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6 Things to Know Before Pouring Concrete in the Winter

Winter Concrete

Pouring concrete in cold weather is something we do a lot in New York. The months of November all the way to March usually have many days with temperatures that are cold as sh*t, which isn’t great for concrete workers, but definitely workable.

Since Biordi Concrete is a business that runs on pouring concrete, we cannot let the cold weather to stop us.

Below are a few things to consider before pouring concrete in the winter:


Get in contact with a ready mix company that you use at least 2-3 days in advance if possible (depending on the size of the pour). Ready mix companies are more flexible during the winter months being that if Mother Nature doesn’t want you to pour that day, than you aren’t pouring that day and you must wait a day or two when the weather is cooperating.


The rule of thumb that we use is that we pour concrete when the temp is 32° and rising.  If the concrete has hot water mixed with it (120 degrees F) the concrete temperature should be around 65 – 70 F when you dump it on the ground. Then the heat from hydration will be enough to get it to set up.


 ALWAYS check the sub-base for frost before you pour. If the ground has any frost on it, do not pour. The sub-base has to be completely thawed at least 4” to 6” down before you pour concrete on it. If you don’t remove the frozen sub-base, concrete will crack when the ground un-thaws. Obviously you are replace the frost subbase with blend/gravel that is not frozen.


       Using the right concrete mix is ESSENTIAL during a winter pour. We usually pour 4000psi with hot water and an accelerator in the concrete. An accelerator can help offset the effects of low temperatures by increasing the rate of cement hydration. This aids in the concrete setting time and the development of early strength in the concrete.


You may have to wait longer than you usually do in warmer weather before you get on it to start troweling. Let the concrete dry, don’t touch it for a little – the more you play with the concrete the longer it will take to dry.


After the concrete is finished, the next step is to protect it from freezing. What we’ve found works best is covering the concrete with burlap (so the concrete doesn’t get scratched) then insulating concrete blankets on top of the burlap. This keeps the concrete nice and warm for days. In order to keep the wind from blowing the blankets, we place 2×4’s all around to keep blankets from flying away.  We usually keep the blankets on (depending on the cold) for 24-48 hours.

3 of the Best Boots for Concrete Construction

If you’re in the construction business then you probably know a thing or two about concrete. Concrete is a tough business to been in, both mentally and physically. With that being said, to be in the concrete business you must have the right boots because you are literally on your feet all day. Below I will show you three of the best boots for concrete work. Two of the three boots below are leather boots for when you are NOT working inside the concrete, and the last one will be the best rubber boot for when you are working in the concrete.

Construction Leather Boots

Caterpillar Steel Toe Work Boot


        These boots are for heavy construction. They are comfortable and great for your feet as well as your back. I am constantly walking on rubble concrete, brick, metal, mud, dirt, really anything you can think of. I am always needing to use the steel toe to kick something. Cutting with a demo saw, cutting with oxy acetylene, stick welding, concrete work and a lot more abuse. These bad boys have done me well.

Features of the Caterpillar Steel Toe Work Boot

  • 100% Leather
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Steel-toe work boot in rugged leather featuring plush collar and tongue with logos
  • Hex-shape grommets with speed lacing at shaft
  • Oil-resistant traction outsole
  • Nubuck leather or pull up leather nylon mesh lining provides added breathability and comfort
  • Steel shank for added support and stability
  • Removable PU Sock Liner provides all-day comfort
  • Price Point: $80-$100

Wolverine Waterproof Insulated Work Boot (Non Steel Toe)


These boots are amazing. It is perfect for lighter construction work. I wore these nearly daily over the winter and they held up VERY well. The outside of the boot shows almost no signs of wear apart from some natural creases. The interior of the boot has held up extremely well too. I am very happy with these boots, especially at this price. The fit is comfortable and they look like a standard work boot.

Features of the Caterpillar Steel Toe Work Boot

  • Leather
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Removable full cushion insole
  • Moisture managing mesh linings
  • Wolverine permanent direct attached constructed outsole
  • Nylon shank
  • Price Point $69-$100

Concrete Rubber Boots

Servus Comfort Technology Soft/Steel Toe Rubber Boot


These rubber boots are very well made.  I spend 12-hour days in these doing concrete work. These boots are very tough and the steel toe is well made if you like to work with a steel tow. They will hold up well if you properly clean after a pour.

