If mixing and laying are to proceed during cold weather, measures should be taken to ensure that stored aggregates and cement are maintained at temperatures above freezing. The surface temperature of the laid concrete or screed (not the air temperature) should be maintained above 5 °C during construction and for 4 days to 5 days after laying. In this way the concrete will normally have achieved sufficient strength to resist damage by frost.

Freshly placed and finished bases and levelling screeds exposed to the weather should be covered with tarpaulins or sheeting, carefully lapped and supported clear of the surface on a temporary framework in such a manner that the wind cannot blow underneath.

The time and amount of protection may be reduced by employing any of the following:

  • a) an increased cement content (for base slabs only);
  • b) cement with early strength development;
  • c) admixtures to reduce the water/cement ratio;
  • d) admixtures to accelerate setting and hardening;
  • e) heated materials in concrete (for base slabs only);
  • f) thermal blankets.

NOTE For further information on these points, which cannot be quantified briefly, see [9]. Unless heated enclosures and/or heated materials are used it can be preferable to delay operations until the weather is warmer.

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