Pouring Concrete Steps in the Rain

I own a construction company in Keokuk, IA, and I recently traveled to St. Louis, MO to complete a concrete job.

The job was to tear off a porch and stairs that were sitting on top of a stone platform, then form and pour new concrete.

After tearing out the old concrete I decided to pour the top slab first then pour the stairs the following day. The first pour went fine then I formed the steps .

When I awoke the next morning it was cloudy and I asked my partner who is from St. Louis to check the radar. He informed me that after 10:00 AM the forecast was clear. Around 10:30 we had the concrete in the forms and it began to rain. I about had heart failure. It rained and rained, and I was sure we were gonna lose the concrete and have one heck of a mess to clean up.

Well a couple of factors really saved us, and I think when I pour steps in the future I’m going to do things differently because of this experience.

Calcium can be added to concrete to make the concrete cure faster. I had calcium added earlier, because I needed to get home, having a three hour drive. Well there was so much rain that the top of the concrete was absolutely saturated with water. At 2:00PM I finally catch a break, and the rain stops. I had my partner grab a shop vaccum and skim the water off the top of the concrete. I then realized that just the top of the concrete was wet and that the calcium had made the rest of the steps hard as stone. I took a gamble and pulled the forms off the the concrete and started lightly brooming the steps. I repeated this process until the steps set about thirty minutes later.

Earlier I said this experience would change the way I pour steps. From now on I will always use calcium and pull the forms, so you can make a nice finish on the front rise of the steps.

I wouldn’t suggest pouring conrete in the rain, but every now and again a blind sow finds an acorn.

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