Can You Lay Concrete in the Rain?
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Can You Lay Concrete in the Rain?

The UK is pretty famous for its terrible weather, with an average year seeing well over 150 rainy days. 

And for us Brits, the weather is often the topic of conversation due to the way it has a habit of disrupting our plans. Whether it’s a weekend walk, a staycation or simply getting some jobs done in the garden, rain can ruin even the best-laid plans.  

The same can be said for those who work in the construction industry. With work often happening outdoors, the weather will sometimes dictate the progress of a project depending on its severity and the type of work being carried out.

With this in mind, people often wonder ‘can you lay concrete in the rain?’ 

In this article, the team at Concrete Supply UK will answer this question, explaining what mitigations you can put in place to ensure you can still lay concrete effectively during poor weather. 

Read on to find out more…

Can-You-Lay-Concrete-in-the-Rain?

 

Can you lay concrete in the rain?

While concrete can technically be poured in any weather, if it is raining then it is recommended that you avoid doing so. 

As well as being an unpleasant experience, additional moisture can actually be damaging to your mix, preventing it from working effectively and ruining the desired consistency.  

Despite this, in some instances, it may be unavoidable to not lay concrete in the rain. This may be true if your area is going through a period of consistent rain and it is unpractical to delay proceedings, or if you have tight project deadlines that need to be met. 

If pouring concrete on a rainy day is unavoidable, then there are a number of things you can do to minimise the chance of the rain ruining the mix.

First, if you know that rain is on the way, try and keep the ground as dry as possible before laying the concrete. You can do this by installing plastic sheets and tarpaulin on the ground. 

If rain begins during the process, make sure you have plastic sheets and timber on hand so you can swiftly construct a makeshift shelter over the area you are working in. 

And, if you’re pouring concrete in an area after a period of heavy rain, do your best to remove any water from the surface before you proceed. Concrete should never be poured onto a wet surface as it will not be effective. 

 

How does rain damage concrete?

Now, let’s take a closer look at specifically how rain can damage concrete. 

While it can be beneficial to keep concrete fairly moist after it has been poured, additional moisture should never be added while it is being mixed or poured. However, when it rains, excess water will likely find itself in the mix which can potentially ruin the consistency of your concrete. 

One of the main reasons why concrete is often favoured for a variety of construction projects is due to its strength and durability. Concrete is created by mixing cement, aggregates and water. Then a chemical process known as hydration will take place which provides the mix with its characteristic strength and firmness. 

However, if rain is added to the mix during this process or it is laid onto a wet surface, this will impact the quality of the mix and cause it to be weaker than is desired. This will then create a whole host of further problems down the line. 

As well as impacting the strength and quality of the mix, rain landing on a concrete mix can also cause damage to the surface by making it uneven and bumpy. 

 

How to tell if rain has damaged concrete?

If you’re worried that rain may have potentially damaged your concrete, there are a few ways you can check.  

Firstly, a visual inspection is a good way to ascertain whether damage has been sustained. Look out for flaking or peeling of the concrete and areas of the surface that look powdery or dusty. These are signs that damage has occurred.

You can also test the abrasion of the surface by using a screwdriver. Touch the surface with the screwdriver and then compare it with good quality concrete to see if there is any difference. 

Another problem that may occur due to rain on concrete is craze cracking. Again, this can be identified visually as after the excess water has evaporated cracks or fissures may appear on the surface that show the impact of rain. 

Sometimes, you may be able to simply repair the damage by adding a new, thin layer of concrete to the affected areas. However, if the damage is severe, then the whole layer may need to be replaced. 

 

How to protect already poured concrete?

If you have already poured concrete but you suspect that rain may be on the way, then you can protect it. 

Ideally, freshly poured concrete should not be exposed to rain for at least four-eight hours. With this in mind, use coverings to keep rain away from the ground. Once around eight hours have passed, the concrete will likely be safe to uncover. From here, the drying and curing processes can begin. 

 

Your local concrete suppliers 

At Concrete Supply UK, we’re trusted by hundreds of contractors across the country as local concrete suppliers. 

For many years, we’ve provided a variety of concrete types, from readymix to volumetric and reinforced  to both domestic and commercial customers, ensuring they always have exactly the mix they need. We do this by getting to understand you and your needs before formulating mixes that are most suitable. All of your unique requirements will be incorporated and we will then deliver the product directly to your home or site. 

As well as creating a tailored mix, we will also ensure you always have the right quantity to get the job done. There is nothing worse than over or under ordering, as this can be wasteful, costly and disruptive. When you place an order with us, you’ll never have to worry about this happening.

To find out more, contact our expert team today.

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