Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Tips for Successful Hot Weather Concrete Pours

It seems like so far this year, we’ve had three seasons: Winter, then Tornado Season and now Hot Summer. It feels like we skipped Spring entirely.

For the last couple of weeks, temperatures in the Southeast–and across the country–have been unbelievably hot, which puts additional stresses on ready mix concrete pours.

Temperature, wind and humidity all can have a negative effect on concrete work. Planning ahead to deal with the extreme conditions can make the difference between a good pour and one with long term issues.

I asked our Vice President, Clinton Smith, to join me in sharing a few thoughts for making a good concrete pour in bad weather. Whether you are the banker, owner or the chief, here are a few thoughts to consider:

Prep Work

  • Ensure there are enough concrete finishers on the job. A slab that gets ahead of the finishers by setting up too quickly and is an ugly sight.
  • Plan an early morning or evening pour. In particularly hot spots out West, we have started at midnight and use ice water in the mix.
  • Schedule concrete trucks to avoid waiting time. This will keep the concrete from going into set mode too soon.
  • Consider modifying the concrete mix to include chemical set retarders and water reducers if other actions are not enough.

Follow-up

  • Start curing the concrete as soon as finishing is complete. Windbreaks, sunshades or water misting will hold water in longer to continue the hydrating process, which leads to stronger concrete.
  • Saw cut slabs immediately after finishing the concrete to control where cracking might occur. All concrete will crack, it’s just a matter of where.
Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.