While all construction projects require care, certain tasks, such as hot weather concrete work, take a bit of added consideration. Why is that? It all boils down to science and safety.
A high-quality concrete pour takes a variety of factors coming together just so to ensure a finished product that not only looks good, but serves its purpose safely. When even one of those factors falls slightly off kilter — the hydration or temperature level, for instance — it can result in a lower-quality concrete. Of course, healthy pours are possible even in the event of extreme temperatures. All it takes is a bit of advance planning and preparation. Here are a few facts to keep in mind when it comes to tackling hot weather concrete projects.
High Temperatures Can Speed Concrete’s Hydration Process
As understanding-cement.com notes, hydration refers to the bonding and hardening that occurs when concrete’s ingredients react with water. When temperatures climb during hot summer months, it can shorten that period, which isn’t always a good thing. Hydration is an exothermic reaction, meaning it generates heat. When poured concrete is hotter than the air around it, accelerated drying can lead to drying shrinkage, cracking and internal warping — all of which can result in a less durable finished product.
High Temperatures Can Reduce Setting Time
Setting time refers to how long it takes for reactions to take place, and for poured concrete to reach its final consistency. Crews carrying out hot weather concrete work must not only complete their pours more quickly than those in more moderate climates, but must monitor the material after the fact, too. Adequate moisture and airflow are crucial to the concrete setting process. Material that sets too quickly often finds itself at risk of the aforementioned shrinkage, cracking and loss of strength.
High Temperatures Can Be Dangerous for Concrete Crews, too
Of course, concrete isn’t the only necessary job site consideration. It’s important to factor in the people carrying out the work. When temperatures climb, it leaves crews open to a full range of health issues. From mildly annoying heat rash, to life-threatening heat stroke, heat-related illnesses can enter the scene quickly. Make it a point to help crew members prepare for outdoor work, and to understand the warning signs associated with heat-related illness. Such precautions might just save lives.
We hope this overview offers a bit of helpful guidance when it comes to your crew’s hot weather concrete work. It’s important to approach each and every concrete project in a way that ensures the health and safety of all involved — including the concrete itself. For more information on this or any other related issue, reach out to General Chipping’s concrete chipping experts. Our team is always happy to help!