Concrete is considered to be one of the most versatile building materials in the world. It can create walls, flooring, driveways, sidewalks, and just about everything else. However, it can only do that if it’s being poured correctly— and that means knowing when to pour it.
Can concrete be poured in the rain? Yes, but it’s not ideal. Because of the chemical makeup of concrete, pouring in the rain can cause complications. If it’s at all possible, you should have a “rain check” when you’re dealing with concrete.
Understanding why concrete can be difficult in the rain is just as important as knowing the risks of pouring concrete in rainy weather. This guide will tell you everything that you need to know about rain’s effect on your building project.
Can Concrete Be Poured In The Rain?
The general consensus is that rain shouldn’t go near concrete if it’s at all possible. If you are hoping to pour concrete, it’s best to try to schedule your pouring when rain won’t be an issue. This is the only way to ensure your concrete won’t get damaged from water.
If this is not doable, it is possible to pour concrete in the rain as long as you take proper precautions. When pouring concrete in the rain, the best thing to do is focus on damage minimalization and check to ensure that your concrete is well-poured later on.
What Happens If You Pour Concrete In The Rain?
The reason why builders avoid pouring concrete in rain deals with the overall strength of the concrete. Concrete that’s exposed to rain will start to become soft— much like dough that has too much water in it.
Soft concrete loses its abrasion resistance and becomes prone to cracking. Moreover, the impact of the water can ruin the surface of the concrete, rendering it unusable for many purposes. Soft, cracked concrete should never be used as a building material.
Can Rained-On Concrete Be Fixed?
Potentially. It all depends on how bad the concrete has been impacted. How time-consuming and effective the fixes also need to be taken into consideration, since it sometimes isn’t worth saving the concrete.
Isolated fixes can be done shortly after concrete is exposed using the same bucket of concrete you used to pour the slab. More intense concrete problems can be fixed through a second pour and reinforcement.
In some cases, concrete that’s been exposed to rain will have sectional damage. This typically requires having portions of the concrete removed and replaced with a new pour.
How Long Should Concrete Dry Before Water Hits It?
Let’s say that you have just poured concrete outside, but find out you have a weather advisory soon. Are you safe? Well, it all depends on how soon the rain is coming. Here’s what you need to know about safe times:
- Freshly poured concrete will need at least two to four hours to set and have minimal damage from rain. That doesn’t mean that your concrete will be totally okay. It won’t be pitted, but it still may be too soft to work with in some cases.
- After about six hours, fortified concrete won’t show damage. This is a general rule of thumb. It can take up to eight hours to cure in some situations, and humidity can delay the dry time even more.
- If you have standard concrete, you should be alright after 12 hours. It’s better to be safe than sorry here. While some concrete will be dry after nine hours, many professionals choose to wait a full 24 hours before removing rain protection.
- Generally speaking, once your concrete has dried, you should be alright. If you have a specialty concrete, you will need to check out drying times in order to get a better idea of your risk.
How To Minimize Damage While Pouring Concrete In The Rain
It’s clear that rain and concrete don’t mix, but what can you do if rain becomes an inevitability? These tips below will be able to help you understand what you can do to ensure that your pour s successful:
- People who are doing projects on their own should have a “rain date” planned in the event of a bad forecast. The easiest way to minimize damage is to avoid it altogether. A brief delay in your plan won’t be that bad in most cases,
- Never try to pour concrete in areas with serious mud puddles or wet surfaces. This is a good way to waste good concrete. This will result in concrete that’s damaged beyond repair, along with an extremely messy workspace.
- If rain is in the forecast and you can’t delay it, place a protective tarp over the pouring area before the rain starts. This will protect your concrete from getting water impact damage and is the chief way to ensure that your concrete pour will have minimal exposure to water.
- If you’re pouring concrete after heavy rain, use a scraper to push water off the surface of the project. Water might still get into your concrete, but this will still make a difference in terms of your concrete’s surface. This may need to be followed up with concrete reinforcement to ensure the material’s strength is kept up.
- Concrete that has the potential to be exposed to rain after the pour should be covered with plastic or a tarp. By shielding the concrete from the rain while it stiffens, you’ll avoid softening as well as pitting. Much like with pouring during rain, having concrete exposed while it’s still drying can cause serious damage.
Does Waterproofing Concrete Make Pouring In Rain Easier?
If you’re new to concrete work, you might have heard of waterproof concrete. This is a real thing; however, it will not work as a method to reduce damage control. This is because the mix itself is not going to be waterproof. Rather, it’s a treatment that is done to the concrete after it’s poured.
It’s worth pointing out that waterproofing your concrete can make it last longer and will reduce damage caused by water exposure after the concrete has dried. For driveways and pools, this can prove to be beneficial.
If you choose to waterproof your concrete, you will need to plan it out ahead of time. Concrete waterproofing treatments cannot be done during rain under any circumstances, as it will ruin the waterproofing.
How To Tell If Your Concrete’s Build Has Been Compromised
You can do everything right while pouring concrete in the rain but still end up with damaged concrete. The problem is, damaged concrete isn’t always easily spotted. To ensure that your pour worked well, you’ll need to do a scratch test.
Wait until your concrete is fully dry to do this. Once it’s dry, take a screwdriver and scratch the surface of your concrete. If you notice flaking, cracks, or dusting, your concrete has been compromised. If your concrete remains solid, you are good to go.
The Overall Verdict
If it’s raining, you probably shouldn’t be pouring concrete unless you have to. Though it is possible to pour concrete in the rain without any damage, precautions need to be taken. Even with a covering, it’s possible to have damage as a result of the rain.
Should your concrete get exposed to rain, it’s best to do a scratch test and fix any issues you may discover. That’s the only real way to ensure that the concrete you poured will be worth keeping.
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