In this article we will be looking at concrete driveways and in particular, Can a driveway be concrete in the rain.
Before jumping into concreting in the rain, let’s find about a bit more about concrete, how it evolved as a major material of the construction.
Let’s start rolling…
The Evaluation of Concrete Construction
Following the civilization of the world, certain things have changed, ranging from culture to industrialization, education, science, religion and politics. All these things have changed in the sense that none of the above mentioned has remained at its previous level. The construction has not been an exception.
Construction has always been a vital part of man and also the civilization of the world in general. During the ancient days (past decades), constructions were mostly done with woods, clay soil and water. But recently, following the civilization and revolution of the world, man has discovered a vital and widely trusted construction material, and that construction material is called concrete.
Concrete has been adopted in every aspect of construction, these buildings include residential buildings, schools, hospitals, workplaces or industries and also in infrastructural projects like bridges, roads, dams etc.
The nature of concrete ranging from its durability, strength, and how affordable it is, was the main reason why concrete is widely trusted and recommended for constructions of different buildings and structures.
Several load-bearing structures like slabs, foundations, beams, columns etc. are constructed with the strong aid of concrete.
So, let’s go deep into details of what concrete really is.
What is Concrete?
In the construction industry, concrete is known to be the second most used substance in the world apart from water.
Concrete is an artificial construction mixture or substance which is composed of cement, water, fine and coarse aggregates and sometimes admixtures. All these constituents are what make the concrete strong, durable, and trustworthy.
The constituents of concrete have various functions, and they are as follows:
1. Cement (Binding material)
This is the binding force or substance used in making concretes. Cement acts as the adhesive components of the concrete by hardening and binding the other components that make up the concrete (sand, gravel, admixture).
During the production of cement, there is a close regulation of chemical components like silicon, aluminum, calcium, iron and several ingredients.
Some of the materials used in the production of cement are clay, shells, slate, iron ore, limestone, chalk, silica sand, blast furnace slag and shales.
When heated to a very high temperature, these materials turn to a rock-like substance which is grinded into the fine powder commonly seen as cement.
There are two known processes for making cement, which are the dry and wet process.
2. Fine and coarse aggregates
The term “aggregate” when building or construction is involved, refers to the materials that are mixed with cement, gypsum, lime, bitumen or any other adhesive in making concrete. Aggregates are necessary for the physical properties of the concrete, which includes stability, volume and erosion resistance.
Fine aggregates are very small and natural sand components gotten from mining the land. Fine aggregates are composed of crushed stones of about one quarter (1/4) or maybe smaller and also natural sand.
Coarse aggregates are larger particles used in filling concrete structures during construction. They are bigger than the fine aggregates when it comes to size because they are usually about 4.75mm and above.
Gravels, pebbles, broken bricks (brick chips), cinders, broken stones (stone ships) etc, are all used as coarse aggregates in making concrete.
3. Water in construction
Water is an essential component in making concrete. It is a very important element in every construction project aspect, tho the quality and vitality of water are sometimes ignored, but it plays a good part in mixing all the elements which makes up the concrete.
Water is also used for curing after a construction project. Most civil engineers or contractors in charge of certain construction projects, are usually ignorant of the quality of water used in the building projects, the ignorance on the quality of water used in the building projects might, in turn, cause adverse effects on the structures.
A good definition of good water states that the water should be “pure”. Therefore, there are certain elements or substances that can fuel the impurity of water and may also go ahead to affect the materials used in the construction work.
Some of these injurious quantities include acids, organic materials, salt, alkalis, oils, sugar, and other likely substances which can cause bad effects on concrete, bricks, steel and stone.
Effects of Bad Water on Concrete
Most times, we notice deterioration in the quality of concrete used in building, the contractors or Engineers would take the blame or question the quality of cement used or the quantity used for the construction. Still, most times these deteriorations in the concrete quality can be as a result of bad water used in the construction.
Below are some of the negative effects bad water has on cement.
- Bad water containing salts like iron salts, sodium, inorganic salts and calcium chloride etc. may reduce the strength of the concrete.
