Given just how crazy 2020 weather has been in Louisiana, there’s really no telling what we should expect this winter.
One thing is for certain, however, and it’s that the frequent freeze/thaw cycles will affect your concrete.
While this is something that your concrete contractors will typically take into account on their own, it’s important that you understand what’s going on with your slab over time.
How the freeze thaw cycle of concrete works
When temperatures drop below freezing, the water or snow that your concrete has absorbed becomes frozen. This causes an ever-so-slight expansion in your concrete, and when the weather warms up again, it begins to thaw and contract.
The constant expanding and contracting movements within your concrete, no matter how slight they may be, undoubtedly have an effect on its durability. This can result in joint deterioration, spalling, cracking, and surface scaling.
Preventing concrete cracks during winter
Concrete is one of the most durable materials on the market, and its strength is determined by its ability to resist chemical attacks, weathering, abrasion, and weight.
Concrete that’s anticipated to experience harsh weather or other extreme conditions can be engineered to withstand even the craziest circumstances.
That being said, concrete that’s frequently subjected to freezing temperatures will need to be properly installed in order to counteract freeze/thaw cycles and not crack prematurely.
Expansion joints are a must-have for concrete that will be exposed to freezing temperatures, and their purpose is to isolate the concrete from the rest of the structural components.
Once the weather changes and the freeze thaw cycle of concrete occurs, these joints will allow for movement between structural parts when necessary, but also restrict it in places that may cause cracking.
When investing in a project like a concrete driveway, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Talk to your contractor about what you plan to park on your driveway, how often you plan on using it, and ask about concrete joints.
At Port Aggregates, our professional and experienced contractors are willing and ready to answer any questions that you may have regarding your project. We have over 40 years’ worth of experience doing concrete pours in the rapidly-changing Louisiana weather. Contact us today to request a quote!