The toughest job is keeping the concrete cool and wet until it properly hardens.

A good ready-mix plant can prepare concrete with chilled aggregates and cold water (or even ice), plus admixtures to help prolong working time. Don’t add more than five or 10 gallons of extra water per truckload at the site.

Heat, sun, and wind are enemies during a midsummer concrete pour. Time your pour to take advantage of early morning or late evening shade.

Contractors slow down and need more breaks in hot weather, so double up on help to get the concrete off the truck while it’s still fresh. A load that’s 90 minutes old should be rejected.

Too much water in the mix weakens the concrete, but you need to keep water in the mix for proper strength development. Wet the forms and subgrade before you start. Then cure the slab with curing compound; better yet, provide continuous water sprinkling for seven days after the pour.

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