Can You Pour Concrete on Wet Ground? (Read First!)
You might assume that pouring concrete on wet ground is a bad idea. However, the real answer to whether or not it is OK to start a concrete project after it rains might surprise you.
You can pour concrete on wet ground. It is way better than pouring concrete on soil that is completely dry. There are times when soil can be too wet to pour concrete, especially if it is so saturated that it cannot hold its shape. But most of the time, pouring concrete on damp ground is alright.
While pouring concrete on wet ground is generally permissible, there is a bit more to consider before starting such a project. The sections below will supply you with the essential insights you need.
Why It’s OK to Pour Concrete on Wet Ground?
The main reason it is OK to pour concrete on wet ground is that concrete does not need to dry out after you pour it, despite what many people assume. Instead, concrete goes through a process called curing.
Unlike drying, curing does not involve moisture evaporating out of the poured concrete. In fact, concrete curing is a chemical process that allows the concrete to solidify and requires a certain amount of moisture.
Moisture is so important to the curing process that you’ll typically find professional concrete workers wetting their concrete continuously after pouring it. As such, a moderate amount of wetness in the soil will not threaten the integrity of your newly poured concrete at all.
Interestingly, since curing requires moisture, pouring on wet ground is the ideal option. And as we’ll discuss later in this article, pouring concrete on dirt that is entirely dry may be detrimental.
Make Sure the Ground Holds its Shape
Although it’s fine to pour concrete on wet ground, there are some cases where the ground can be too wet to pour concrete. The surest sign that this is the case is that the soil is too waterlogged to hold its shape.
If the ground below your concrete cannot hold its shape, it won’t be able to support the weight of your concrete. When this is the case, you can expect your concrete to settle and crack over time.
Waterlogged soils are usually easy to identify. If there is a lot of mud or standing puddles of water where you hope to pour your concrete, there is a high chance that the soils are soaked through and will be unable to hold your concrete.
Compact the Ground Before You Pour
Professional construction workers are well aware of the importance of compaction when working on a paving project. However, many homeowners and DIYers don’t understand how vital compaction is to the long-term success of your new concrete.
Compacting the soil before you pour concrete ensures no significant air pockets in the ground that could collapse later and cause settling. The compaction process will also be a good indication of how well your soil holds its form.
Many tools exist that you can use to compact your soil. But regardless of which you use, compaction is as crucial to the longevity of your concrete as any other part of the process.
While you compact the ground, you’ll also have a chance to evaluate the strength of your soil. If the soil stays in place after compaction, it is likely strong enough to support your concrete. But if your soil continues to slump and slide after compaction, it is probably too wet to pour concrete.
Why Shouldn’t You Pour Concrete on Dry Ground?
Pouring concrete on the wet ground might seem concerning to some, but the opposite scenario is surprisingly much worse. Pouring concrete on the dry ground can disrupt the curing process and detract from the strength of your new concrete.
As we mentioned earlier, concrete curing requires some moisture within the concrete. When you pour concrete on dry ground, soil can begin to absorb moisture from your concrete.
When your new concrete loses its moisture, it cannot cure properly, causing it to become incredibly weak. It’s wise to wet the ground before pouring your concrete to prevent this issue.
Can You Pour Concrete While it is Raining?
Although moisture is necessary for the concrete curing process, pouring concrete during a rainstorm is not a good idea. The biggest problem here is that falling rain can affect the finished surface of your new concrete.
Rain can create a weak surface, decrease overall strength, and cause your finished concrete to give off significant dust once it has set. Cracks and uneven areas can also form in your concrete, and the harder it rains, the worse the damage will be.
Fortunately, you can protect your concrete if it rains while you pour. The best way to do this is to set up tents or tarps above your concrete to keep the rain off of it.
What if it Rains after Pouring Concrete?
Rain that arrives just after you pour concrete can be just as damaging as rain that arrives while you pour. However, if your concrete has a chance to set for about eight to ten hours, it should stay intact. Rain that comes after about ten hours is not likely to harm your concrete, as the concrete will have had ample time to solidify its form.
Since rain can be a threat just after pouring, you might want to consider covering your concrete. Some short-term protection can go a long way towards ensuring that your new concrete stays strong and looks its best over the long term.
Wet ground does not prevent you from pouring concrete and will actually benefit the process. As you now know from the article above, some amount of moisture is helpful for concrete curing, and as long as the ground is not so wet that it can hold its form and it is not currently raining, you shouldn’t face any rain-related issues when pouring your concrete.
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