Pouring concrete can be tricky, especially when managing inclement weather. Truth be told, concrete cures and does not “technically” dry. So what happens if it starts to rain while you are pouring concrete or starts raining directly after?
Concrete projects should dry or cure for approximately 24-48 hours or be strong enough for walking on before rain would create any damage. Ay rain before that could penetrate through the surface and make the concrete weaker. If rain is in the forecast, cover your job after it has been finished to prevent any water “puddling” on the surface of the fresh concrete.
Using concrete for your home or small art projects like stools, planters, or bricks can be tricky and confusing for beginners, but knowing the impact rain can have and how to protect your work can help.
By planning out your project, having your materials ready, and checking the local forecast, you can be prepared to get started without worrying about it being weakened or destroyed by surprise storms.
Concrete Needs To Dry More Than a Day Before Rain
Concrete typically needs 24 to 48 hours to dry. If the rain comes before the 24-hour mark, you may risk your concrete getting damaged. The time it takes to dry depends on the thickness and size of the concrete project you are attempting to take on.
Consider the thickness of your concrete layers. A project can take as little as a single hour to dry and harden if it is a small project like an art project or has a thin layer of concrete. If they are more than a quarter of an inch thick, you may need to wait longer than several hours for your concrete mix to dry.
What Can Happen To Concrete In Rain?
Having your concrete project exposed to rain while the concrete is still wet could potentially wash away the first layer of your project. Larger projects can become severely pockmarked and damaged, leaving you with an imperfect project. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, it is aways good to tarp off your project if there is any possibility of rain.
Is It Okay If It Rains After Pouring Concrete?
Rain can be okay after pouring concrete if your concrete project is completely covered or if it has been drying for some time. Small projects can dry quickly and may not be impacted much by rain.
Light drizzling rain may not have much impact, whereas large droplets and heavy rainfall can completely ruin even a big project by pockmarking. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your project and handle unexpected inclement weather.
How To Handle Unexpected Rain
There are different precautions you can take to endure unexpected rainfall. A shed or overhead covering that protects your project is ideal. You may also want to put some tarp or non-stick covering to keep your project free of bugs or other debris. A plastic sheet will work just fine. Always check the local weather reports.
Handling unexpected rain can be an extra hassle, but taking some care to set up an emergency station for unexpected rain can help. Here are some things to have ready in the case of unexpected rain:
- A large tarp or plastic sheet.
- Heavy objects to place on the tarp corners.
- Duct tape.
- Paper towels.
- A trowel.
Having these items ready can help you save your concrete project from damage and allow you a quick way to protect your work. When unexpected rain occurs, soak up or pat dry the wettest portions of your project with paper towels and cover with the tarp. Use heavy objects on the corners of your plastic sheet or tarp, and use duct tape to seal the edges to the ground, if possible. Smooth out the surface of your project using a trowel if the rain has caused significant damage.
Can You Pour Concrete On Rain-Soaked Ground?
Never pour concrete on rain-soaked ground. The excess rain on the ground before the pour can ruin the structural integrity of the concrete’s bottommost layer, making it possibly brittle and fragile. Excess water below the fresh concrete can change the composition and balance of concrete to water ratio, ruining the careful hydration balance and making it less structurally sound.
This unbalanced ratio may not be as significant for do-it-yourself or art projects but can be disastrous for house projects. Driveways, foundations, or other structurally vital projects could have to be completely redone if a heavy rainfall comes unexpectedly and destroys the fresh concrete pour.
Having plastic sheets or tarps on hand can save you a lot of time and energy, making it easier to save your project rather than watch it be destroyed by the inclement weather.
What To Do If Rain Is Expected
Always check your local weather forecast before starting a concrete project. Preparing for rain or inclement weather can reduce potential risks and manage damages much better than treating damaged concrete. If rain is coming within the next day or two, you may want to postpone a project. However, if rain is predicted three or more days out, you should have plenty of time for your concrete to dry.
One to Two Days Before Pouring
On the day before you pour your concrete, you should check the weather. Ensure that there will not be unexpected rainfall within the next 24 hours. A small project will likely only need 24 hours to dry and can be done in just a few hours.
If your project is large in scale or will need 48 hours to dry, you will want to check the weather report for the following several days. If the weather report is clear, you can proceed with caution and keep your emergency materials handy.
Set out the materials you need in a convenient place, along with emergency materials to protect your project in the case of inclement weather.
Pouring Concrete Requires Planning
While you may be excited to get started with pouring your concrete, you may have to research the type of concrete mix you are using, the weather incoming in the next several days, and the other ingredients in your concrete mix. You will also need to consider the proportions of concrete you are using and how to properly distribute your concrete mix.
Regardless of the project, you are trying to accomplish, you will need to allow the project plenty of time to dry without interference from the rain or other inclement weather. There are plenty of options, workarounds, and ways to help your concrete get the necessary dry time without worrying about the rain.