Features of Servus Rubber Boot

  • 100 percent waterproof rubber uppers and outsole
  • CT (Comfort Technology) offers a unique scalloped shaft to accommodate flexing
  • Contour heel cup molding reduces heel slippage
  • Removable FOOT FORM contour cushion insoles provide comfort
  • Unique trac 10 outsole enhances slip resistance and stability
  • Chemical-Resistant
  • All-Day Comfort
  • Price Point : $12-$20

One thing is for certain, when you’re placing concrete, you’re going to want to be wearing the best possible boots during the pour, along with the other regular safety gear. Obviously I know that everyone has their own preference on work boots for concrete work – these are just some of mine.

With that being said, Concrete poisoning is not something to fool around with. If not treated properly it can lead to other major health issues and possibly an amputation due to complication from the burns. And there’s always the possibility of it getting into your blood stream.

Regular rain boots won’t cut it. You really should invest in a pair that will last and not break down from the chemicals of wet concrete.

Look at it this way – if you pay more for a good boot, chances are that it will last a lot longer. Just be sure to properly wash it off after every concrete pour. This will put extra money in your pocket because you won’t have to take time off work due to concrete burns on your feet. And isn’t more money in the pocket what we all want in the long run.

My Favorite Concrete Saws

As a concrete restoration company, we use demo saws to cut the concrete deep enough (about 4” – 6”) to remove and replace bad concrete flags/slabs.

We also use the early entry concrete saws to saw cut joints into our pours. These saw cut lines give the concrete a place to crack when the concrete shrinks during the curing process.

There’s a lot of different types of concrete saws out there. The two saws that Biordi Conrete uses the most are demo saws (Cut Off Saw) and early entry concrete saws.

Early Entry Concrete Saw

Husqvarna Soff-Cut 150

Features of Husqvarna Soff-Cut 150 :

  • Can saw contraction joints the SAME day as pouring the concrete
  • The lightest gas saw in the Soff-Cut range
  • low noise blade enclosure which allows the unit to be used in residential areas.
  • low-dust blade block system allows the saw to cut dry, and it controls the debris
  • Gas powered
  • Output power: 4.3 hp
  • Blade Diameter, max: 6”
  • Weight: 87lbs
  • Approx Price: $3K
  • My Favorite Concrete Saws

Demo Saw ( Cut Off Saw)


This saw takes a 14″ blade. We use it mostly for sawing out spalled & damaged concrete areas before we repair them. 

We also use it for cutting rebar when we tie a mat of rebar in a concrete slab.

Features of TS Stihl 410:

  • Long-life filter system with cyclone pre-separation
  • Extremely low vibration levels (3.9m/s²)
  • STIHL 2-MIX engine with stratified charge system
  • Manual fuel pump
  • Decompression valve
  • Ergonomic grip position
  • Weight: 20lbs

Methods of Curing a Concrete Slab

1. Water Curing Method
The Water curing method is most general methods of curing as it satisfies all the requirements of curing. These methods maintain the presence of moisture in the concrete during the early hardening period. One of the most common water curing method that is used in the business is the spraying method. Curing by spraying of water is one of the conventional methods of curing concrete in the construction industry. It can be an efficient method for curing by supplying additional moisture during hot weather. By using nozzles or sprayers, water is sprayed on the concrete members, which are to be cured.

2. Membrane Curing of Concrete
Another method of concrete curing is the membrane curing method. Sometimes you pour concrete at a remote place where there might be an acute shortage of water. The large amount of water required for water curing method is not possible for economy reasons too. One type of membrane curing is called the A)wet covering method. In this method water absorbent fabrics are used to maintain moisture on the concrete surface by completely covering the surface immediately after the concrete has hardened sufficiently. They must be continuously kept wet to prevent the fabric from absorbing water from the body of concrete, due to capillary action. Generally jute bags, cotton mats, hussian cloth, etc. are used as a covering.

B)Another type of membrane curing method that can be used is plastic sheeting. The plastic sheet covers the concrete so that it seals the evaporation of water from concrete. A plastic sheet made from polyethylene film is an effective moisture retarder, lightweight and can be used on horizontal and vertical surfaces as well as on the surface of different shapes and sizes.

