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9 Tips for Pouring Concrete in Hot Weather

9 Tips for Pouring Concrete in Hot Weather

When the concrete is hotter than 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the process of hydration is sped up and generates internal heat. When cement hydrates it uses water and grows crystals around the aggregate particles. When it’s too hot, water can be lost through evaporation. This doesn’t allow the concrete to hydrate properly due to the lack of water present and can result in loss of strength. The main concern with working in hot weather isn’t just the air temperature, but the concrete’s temperature.

Pouring concrete in hot weather could present the following problems:

  • Increased difficulty when finishing the concrete
  • The formation of cold joints due to hot weather decreasing the setting time
  • Reduced strength and durability
  • Lower compression strength
  • Additional drying shrinkage of the hardened concrete
  • Increased risk of cracking

If the temperature of the concrete at the time of concrete placement will exceed 77 degrees Fahrenheit, a plan should be developed to negate the effects of high temperatures. Here are 9 tips for pouring concrete in hot weather:

  1. Have sufficient manpower to manage the concrete when it is being poured and for the finishing process ­— this is team effort .
  2. If possible, avoid pouring concrete at noon or during peak times for hot air temperature. Mornings are IDEAL.
  3. When pouring concrete in hot weather, space control joints at smaller intervals than cold weather concrete joints.
  4. If possible, keep an evaporative retarder ready on site in case the temperature gets hotter and water is rapidly evaporating.
  5. Use ice as part of the concrete water mix to cool the concrete.
  6. Reduce the mixing time once water has been added to the mix.
  7. Bags of concrete mix and all equipment needed to pour concrete in hot weather should remain covered or in the shade until the last moment before using. Keep equipment cool.
  8. When pouring concrete for a slab, first dampen the sub-grade. Take the hose from the concrete truck and mist the sub-grade. They might get angry but who cares.
  9. Use cool water to dampen side forms for slabs or walls.

8 Facts About Concrete that Every Mason Should Know

Organized Chaos
  1. Over 20 billion tons of concrete are used in construction every year!
  2. The term “concrete” is, as you may have guessed, Latin in origin. The Romans named the material after the word “concretus,” meaning “to grow together.”
  3. Ancient Romans pioneered large-scale rustic concrete architecture with structures like the Pantheon, which remains the world’s largest unsupported concrete dome.
  4. Reinforced concrete architecture is more sturdy than steel-framed buildings due to the higher rigidity of concrete – it won’t bend nearly as much in wind or an earthquake.
  5. The world’s largest concrete structure is China’s Three Gorges Dam along the Yangtze River. It took 12 years and about 565 million cubic feet of concrete to fully construct this dam!
  6. China is responsible for half the world’s overall concrete usage each year. The country used more between 2011 and 2013 than the United States used in the entire 20th century!
  7. During World War II, the British built 15-foot-diameter concrete “ears” – vertical bowl-like structures with a large, spherical indentation. They were placed along the coastline to pick up the sound of approaching enemy planes from as far as 30 miles away. Many still remain intact today!
  8. Under normal conditions, concrete is actually stronger a decade after pouring than it originally was! Calcium conversions on a chemical level and concrete’s tendency to absorb CO2 both contribute to this natural strengthening.

9 Of My Favorite Concrete Finishes

Concrete is as a versatile construction material, used worldwide on a various number of residential, commercial and industrial applications. Concrete carries its strength on the inside, but its beauty on the outside. Below I will describe some of my favorite concrete finishes.

1. Common Finishes

The most basic type of concrete finish is a smooth surface created through the use of screeds and trowels. Immediately after concrete has been placed in forms, concrete finishers utilize a screed to level out the concrete surface.

a) Troweling or Floating

Once the concrete has been tooled with a screed, concrete finishers utilize trowels to smooth and fine-level the surface of the concrete. To smooth the concrete manually a hand trowel is used on smaller jobs, and power trowels are used on a large commercial and industrial projects where using hand trowels is not feasible. These power trowels are available in both walk behind and riding versions.

b) Broom Finish

This is our specialty at Biordi Concrete. In order to make concrete surfaces slip resistant, a broom finish can be applied. This is done after placement, leveling, and troweling of concrete. Once a smooth surface has been created, a broom is dragged across the surface of the concrete to create small ridges that provide for traction control, particularly when the concrete surface is wet. Concrete surfaces without a broom finish tend to be slippery and dangerous when liquids are present on the surface. This is also the NYC DOT Spec for all sidewalks.

