Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Pouring Concrete in Sub-zero Temperatures?

Ken Snyder
Ken Snyder
Here’s an ice cold thought for those of you who are out there thinking that you don’t really want to get back to work in January.

Do you know how hard it is to pour concrete when the temperatures are 8 degrees below zero? When it comes to pouring concrete, contractors consider it cold weather when average temperatures are below 40 degrees.

Pouring concrete correctly is a sophisticated and time-consuming process. It’s not impossible to pour concrete in weather like this, it’s just a lot more complicated. It could involve bringing in heating equipment and insulating the work area with about six inches of straw which has to be contained in plastic sheeting. And keep in mind concrete should not dry too quickly. Lots of things can go wrong if each step isn’t done properly. Temperatures have to be controlled.

When it’s this cold, concrete pouring takes more time. And right about now most people I know, with the exception of skiers and snowboarders, are not in favor of things that require more time outdoors. So next time you think your job is hard, put on three or four coats and take a walk out in front of our building and watch the people working below ground there. They are not skiing. They are working all day in these bone-chilling temperatures. Then let that image firm up in your mind and go back into the warmth with increased insight and a solid understanding of the benefits of indoor work in January. 

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