3. Concrete Curing Compounds
The last type of concrete curing method on the list is the concrete curing compounds. This type of compound form a thin liquid membrane on the concrete surfaces and result in prevention to a certain extent of evaporation losses. Generally, they are available in two types, clear or translucent and white pigmented. The clear or translucent concrete curing compound may contain a fugitive dye to assure complete coverage of the concrete surface by visual inspection. This dye fades as the application is few hours old.

Bleeding in Concrete – Does it Affect Concrete Integrity?

Bleeding in concrete, as seen from the photo above, is a physical migration of water on the surface of concrete after compaction of concrete and before the concrete set. Bleeding water carries more amount of cement particles which makes a layer of water on the concrete surface.

Bleeding in concrete affects concrete’s properties. Bleeding can be decreased by increasing the fineness of cement because finer particles hydrate earlier and their rate of sedimentation is lower.

Increasing fineness of cement for an ordinary user is not within your control. You may think of it while buying next lot of cement. However, from practical prospective, we advise to control other’s factor such as higher water-cement ratio, over vibration, etc…
The properties of cement are not the only sole factor influencing the bleeding of concrete. The presence of fine aggregates and higher water-cement ratio also lead to bleeding.

Bleeding in Concrete: Disadvantages
• Concrete becomes porous. This is one the reasons for leakages in buildings.
• It loses the homogeneity of concrete.
• It decreases strength and wear resistance of concrete.
• It makes the poor bond between two layers of concrete as well as the bond between concrete and reinforcement.
• In the construction of concrete pavement, if water accumulates on the surface of pavement slab, the bleeding water flows over the unsupported side which causes collapsing of sides!
• Bleeding water on concrete surface delay the surface finishing for the concrete finishers and the overall application of curing.
• If concrete is poured by a pump truck, Bleeding water reduces the pumping ability of concrete.

Dear Customers: Concrete and Cement are NOT the same !

Concrete is a mixture of 60 – 65% aggregates like sand, gravel, and crushed stone, 15 – 20% water, and only 10 – 15% cement. When mixed, the cement and water harden, binding the aggregates into the solid mass we call concrete. So, there is no such thing as a cement sidewalk!

Here’s one of the main reasons cement and concrete are so often confused: There is cement in concrete. When cement is blended with water, it creates a paste. And when that paste is combined with aggregates like gravel and sand, the result is what we know and love as concrete. Cement itself is made from calcium and silica-rich materials, such as limestone and clay. Its unique adhesive properties make it an excellent binding agent, but on its own, cement is prone to cracking. Compared with concrete, which can last hundreds of years, cement is much less durable. To use an analogy, cement is to concrete as milk is to ice cream. Sure, ice cream has milk in it, but it isn’t milk. It’s actually much better.


Wearable exoskeleton devices can reduce some of the mechanical stress of manual labor. These wearable machines can be powered by electricity or by human motion, and they can be as large as a space suit or as small as a glove (approx. $6,000 and weighs about nine pounds.). They are used to amplify or transform worker movements, improve biomechanics and efficiency, and are increasingly prevalent in the public and private sectors. As these devices are deployed more widely in the workplace, sound research is required to assess potential dangers and benefits of this new technology.
Construction is a physically demanding, labor-intensive industry with heavy manual material handling and awkward work postures. Musculoskeletal disorders are a leading cause of injury among construction workers, with overexertion in lifting causing over one-third of these injuries. The rate of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in construction is 16% higher than in all industries combined. Since back injuries are the most prevalent work-related musculoskeletal disorders in construction, and shoulder and other joint injuries are also major causes of injury, exoskeletons present an attractive possibility.
In a study of forward bend lifting using an exoskeleton designed to decrease load to the spine and improve posture, researchers found that exoskeletons decrease total work, fatigue and load while improving posture. This is supported by additional studies. In addition to decreasing load on the spine, exoskeletons have been shown to decrease shoulder discomfort while increasing productivity and work quality among painters and welders.
There are relatively few studies concerning use of exoskeletons in construction to reduce risk factors of load handling. Some field trials have been conducted in Europe. Preliminary results of a recent study in France suggest that a device designed to provide overhead load assistance to the user had the adverse effect of creating additional effort to counteract resistance when the arms moved beyond the intended range. Another French study found that exoskeleton users were able to operate an overhead tool using less force and that users reported “certain types of pain disappeared.” However, this seemed to be a highly specialized task, involving skilled and technical application of plaster, and it is not clear how broadly the preliminary study can be interpreted. Both reports highlighted the importance of considering how the exoskeleton is adapted to the specific work task and the acquired skills of the user.
Much of the research and progress in the U.S. that is relevant to exoskeleton usage in industry and rehabilitation has been supported by the U.S. Department of Defense. The U.S. military, collaborating with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, evaluated exoskeleton use in naval shipyard industrial settings. Naval shipyard workers lift heavy hand-held tools and supplies, work in awkward postures, and work at various heights as in construction. A study of the industrial human augmentation system (iHAS), an integrated system composed of two different exoskeletons found that use of the iHAS was associated with an approximately ten percent increase in productivity, a reduction in vibration of the hands, and improved quality of work.
Exoskeletons have the potential to enhance worker productivity, provide assistance to aging workers, and decrease the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has examined the need for standards and test methods related to the use of exoskeletons. In Europe, a 2015 European Union (EU) research and development project set out to develop “standards for the safety of exoskeletons used by industrial workers performing manual handling activities.” The effort involved creating an exoskeleton hazard database to describe potential hazards throughout the exoskeleton’s lifecycle; identifying strategies to mitigate and reduce risks; and creating systems to test exoskeleton design concepts for their ability to perform tasks safely. The intent of this effort is to develop policies and standards for exoskeleton use in industry. Currently, there is insufficient data to determine complete safety profiles or health effects for long-term use of exoskeletons. Future research, is needed to develop appropriate standards before construction workers are exposed to the potential hazards associated with their use.

