How to Create Optimal Conditions for Cold Weather Concreting (Even During a Freeze)

Weather conditions can significantly impact construction sites and industrial projects in all seasons, especially during the winter. Wintertime conditions can create extra complications for onsite construction work due to freezing temperatures or fluctuations. With temperatures below zero, the ground will freeze, increasing the difficulty of digging or excavating. The cold weather can even weaken concrete or create problems when curing concrete. Mortar, grout and adhesive may not work in these conditions, further complicating a concrete job.

The environment at the job site will determine your crew’s comfort and work efficiency. Temporary heating sources, such as portable industrial heaters, are essential to keeping construction sites safe and operational during the cold season. Portable flameless heaters can help ensure the safety of your employees and address several problems that arise with winter construction.

Why is Cahill the Industry Leader in Temporary Heating?

Cahill diesel heater used to heat tent on construction site

How Freeze and Thaw Cycles Affect the Curing of Concrete

Pouring concrete in the late fall, winter, and early spring seasons has unique complications. During this time, temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing, causing a freeze-and-thaw cycle. This cycle can occur in a short period of time, especially in Alberta weather. Some nights and mornings will be below freezing, and by the afternoon, they may rise to above freezing.

This fluctuation in temperature can be problematic for concrete as it sets. When wet, concrete has a percentage of water; water molecules will expand up to 9% when frozen. If those water molecules freeze as the concrete sets, it can cause strain on the material. This cycle of freezing and thawing can also lead to expansion and weakness in the concrete itself, potentially causing increased cracking or crumbling over time. Curing concrete during winter is challenging, but some steps can help mitigate the freeze-thaw cycle.

How to Overcome the Outside Temperature

In the middle of a freezing winter, temperatures can range from negative thirty degrees Celcius to above zero. When curing concrete, the temperature must be between 10 and 15 degrees Celcius. How can it keep consistent heat above this set temperature when the outdoor temperature is freezing cold?

The most effective types of temporary heating solutions are industrial portable heaters and temporary hoarding systems. Hoarding systems are contained structures built over and around the concrete area, which can then be heated to the correct temperature. Once a hoarding system reaches the optimal temperature, the concrete can be cured safely in the artificial environment.

A temporary heat source will keep your concrete from going through the freeze-thaw cycle and help ensure the concrete cures safely. While it can take as little as 24 to 48 hours for the concrete to dry enough to walk on, it takes 28 days to set to its full strength.

The Best Way to Heat a Space While Staying on Budget for Your Construction Project

Some construction heaters can cost significant money, especially with larger construction sites. There is a selection of cost-effective heaters, but none quite like the efficient portable flameless heaters from Cahill Heating Rentals. Our flameless industrial heaters use less than half the fuel that other heaters do, and Cahill heaters can warm up roughly the same area as eight heaters of some competitors.

With less fuel consumption and higher efficiency, Cahill heating will help save you money and help improve your job site environment.

Temporary Heating for Construction Projects in Alberta

Cahill believes in sustainability and consistency. Our temporary heating will help get the job done safely and efficiently. Contact us today for a quote, and start your winter construction jobs off right.


We have a variety of portable flameless heaters engineered to meet your temporary heating needs.