Continue reading to learn how we adjust our protocol to allow for concrete pouring during cold weather.
About Concrete Curing
If you want the newly poured concrete in your backyard to harden, it will need to cure. This industry term is also commonly known as hydrating. What happens during the curing process is a chemical reaction between the water and specific components within the concrete mixture which allows for the concrete to bind properly. In order for the curing process to work, the temperatures cannot be below 40° F.
Pouring Concrete When the Temperature Drops
Based on the information provided above, you might assume pouring concrete when temperature drops below 40° isn’t possible, and your project needs to wait until Spring. Actually, at Hinkle Hardscapes we can take precautions so that we can safely pour concrete during colder temps. And what we mean by cold temps is a 3 day period where the average daily temperature is 39° or colder.
First, once the concrete has been poured, we use special additives and curing blankets to the keep the concrete above freezing on cold winter days. A curing blanket contains warm vapors beneath the blanket and on top of the concrete until the hydration process is complete. Second, we can order warm concrete to insure the concrete’s internal temperature stays high enough for a complete cure. Next, we can use a tent system (similar to commercial builders) with propane heaters to keep the entire concrete area above 50 degrees until the concrete is cured. Not only does the propane heater keep it warm, but the tent also blocks any wind which really helps keep the temperatures inside the tents higher. Lastly, we will keep the concrete forms in place for a longer than normal time period to insure proper heat distribution and curing.
Keep in mind that the above procedures are only necessary when we have 3 days in a row with an average daily temperature of 39° or below. A one day dip to 36 degrees doesn’t do anything to the curing process.
If you have planned for a new paver patio or stamped concrete patio in your backyard, but have been putting if off until Spring, now is the time to get started. At Hinkle Hardscapes, we use these cold weather curing techniques to ensure a perfect patio every time.
If you are ready to get started, call (816) 608-8870 or click here to schedule an initial design visit with one of the team members at Hinkle Hardscapes.