NYC: DOT Sidewalk Violation Guide for Homeowners (EXPLAINED)

What is a sidewalk violation?

A sidewalk violation is an official notice issued by DOT stating that your sidewalk is defective. There is no fine associated with a violation. A copy of the notice is filed with the County Clerk and remains on file until the Clerk receives official notification from the City that satisfactory repairs have been made. A violation can complicate selling or refinancing your property.
The City issues sidewalk violations in order to encourage property owners to repair their sidewalks to enhance public safety. Property owners are encouraged to perform repairs to their sidewalks before a condition becomes a defect which would give rise to a violation. Upon failure of a property owner to remedy the sidewalk defect cited in a violation issued by DOT after an inspection, DOT may perform the work or hire a contractor to perform the work and the Department of Finance will bill the property owner pursuant to Section 19-152 of the New York Administrative Code.
If you do not perform repairs within 45 days, DOT may perform the work or hire a contractor to perform the work and the Department of Finance will bill the property owner.

Examples of Sidewalk Violations

Collapsed Sidewalk

Trip Hazard

Hardware Trip Hazard

Tree Roots

Improper Slope


How do I correct a sidewalk violation?

Hire an Experienced Contractor (Biordi Concrete)
Biordi Concrete is a is the premier service provider for a variety of important services, including New York City sidewalk repairs. Anyone who is familiar with the NYC area knows how important our sidewalks are here. They are just as important as our roadways, if not more so.
Addressing the need for sidewalk repairs in New York City must be handled in a prompt and professional manner, and in strict accordance with industry codes and guidelines.
Much of the work that we do is the direct results of a notice of violation from the Department of Transportation (DOT.) If you have received a notice of violation, you must perform repairs within 45 days. if not, DOT may perform the work or hire a contractor to perform the work and the Department of Finance (DOF) will bill the property owner.

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College Point, NY 11356

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What are the risks of having open sidewalk violations on a building?

The DOT has stated that if repairs are not made within the required timeframe (45 days), they may perform repair work themselves or bid the work to an approved contractor.
The cost of the work will then be added to the lot’s property taxes, and become a lien if unpaid. Failing to satisfy these violations may also result in difficulty during a property transaction or refinance. An owner may also be held liable if anyone injures themselves on the unrepaired sidewalk.

Contesting a Violation

Incorrect Owner
Violations may occasionally be issued to an incorrect property. Match the preliminary inspection report with your property. Check the width and other dimensions of the property. Check the locations trees, signs, utility caps, cellar doors or other features. If it still appears that it is not your property, visit 311 Online and request a Sidewalk Violation Search.

