Problems with concreting in the cold

Weather plays an important role in our lives. We take safety precautions when the seasons change, for our health and wellbeing. Similarly, for the home, we plan to construct and we need precautions as well. For instance, choosing the best cement for house construction is one. Also, we need to be mindful of the season in which we’re planning to begin the construction.

So, if construction is being planned for winter, then it must be done carefully with special preparations dedicated to the cold season.

During the production of concrete in cold weather, a number of peculiar issues arise which are absent while concreting during other times. Therefore, it is advisable not to start the construction of a home without knowing the problems that can arise in cold weather.

Here is a list of the problems that we could very well face during cold weather concreting:

  1. Early-age Freezing
    When concrete is exposed to freezing temperatures, it may be permanently damaged. If freezing takes place before reaching an initial strength of 500 psi, the ultimate strength of concrete is affected and it can reduce up to 50% of what would be expected for normal temperature concrete.
  2. Delayed setting
    If the temperature falls to 5°C or below, the strength of the concrete is decelerated as compared with the strength development at normal temperature. Thus, the setting period necessary before the removal of formwork will be increased.
  3. Lack of required concrete compressive strength
    Ambient temperature is directly proportional to the rate of hydration. The hydration process takes place at a slower rate when it is cold. When the temperature is below 10°C, the rate is slower and when it is below 4. 4°C, the hydration becomes so slow that it basically stops and the concrete doesn’t achieve sufficient strength.
  4. Plastic shrinkage cracking
    During cold weather conditions, due to the difference between the concrete’s temperature and the air temperature, rapid evaporation of bleed water occurs. This leads to plastic shrinkage cracking which can damage the aesthetics of the concrete member and decrease its durability.
  5. Stresses due to temperature differentials
    When there are large temperature differentials present within the concrete members, it promotes cracking which drastically affects the cement’s overall durability.
  6. Freeze and thaw exposure
    If the concrete is exposed to repeated freezing and thawing after the final set and during the hardening period, without taking the required precautions, the durability of the concrete may be compromised. The deterioration of concrete in such a way results in cracking and surface scaling and will reduce the longevity of the structure. To avoid this problem, take the necessary precautions and use high-performance concrete for the best results.
  7. Improper protection (Thermal cracking)
    Special precautions are needed during harsh weather conditions, but if not taken carefully they affect the characteristic qualities of the concrete. For instance, Heaters can be used to maintain favorable ambient temperature, but if not used properly, the durability of the concrete is affected. Similarly, curing with steam is extremely beneficial, but if the concrete and air temperatures are not monitored carefully, thermal cracking can occur due to the sudden cooling of the concrete surface when the interior is warm.

It is advisable to keep these issues in mind and take ample precautions to minimize the brutal effects of cold weather on concrete. It is essential to use the best quality cement for house construction. Double Bull Cement is one of the best cement brands in India. It provides super strength and durability and is all-weather friendly.

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