- Water containing vegetables or algae growth can reduce the bond strength of the cement with the aggregates.
- Vegetables, mineral and linseed oil content above 2% in water can reduce the quality of concrete to about 25%.
- Silt and other suspensions also can have bad effects on concrete.
Note: With the knowledge of these adverse effects of bad water on concrete, it is only proper that we try as much as possible to test and check the quality of water used at a construction site.
4. Admixtures in construction
These are elements (mostly chemicals) added to concrete mixture before or after the mixing process.
Admixtures can be an influence on the properties of concrete either by increasing the strength of the concrete or influencing the cure time.
Admixtures also serve aesthetic purposes, like changing evolved colour of the cement used.
What is a Concrete Driveway?
The driveway is a local lane or road that leads to one or more buildings or structures which is managed and owned by an individual or group of people.
A concrete driveway is a flavor of driveways which is made with the aid of concrete slabs. Concrete driveways is a popular driveway type which is widely accepted around the world.
Concrete driveways, also called ‘cement driveway’ in some parts of the world, has become a preferable driveway type, because concrete slabs are known for their durability, strength and less maintenance practice. Concrete driveways are known to be expensive when compared to asphalt and gravel driveways but also a cheaper option to brick and cobblestone driveways.
Tip: We previously covered how to raise capital for real estate developments.
Installation of Concrete Driveways
Installation of concrete driveways is not really something done singlehandedly by the owner or an individual, considering the time and quality of the proposed concrete driveway. It would require the service of professionals who will take up the construction work and finish them within the given time and also ensure it meets the standard of the employer.
During the installation of concrete driveways, it usually kicks off with the removal of weeds and other vegetative areas, and also making sure the soil or area is stable construction.
Woods are properly placed within the proposed driveway area. Gravel is then added to the surface area and properly compacted. Metal rebars or steel wire are placed in a crossing pattern to enforce the area.
When all these things are done, then comes the stage when the already mixed concrete is been poured on the mapped out surface for the driveway. The concrete pouring would require a group of people who would do the pouring and proper filling of the required driveway area and also smoothening the poured concrete.
A plain gray concrete driveway doesn’t really look that attractive, this triggered the interests of the owners and contractors to adopt the application of patterns, designs, colours or other aesthetic elements in order to give the concrete driveway a good look.
Another important stage of the concrete driveway installation is the curing stage. We must understand that concrete doesn’t just dry out, it undergoes the curing process by hardening and strengthening via a slow chemical process.
In order to ensure proper curing of the concrete driveway project, a weather temperature of about 70 degrees F (%) is required, because the curing process takes a long time in cool weather. It is advisable to apply water on the freshly constructed concrete driveway if the weather is hot in order to slow down and regulate the curing time.
A new concrete driveway should take not less than 7 days (a week) before driving on it, then a time duration of thirty days (a month) before it can be used by heavy-duty vehicles.
Advantages of Having a Concrete Driveway
There are benefits which come with having a concrete driveway. These benefits are the driving force for the popular installation of concrete driveways in recent decades, instead of its counterparts like asphalt and bricks.
These benefits are:
Concrete driveways are less expensive compared to the other driveway types. This makes the construction of concrete driveways less of a financial burden to the owner, thereby making it affordable.
2. The beauty and curb appeal
Most consumers don’t like the normal grayish concrete driveway, this prompted the application of creative concrete designs and colours which answers solve the consumers’ quest for a darker surface and beauty.
3. The Reaction of the concrete driveway to heat and light
A concrete surface doesn’t absorb much heat and UV radiation, they tend to reflect the heat energy, unlike their asphalt and bricks counterparts.
4. Easy maintenance
The use of clear sealers and contraction joints reduces the concrete maintenance expense. This is because they prevent the concrete surface from absorption of moisture and cracking respectively.
5. Conserves energy
A concrete driveway doesn’t take much energy cost, the construction of concrete driveways requires less energy than that of asphalt, which requires high heat energy to heat and mix at 200-250 degrees F.
