In our most recent blog we were responding to some customer comments about our stamped concrete and other decorative concrete projects. Customers were commenting on how we stayed on schedule, and we’re certainly happy they noticed. Trust us, they would have noticed a lot more if we’d fallen behind!
But we’re here to admit something. Sometimes it’s impossible to stay on schedule. There will be those times when something goes wrong, and while we do our best to avoid these problems, we thought we’d better let you know that delays can occur that are almost always out of our hands. Let’s talk about how weather can affect your project.
Heavy winds are one type of weather that can seriously alter the state of concrete. The problem is evaporation, and wind is one of the most common ways that water evaporates. Concrete needs water in order to cure, and if there isn’t enough water then it ends up being not strong enough when all of the water has been chemically bonded to the cement.
Too much wind might cause there to be too little water in the concrete mixture, but you also have to worry about having too much water. Too much water will also cause your concrete to be weak, and that’s something you certainly don’t want in the long run. The effects of weak concrete could take years, or it could happen much more quickly depending on what part of the curing process the concrete was at when it started to rain. If the water just penetrates the topmost layer, you might get surface scaling. This means the top of the concrete can start to flake off and be washed away, exposing lower layers to the elements.
How bad is it to pour concrete in the rain? You shouldn’t even pour concrete when rain is predicted. Even if you expect it to cure within five hours and the rain isn’t predicted until midnight, a fast-moving, unpredictable storm could cause major problems with your new stamped concrete patio. While small pours can be covered with a tarp, reliably covering an entire stamped concrete driveway is simply unreasonable.
As we mentioned in this article, the air temperature plays a big part in how long it takes for concrete to dry, or, more accurately, cure. Pouring it on a 70-degree day is just about perfect, because your project could be ready to walk on before you know it. But pouring it when it’s just 50 degrees is going to double the time it takes to cure, while pouring when it’s too hot could lead to too much evaporation and therefore surface shrinkage. Extreme temperatures don’t always mean that we have to delay the pour, but we’ll certainly have to take extra precautions to preserve the integrity of the concrete.
Concrete can be fickle, and knowing the science behind it can help a contractor like Marrocco’s ensure that your concrete looks good and, just as important, holds up over the years. The day on which concrete is poured is very important to its structural integrity. We don’t have to wait for a perfect day, because there are changes we can make to accommodate. But there’s always the chance that the weather could delay the schedule a bit. Want to know more? Contact us today!