Requesting a Re-Inspection

If you look at your property and don’t find the marked defects, you may request a re-inspection within 45 days of receiving your Notice of Violation. For a re-inspection, visit 311 Online and request a Sidewalk Violation Re-inspection.
A re-inspection is a second inspection of the sidewalk by a different inspector who does not have access to the report made by the first inspector. You will be notified by mail at least five days before the re-inspection date. Inspectors will not come to your door as they are prohibited from seeking out property owners when conducting re-inspections. This is your final inspection. The results of the re-inspection will be mailed to you.

Paying The Price For The Love of Concrete

Here’s a warning to all the mothers/wives out there; concrete is an addictive, obsessive, all-consuming trade and once we start in it, we can’t escape it. Concrete occupies our minds at night, robbing us of sleep. It distracts us and consumes our thoughts while our spouses are talking to us, we will never avoid critiquing concrete work which we observe everywhere in our off hours, and it takes a toll on our bodies as we quietly carry our aches and pains to the grave. Did we order enough concrete? Will the concrete truck be on time? I really hope the concrete truck doesn’t bring a 8” slump… are all thoughts that are constantly going through our minds. Once concrete is coursing through our veins, we are willing to sacrifice a normal life for our trade.
Working in concrete, we take our lives in our hands daily; we can’t afford to ignore the dangers that surround us. Whether it’s a loose chute swinging by our head missing us by inches, having the winter concrete touch your skin leaving a bad rash, climbing scaffolding to work on a tall foundation, unclamping high-pressure pump hoses or banging our hoses to get a plug out, or getting cut by a trowel in the back pocket of the guy screeding the concrete, this trade has its inherent dangers which we must always be aware of. We’ll pay a much higher price than losing any eye or a few digits if we ever forget this.
Many years ago, Johnny Carson had a skit on his Tonight Show where he drank so much coffee, when they pricked him with a pin, coffee flowed out instead of blood. I’m pretty sure there will be more than one undertaker who’ll get the surprise of their life. For when they go to embalm an old concrete worker, instead of just draining their blood, they’ll discover there’s something gray in their veins.

Eight Life Lessons Concrete Has Taught Me

Growing up, my dad would often say, “Experience is a great teacher…if it doesn’t kill you.” When we worked together , not a week went by without him repeating this mantra. It was his way of saying, ‘Pay attention, always try to learn something, and be careful.’
Our trade can be dangerous and it has a lot to teach us. Think of the poor guys who’ve lost fingers setting up ready-mixed chutes or who’ve lost hands in conveyors or in pumps. Or those who, tragically, lost their lives on the job.
Concrete has taught me many personal lessons, and I’m sure I’m not alone. It’s taught me to monitor the economy just like the weather – many years are feast or famine in our trade. It’s taught me that having a rock-solid work ethic is the best way to build a good reputation, which is priceless.
Concrete has taught me to ignore the color of someone’s skin, their educational credentials or lack thereof, and their physique. Some of the smartest people I’ve worked with didn’t graduate from high school, some of the hardest-working people are multiethnic, and some of the toughest people I know don’t weigh 130 pounds soaking wet.
Concrete has taught me time and time again about the value of mentoring. When I started finishing, I grew only because of the seasoned finishers who invested their time in me. As I led people later on, I felt fulfilled only when I was pouring my heart and soul into those who followed. Now that we’re in our third year of owning and operating a concrete pump, I’m perpetually aware of my reliance on Charlie McIntosh, a contractor who also sells and services Reed equipment throughout the Southeast. He’s the pumping guru in our region.
Working in concrete is all about timing. We can’t just stop in our tracks whenever we’re tired, hurting, or frustrated. Furthermore, I’ve learned that getting anxious and panicking only makes matters worse. Learning to stay calm and be patient are the two absolutely essential traits everyone should develop.
Concrete has taught me that, no matter how much pressure we’re under, we are problem solvers with great imaginations. Every day is a new challenge, and we adapt and overcome by thinking through these problems and using our imaginations to envision the best possible way to accomplish what the ordinary citizen could never do.
For me, concrete reinforces the maxim “mind over matter.” Whenever I feel I’ve stretched the limits of my endurance (like working 18-hour days) and reached my breaking point, I’ve somehow been able to do what it takes to get the job done. Stamina, endurance, a high tolerance for pain, confidence, and grit – these are the gifts concrete offers.
Concrete teaches us that, above all, with the right mindset, even though our muscles are cramping up and our joints and tendons are strained and sore, we will never give up. Concrete teaches us we have what it takes.