Working with ready mix concrete in winter | AMS News

Working with concrete in winter: AMS top tips

A few months ago, we wrote an article with some tips and tricks on working with concrete in the summer and in the heat. With the weather having cooled down a fair bit, we thought it would be appropriate to share a few more tips and tricks, but this time on working with ready mix concrete in the colder weather.

Just like working with concrete in the summer, the colder weather presents a few challenges, so here are a few of our tips for working with concrete in these winter months.

Temperatures

There are 2 temperatures that you need to consider when working with ready mix concrete in winter.

The first temperature you need to consider is the ambient air temperature. The second is the temperature of the concrete itself.

This is because if concrete cools below 0ºC, the water in the ready mix concrete could freeze and expand. This could damage the concrete so much that it could become useless and has to be removed.

It is important that concrete is kept at or above 5ºC for the first 48 hours, this allows it to reach a strength past which it is likely to resist any disruptive expansion.

However, we should point out that even if the concrete is well protected, low temperatures will slow down the development of strength in the concrete.

There are different levels of precautions that you will need to take, depending on the severity of the weather. When working with concrete, we can divide the weather and actions needed into three categories.

1. Ambient temperatures below 5ºC, with no frost

In this situation, when the temperatures are low but don’t drop below freezing, there isn’t any danger of the concrete being permanently damaged. However, it will take longer to develop its strength.

You will need to be careful when removing formwork, as you don’t want to remove it too soon. If you do remove it too quickly there is a risk that corners could be knocked off or that concrete in beams and suspended slabs could be too weak to carry its own weight, causing the whole thing to collapse.

As the rate that concrete gains strength will depend on many factors, including the ambient temperatures, such as the amount of cement in the mix and the type of cement used, we can‘t give you a hard and fast rule as to how long to leave the formwork in place.

2. Slight frost during the night

Concrete should not freeze, and will need to be prevented from freezing as soon as it is placed. Temperatures of concrete shouldn’t drop below 5ºC when it is delivered and used.

There are several ways that you can protect concrete from dropping below 5ºC. You can use frost blankets, and insulated formwork for this. Timber formwork will often provide enough insulation on its own. But, when used for beams, columns and walls you might want to cover exposed surfaces with insulating material, or put up temporary covers and provide heating with space heaters as a precautionary measure.

Before you even think about pouring the concrete, you need to make sure that sub-bases, formwork, reinforcements, and any transportation you are using are free from ice and snow.

3. Severe frost during the day and night

If the temperatures are dropping below freezing regularly then you will need to take additional precautions. It is advisable that you delay any concreting until the ambient temperature is back above 0°.

How AMS can help you

AMS has a state-of-the-art batching plant at Canford Recycling Centre in Dorset that can produce up to 60 cubic metres of a range of ready mix concrete designs per hour.

Our BSI Accredited concrete can be delivered in our 4 drum mixer trucks, which can hold up to 8 cubic metres each. These drums ensure that your concrete is constantly moving while it is being transported to your site so it will stay liquid ready to be poured when it reaches your site.

Or you can pick up your choice of concrete mix in the exact volume you require from our site.

Concrete can be collected Monday to Friday between 7:30am – 4pm.

If you are in need of some ready mix concrete for a project this winter and would like to order some concrete, or have further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts by calling 01202 579579. Alternatively, you can email enquiries@avonmaterialsupplies.co.uk.

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