Published on 5/5/2017
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Can I pour concrete in the Rain?
We hear much these days about pouring concrete on hot, dry windy day. But what about when it's raining?
Rain is part and parcel of life, there’s no getting around it. Sometimes there’s nothing left to do but drop what we’re doing and just wait for it to pass. If you’re in the middle of some construction work – finally getting through the DIY that’s been piling up – the last thing you want to do is delay it. You might be tempted to carry on, but that may not be the wisest choice when it comes to pouring concrete.
Rain can have a dramatic effect on the long term quality of your concrete, so we thought it would be best to look at what consequences pouring concrete in the rain can have.
How rain affects concrete
The main danger of rain is how it affects the strength of the concrete mix. Water is an essential ingredient in concrete, and the careful proportioning of the ingredients of concrete (water, cement and aggregates) is what determines the strength and durability of the mix after it has hardened.
You can see, then, how an influx of water might bring problems into the mix. If you haven’t sufficiently protected your concrete from a potential downpour, heavy rainfall will change the water-cement ratio of the mix. This will make for concrete that is easy to pour, but substantially weaker than normal.
A mix like this will cause trouble later on, as it will be more prone to cracking, which will negate the hard work you’ve put in getting the mix together and pouring it in the first place.
Surface scaling will also be a consequence of rainwater. This is where the surface of the concrete becomes flaky, and this might not be noticeable right away. However, when people start putting weight on the concrete, be it by walking over it or from the wheels of a bike or car, the concrete may break away and crumble.
If you suspect that the rain might rear its head while you plan on pouring your concrete, it’s smart to provide yourself with proper protection so it doesn’t become a factor. Constructing a protective enclosure around the work site using wood and plastic sheeting will allow you to pour your concrete without having to worry about the rain damaging the future stability of the concrete.
If the rain pours
If you’re caught out and the storms come through unexpectedly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your project is totally doomed. It depends on what stage of the curing process the concrete is in.
Always protect your concrete immediately after it has been poured so that water doesn’t work its way into the surface of fresh concrete (around 2-4 hours after mixing).
Rain that falls while the concrete is stiff, but has yet to be finished, should be cleared off the surface of the concrete before continuing. As long as water isn’t worked into the surface, it shouldn’t pose a fatal threat to the concrete.
If the concrete has already stiffened and has been finished, water will help with the hydration process, improving the strength of the concrete. The further along the curing process, the less likely it is that rain will negatively affect the concrete, however, you should still watch out for standing or pooling water.
EKA Concrete provide top quality concrete to domestic and commercial customers in the South and South East of England. With over 20 years of experience, we pride ourselves on offering the best possible service at competitive prices, with concrete perfect for any project. If you need a reliable,professional supplier of concrete for your next project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the friendly team at EKA Concrete today.
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