2. Concrete Texture Finishes

Aside from broom finishing, there are several other means of creating textures on the surface of concrete.

a) Exposed Aggregate Finish

An exposed aggregate finis is commonly found in sidewalks of old cities, and is created by washing the top layer of concrete away. This gives it that “old school “ feel which exposes the edges of the natural stone aggregates that are mixed into the concrete. This provides an attractive and slip resistant finish.

b) Salt Finish

A salt finish is a type of finish used mainly for swimming pool decks. Salt finishes are created by applying rock salt to the top of the wet concrete and then washing it away, which leaves small pits in the finished surface.

c) Stamped Concrete

A common method of texturing is to use concrete stamps. Concrete stamps are comprised of panels with inlaid designs, which are placed on concrete while it is still curing. Designs may consist of brick, stone or other decorative patterns. When done correctly, stamped concrete looks absolutely gorgeous.

d) Sparkle Grain Finish

Sparkle Grain is a black or white sparkle, concrete finish for interior or exterior concrete surfaces. Specifically designed for light to heavy usage on sidewalks, steps, ramps etc.. Sparkle Grain also adds slip-resistance to concrete, which also means increased wear resistance compared to untreated concrete floors.

3. Concrete Coloring

Concrete can have color added to provide a look that fits with the architecture of the associated structure. This can be accomplished through mix-added pigments or post-cure staining.

a) “Mix-ready” Pigment Bags

Concrete coloring using pigments is a simple process, accomplished by adding the pigments directly to the concrete mix prior to pouring. Pigments are available in “mix-ready” dissolvable bags. When we work on “landmark” jobs in NYC, the spec for the concrete is with a black pigment. In order to achieve that black tone, we throw the black pigment ready mix bags right into the truck barrel mixer one the truck shows up.

b) Concrete Staining

One common method of staining concrete is through the use of acid. Stains can be applied to concrete of any age, though the colors are typically more vibrant if the stain is applied relatively soon after the concrete has been placed. Application of stain is typically followed up with installation of a seal over the concrete to protect the surface.

4) Polished Concrete

Cured concrete, whether freshly-placed or well-aged, can be provided with a polished surface for a clean and glossy look, ease of maintenance and a surface that provides additional slip resistance over that of non-polished concrete.

The polishing process is typically accomplished using concrete floor grinders that are outfitted with diamond abrasives. The grade of the abrasives, from coarse to fine, will determine the final smoothness of the concrete surface at the completion of the polishing process.

Concrete is a remarkable product, having been used for thousands of years as a reliable and durable building material for a countless amount of structures. Like I stated earlier, the exterior look of concrete can be beautiful and can fit anywhere all depending on the type of finish you desire.

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.

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.

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.

The Romans Approach to Engineering Concrete Proves Why “Do as the Romans do” Should Actually Be Practiced Today.

History Lesson for all Concrete Contractors:

Do as the Romans do they say right? I guess now us Italians have some bragging rights considering the Romans were far beyond their years in engineering concrete.

How did the Romans build concrete structures in harbors along the central Italian coast that have lasted thousands of years, while today’s concrete rarely last more than a few decades? The reason is because the Romans invested heavily in designing concrete that could endure earthquakes, remain resilient to corrosive seawater and hold its form even without steel support. They designed the seawater concrete so successfully that it “can neither be dissolved in the waves, nor by the power of water”

Roman concrete is made of volcanic ash, seawater, lime and lumps of volcanic rock. When first laid, chemical reactions would occur between these ingredients and form new substances, including a rare mineral called tobermorite a 2017 study suggests. Intriguingly, whenever a crack appeared in the cement, more tobermorite crystals seem to form and patch the crack, which all of us sidewalk concrete contractors could definitely could use today (Haha)

The Roman concrete depended on rare volcanic ash, making widespread replication difficult. Even so, the finding offers us a new way of looking at concrete: whereas the modern stuff is designed to harden and never change, the Roman approach would produce concrete that effectively heals itself. By finding a material that imitates the Roman ash, we could build structures that would withstand the test of time.

The one con of Roman concrete is that it does takes time to develop strength from seawater, and features less compressive strength than typical Portland cement. For those reasons, it’s unlikely that Roman concrete could become widespread, but could be useful at specific locations and concrete structures.