The Timing of Installing a Concrete Patio

If you have decided you want a concrete patio installed around your home or business you are probably thinking a lot about what size and shape you want. You are probably not considering how the current season will affect the installation process. Today, we will discuss the importance of timing when installing a concrete patio. 

The Hardening Process

Concrete starts as a liquid-like mixture of cement, aggregate, and water that makes it easily pourable. Naturally, the mixture then needs to harden into a hard surface that resembles stone. This hardening can take up to 28 days in ideal temperature conditions of around 72 degrees. This temperature is ideal because it allows the moisture molecules in the mixture to settle naturally and then evaporate.

If the temperature is too cold, such as 40 degrees or lower, it means that the water molecules will freeze. This freezing causes the molecules to expand which leads to cracks forming in the concrete. Temperatures that are cold but not below the freezing point will not lead to cracking but they will make the hardening process take even longer. As you can imagine, having a walking surface unusable for over a month is not ideal for most homes or businesses. 

Hot temperatures can be just as destructive to a concrete surface as cold temperatures. At around 85 degrees or higher, the top layer of concrete will begin to harden much faster than the layers below. This doesn’t affect the concrete materials directly, but it does have catastrophic indirect effects. This is because concrete shrinks when it dries. The dried layer on top of the wet layers underneath can cause cracks to form, compromising the entire surface’s strength and integrity.

If you absolutely need a surface to be laid down when the temperatures outside are cold you can spend some extra money to have straw insulation or heating elements be used to keep the water molecules from freezing. Unfortunately, no such workarounds exist during hot months. It is for these reasons that spring and fall remain the best seasons to have a concrete patio installed. The temperatures during these seasons provide the best conditions for the drying and hardening processes to complete naturally with no complications. 

Our Services

Looking for a new asphalt parking lot or have questions on aftercare? Pro-Pave, Inc. is a premier commercial concrete and asphalt paving company serving general contractors, property managers, and HOAs in the Mid-Atlantic. We are Class A-licensed, VDOT-certified, and fully bonded/insured for jobs of all sizes. 

We work with many commercial clients, including federal, state, and local governments; commercial property owners; K-12 schools; higher education institutions; military groups; retail stores; and more.

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