A concrete driveway is a very durable type of driveway. It also has the capacity to stand heavy loads.
Can Concrete Driveway Be Poured In The Rain?
Pouring a concrete driveway while its raining is not entirely impossible, but it is a very insensitive thing to do.
Water, as we know, is a very important component of concrete, but it can cause more harm than good to an already poured concrete, especially when rain is involved.
How Does Rain Affect Concrete?
Very good question.
Rain can pose much threat on the concrete because it ruins the quality and strength of the freshly poured concrete, which in turn reduces the durability of that project.
Heavy down-pour can also ruin the appearance of the concrete surface. Another heartbreaking thing about rain damage on the concrete is the fact that it is very hard to rectify, this is more reason you should conscious about rainfall after a freshly poured concrete.
Is It Important To Protect a Just Poured Concrete From Rain?
To ensure the quality, strength and durability of your poured concrete, it would be good that you protect your just poured concrete driveway surface from rain.
Despite the advancement in forecasting technology, man still can’t predict accurately the timing of rain, So in cases where there is an unexpected downpour we should learn.
Tips for Handling Rain After Pouring Concrete
An unexpected downpour can be a very sad and heartbreaking situation for construction Engineers/contractors, but here are tips on handling such situation.
- Make sure your site is covered with plastic sheets.
- Consult the forecast technology before embarking on such projects to ascertain the possibility of having a downpour during the mapped out duration for the project.
- Don’t spray dry cement on the concrete surface to avoid weakening of the top layer.
- Drainages can help channel the overflowing water away from the concrete surface.
Will Rain Hurt Fresh Concrete?
Rain damages the appearance, strength and durability by washing away the cement particles and admixtures used for the construction.
Rain droplets may also alter the design or pattern imprinted on the concrete by making small holes and making the concrete surface rough.
How Long After It is Poured is Concrete Safe From Rain Damage?
Very good question. The fear and concern about the bad effects of rain on a freshly poured concrete depend on the timing and stage of the poured concrete.
If there is down pour (rain) within two to four hours (2-4hours) after the surface should be properly covered with plastics or any other suitable material. This is because, at this stage, the surface of the concrete poured is still fresh, and the quality might be compromised.
If the rain falls after the finishing stage of the concrete has been completed, at this stage, there might not be a need to panic, as far as the slab and the surface area are still intact.
From four to eight hours (4-8 hours) after the concrete has been poured, rain damage shouldn’t be a concern.
Note: the healing and curing time of the concrete driveway also depends on the materials used for the construction. This is because so many contractors and engineers just mix their concrete components without including admixtures while some others add admixtures. This could influence the healing or curing time of the concrete driveway.
Solutions for Rain Damaged Concrete
Repairing rain-damaged concrete can be very tiring and seemingly impossible, but there are few ways to rectify the damages caused on the concrete by rainfall depending on the level of damage caused. These solutions include:
- Remove entirely the affected area if the soil underneath is washed. Then refill the affected area properly with sand before pouring a fresh concrete.
- If the surface is damaged, remove the loose particles, thereby exposing the aggregates then apply the mixed cement with good bonding agents. Make sure you apply water on the patched surface to regulate the curing process and also to prevent cracks or shrinkages on the area.
- If the holes are shallow, it is advisable you use sanded acrylic formulas also known as mortar repairs. They adhere to concrete surface, stone, brick and blocks.
The concrete driveway is a good and popular driveway type made with the mixture of cement, fine and coarse aggregates, admixtures and water. These materials influence the good properties of concrete, which ranges from strength, durability, affordability to low maintenance time.
Rain is a strong factor that can threaten the quality, strength or durability of a concrete driveway. This depends on the timing and state of the concrete driveway. A driveway can be concrete in the rain if the poured concrete has undergone its curing stage.
I like that you mentioned how concrete is especially durable and doesn’t require a lot of upkeep. My wife and I have been interested in setting up a concrete driveway so that we can restore my late uncle’s car this summer, but we need to find one that will be easy to clean in case oil happens to spill on it. We’ll consider our needs as we look for concrete for our property.