The days might be starting to become shorter and colder, but if you're someone who enjoys working around your house, there's no reason to delay your improvement projects. Even concrete projects such as walkways and driveways can get done if you prepare properly; use these pointers to help you work with concrete when it's very cold.
Use a Thermometer
Frozen soil might not seem like a problem when you're setting out to complete a winter project. However, it's vital that you realize that concrete put on top of frozen soil is likely to develop cracks on the surface as the soil starts to warm and shift. That's why you've got to be sure to wait until the soil thaws before beginning any work. One way to figure out if the soil is too frozen is to take a shovel and attempt to turn over the soil, but a soil thermometer can be a handy tool to check the temperature of the ground at different spots in the work area without creating a mess.
If the soil is frozen, you can use heating blankets and tarps on the ground you plan to cover. This can work to warm up the soil beneath so that concrete can go on top of it and dry properly. You can also set down a sub-base to eliminate problems that shifting soil could cause later. Keep monitoring the soil temperature regularly throughout your project.
Be Smart About Your Choice of Concrete
Your choice of which concrete to work with can affect the success of your winter project. If there is too much water in the concrete, that water can freeze before you've had a chance to pour it. Too much water can also mean that the concrete freezes instead of drying properly, which can affect the look and stability of the completed project. Select a mix that is ready-made or has a low water content.
Protect Your Project During Drying
Once the concrete is on the ground, you need to ensure that it dries evenly by covering it and keeping it warm. Tarps or heating blankets can accomplish this, but be certain to cover them with concrete blocks or wood planks so that the tarps and blankets stay in place instead of blowing away.
Concrete projects can still take place in wintertime if you're able to plan properly and execute those plans in a timely, smart manner. Get more information about how to do this right by talking with concrete suppliers and others who can offer additional guidance.