If you're working on a project where you need to lay concrete, say if you're putting in a new driveway or slabs in your garden, then you need to factor in weather conditions. While it makes sense to do these jobs in the summer when the weather is good, hot weather can be a problem here.
How does hot weather affect new concrete, and how can you avoid heat-related problems?
How Does Summer Heat Affect Concrete?
While mild summer days may not have much of an impact on newly laid concrete, very hot weather can have negative effects. For example, if you lay concrete on a blisteringly hot day, then it will set more quickly than usual.
This may seem like a good thing, but it isn't. If concrete sets too fast, you can't work with it for long. You may not have time to flatten or shape the concrete before it starts to go hard.
If concrete sets too fast, then it also may not be as strong as it should be. After a while, the concrete may show structural and cosmetic defects. For example, it might crack, flake and develop uneven colour patches. It may simply not be up to the job.
How Can You Avoid Concrete Heat Problems?
The fact that very hot weather can affect concrete doesn't mean that you can't lay it on hot days. You simply have to take certain steps to compensate for potentially negative heat effects. So, for example, you'll get better results if you lay the concrete during the coolest parts of the day. Go for early mornings or evenings rather than in the middle of the day when the sun is at its height.
Adding shade to the mix also helps. If you can shade the concrete, the surface it will go on and any equipment you'll use, then you reduce the amount of heat that the concrete takes in. You can also use water and special alcohol products on the surface before you concrete it to cool it down. This holds moisture in and slows down the setting process.
Finally, you can adapt the concrete mix you use to make it more heat-resistant. For example, a retarder in the mix will slow down the speed at which the concrete can set.
If you're worried about getting the right mix on the ground effectively in hot weather, then it's better to call in the professionals. A concreting services contractor will know exactly what to do to avoid problems in this kind of weather.