mortar/concrete setting in the cold

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by cedarcroft, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. cedarcroft

    cedarcroft LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    I am 99% finished a small wall/patio and firepit and just need to cap it and install firebrick on the inside of the firepit area. The customer wants it done ASAP but we are (finally) getting very cold weather for the next several days. I really need to finish this so I can get paid, but I am afraid the cold will not let the mortar set up right. any ideas on what I should do? I also have to PL the caps on and I can wait on that, but the bricks need to get in there.
  2. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    Rent or purchase a torpedo* heater. Also for your joints.....well you want a very dry mix so it sets up faster but after you point them take mortar straight out of the bag and dust the joints. It will help it set up faster and harder. Clean your joint with a sponge first or you'll have a mess. Let the joint set up some more and then sponge it and hit it with the heater.

    You can pass off the cost on the customer. Explain the worry of freezing and wanting to deliver a quality product. You can wait and come back in a few days or for $xx.xx I can bring in some heaters etc and take care of the work now. Say the heater costs you $80 charge say $100 extra to cover fuel + a little for having to deal with it. Also, if need be you can get a tent for about $50 at Wal-Mart with sides on it and create an outdoor heated room around your work with just a space heater.

    This may be more detail then you need but those with less experience can take note. Its gett'n cold out so we need to make sure we change practices with it.
  3. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    Try some concrete blankets.
  4. akerr

    akerr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    you can add calcium or mortar anti-freeze to your mix. it will slightly weaken your strength, but it will set up quicker. blankets are a great idea.
  5. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

    We are pouring 2- 3 concrete jobs a week and its 15 degrees outside.
    Calcium Straw Blankets.
  6. wurkn with amish

    wurkn with amish LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    use a propane torch like they advertise for killing weeds.
    mortar anti-freeze also works well.
    There's a concrete company that will mix calcium flakes straight into their mix.
  7. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    For a mortar application.......don't these products tend to promote esfloresence*?
  8. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    We used to use a heavy calcium mix concrete when I did poured flat work. It cures extremely fast though, so you have to be on the ball.
  9. wurkn with amish

    wurkn with amish LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    yes I've noticed the efflorecence when the calcium was used.
  10. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    I'm not sure how large of an area you're working with but the concrete blankets work great. Make a small structure out of 2x4's and then wrap it in a blanket. Make sure to keep all the seams tight where the blanket meets itself and then put a small milkhouse heater inside and let it sit overnight and throughout the next day. You will also want to prewarm the area and materials you're working with as they're installed. I don't recommend torpedo heaters or any means of extreme heat in small areas as you can cure conc/mortar too quick. Also do not use kerosene in mortar/concrete applications either!!!!!!!!!!!

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