Concrete Moisture Content and Cold Temperatures

Observations of a Concrete Moisture Tester

The recent warmer weather may have had you thinking that it’s time to put those heaters away. Your concrete floors are fine, right?

Not so fast.

This week tens of millions of people from the Rockies to the High Plains have been affected by a major spring snowstorm. Cold temperatures and blizzard conditions sure do make driving tough. But did you know it also increases the drying time for concrete floors? If your concrete floors still have high moisture content, you need to take the necessary steps.

A number of new concrete floors continue to test with high rh values. You may think that because your concrete is six months old, that it “has to be dry.” We’ve heard this over and over again. While time is an important factor in drying concrete, it will still only dry at a minimum of 51 degrees.

For example, if a concrete slab is drying at under 50 degrees, it’s drying slower. Therefore, one month of drying may be equivalent to two weeks of drying at a higher temperature. That’s right – concrete floors can dry up to 50 percent slower when they’re cold!

Concrete is complicated with many factors affecting its hardness, density, appearance, porosity, and drying time. The common denominators affecting drying time are:

  • air movement
  • temperature
  • surface porosity

Keeping the environment at a temperature that optimizes drying time is something that you can fully control.

Keep those heaters burning in order to ensure a faster drying time for your concrete slabs and keep your project on track.

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