Summer sunshine is great for outdoor projects but it can also present its own challenges. Learn how to beat the heat when pouring patio slabs and garden edging in your yard.
Summer is a prime time to tackle home projects inside and outside the house because of its longer days and warmer temperatures. However, those sunny, warm days can also be a double-edged knife: Concrete projects that require pouring the concrete can face some challenges, including planters, garden edges, patios and pathways, slabs, and patios.
Concrete can set quickly on a hot day. You need to work fast to pour and finish the concrete before it sets. Concrete that dries too quickly, which can be a problem in hot weather, is less resilient than concrete that dries slowly. It’s more susceptible to cracking and weaker overall.
Do not be afraid. It doesn’t mean you have to wait for fall to pour concrete. You don’t have to wait until fall to start your concrete projects. There are a few tricks that you can use to make it easier. Whether you’re installing an outdoor kitchen, a patio, or just a couple of steps,.
1. Pour When It’s Coolest
As a general rule, 90 degrees Fahrenheit should be considered the cut-off temperature. Plan to pour another day if it is higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In summer, pour early in the morning. This is the coolest time of day, and the concrete will be cured faster. You can also pour in the evening if it is not possible to pour in the morning. Don’t pour too late so it becomes dark before you finish.
High winds and direct sunlight can speed up the process of evaporation in wet concrete. If you are pouring a slab, a windy day can dry the concrete’s surface. Sunshades, wind blocks, and any other protection you have that can be rigged up to keep the sun and winds off the concrete during pouring are all good options. The protection should remain in place for at least a few hours.
3. All You Need
Before you mix concrete, make sure you have reviewed your project materials list. It’s not easy to pour concrete into forms and then realize you forgot your trowel, shovel, or concrete screed. You’re in control of the pouring process from the moment you start it. There’s no time for you to search for any supplies or tools you might have lost.
You must ensure that you have enough concrete for your project before you begin. This handy calculator from Quikrete will help ensure that you’ve mixed up enough for your project. You risk not being able to fill the entire form with concrete if you use too much. You will need to fill the remainder of the form with concrete later. The concrete you poured initially won’t bond well with the concrete you add. This can lead to a weak point in the concrete.
4. You can always get it all down
To support the slab and prevent it from moving, make sure you have gravel substrate in your forms when pouring slabs. Use a spray hose to coat the gravel until it is saturated. However, don’t let the water pool. Spray the concrete forms with a hose to moisten and cool them. Dry concrete can quickly absorb moisture from the wet concrete and cause it to dry too quickly, eventually weakening it.
5. Recruit Helpers
You will need a lot of strength and support to mix concrete, place it informs, screed it, finish it off, especially if you are doing a large job like a patio, wall, or sidewalk. It can be hard to get concrete into the forms and smoothen it out before it sets. Before you start, ensure that all your helpers know their roles.
6. Use cold water
You can mix concrete either by hand following the Quikrete instructions or using a concrete mixer. Make sure you have cold water and follow the instructions on the bag.
To get the best temperature control, you can use water from your garden hose. Let it run for a few seconds every time you turn it off until it stops freezing. Fill a cooler with some ice, and then add it to your bucket to cool the water.
7. Slow down the Curing Process
The pour should go smoothly if you have followed these tips. Don’t give up! It is important to keep moisture from vaporizing too quickly. The stronger the concrete project will be, the slower it dries.
If you are creating a non-slip surface, smoothen and broom the concrete surface. Then apply a light mist to water and reapply as necessary to keep it damp. You’ll need to wet down concrete at least seven times per day for the next seven days. However, the first few days are the most important.