Why Is Air Entrained Concrete Vital In Freeze Thaw Climates?

Air Entrained ConcreteSo what is air entrained concrete and why is it so important?

If you are planning to pour a little concrete, it is very important that you get it right the first time because if not then you will only end up costing yourself more money in the long run.

Let’s face it, concrete is neither cheap or easy to place and finish…

This is exactly why you need to know if your concrete will be subject to freeze thaw conditions throughout the year.

What type of climate do you live in?

If you are living somewhere that is subject to colder temperatures, then air entrainment is very important when it comes to having the proper concrete mixture.

Because concrete is porous it will constantly absorb and retain water. And if your concrete is still retaining the water when the temperature drops it will turn to ice and expand.

Once your concrete expands, this is when it is more susceptible to cracking, spalling and breaking.

I hate to say it but if you have already placed and finished your concrete pad then it is too late to be able to protect it. There is no suitable alternative to air entrained concrete.

This is why I say it is important to know whether or not it will be exposed to cold temperatures.

How Does Air Entraining Admixture Protect Your Concrete?

So how does air entrainment actually work?

You can kind of look at it like dish soap or detergent. The air entraining ad mixture actually adds microscopic bubbles to the concrete so that when it cures it has tiny pockets of air.

These small pockets will allow cavities for the absorbed and retained water to expand and contract when it freezes. This will prevent the pressure of the freezing from effecting the concrete.

So I guess the next question would be, what is a suitable air entrainment dosage?

A teaspoon of air entrainer admixture powder is actually enough to freeze thaw protect 5 gallons of mixed concrete. Remember, if you add too much air to the concrete mix then it will affect the overall strength of the mix design.

What Are The Alternatives To Adding Air Entraining Agents On Your Own?

air entrained concrete mixObviously as I stated you can air entrain your own concrete but as mentioned if you do not get this right it can cause unnecessary problems as well.

So here are a few alternatives you can look at….

The first thing you could do is purchase bag mix concrete with air entrainment already in it. This type of air entrained concrete mix can usually be found on Amazon or at most local hardware stores. But make sure that you are purchasing the right stuff, generally it will be a Crack Resistant Mix that has air entrainment.

I Recommend QUIKRETE® Crack Resistant Concrete Mix

And the next option that you can look at is of course ordering from your local concrete batch facility and leave it up to them to supply you with properly mixed air entrained concrete.

Keep in mind that most concrete plants will not deliver any less than 1 yard of concrete at a time. So if you are only pouring a small pad this option might not make sense.

Do you know how much concrete you need? Check out our concrete calculators here.

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