There are some variables when it comes to the best time of year to mix and pour cement for a concrete patio, path, or other outdoor project. In general, if your region has a mild climate year-round, then it's probably safe to pour it pretty much any time of year. However, if you live in an area that experiences extremes in temperatures—hot or cold—then spring or fall are usually the best times of year to pour.
Temperature extremes make it difficult to properly cure concrete. On hot days, too much water is lost by evaporation from newly placed concrete. And if the temperature drops too close to freezing, hydration of the concrete slows to nearly a standstill. Under these conditions, concrete ceases to gain strength. In general, temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit are typically fine for curing concrete.
Breaking it down further, here are the best times to pour cement in regions across the United States.
The Midwest tends to experience cold and snowy winters, short springs, hot and humid summers, and cool autumns. Fall in the Midwest offers the most stable temperatures for concrete projects. However, due to this short window before frost arrives, it might be difficult to book a professional for your project, especially if you don't give them much notice. So be sure to start planning early. And consider learning to complete small, do-it-yourself concrete projects on your own.
The Pacific Northwest is known for its high amount of rainfall compared to the rest of the country. In this region, fall usually offers more dry days for you to get your concrete project done. Plus, the months of September, October, and November typically have the best temperatures—cool but not freezing—for curing concrete in the Pacific Northwest compared to the rest of the year.
The Mountain States usually experience summers with mild temperatures. Thunderstorms can occur in the afternoons, putting a damper on any outdoor project. But summer is still a good time to schedule professional concrete work or embark on a DIY project. Aim to get your work done in the morning hours of June through August to hopefully avoid any storms.
In the Southwest, the mild climate along the coast differs greatly from the inland deserts that have more extremes in temperature. Unlike the rest of the U.S., you can pour cement in these states pretty much year-round, except for during periods of extreme heat. The best seasons tend to be winter and spring when temperatures are relatively mild. The fall months can still have some very hot, summer-like temperatures.
In the Mid-South, the hot temperatures of summer tend to be the worst time of the year to pour exterior cement. Spring and fall are usually the most reliable times to do concrete work in this region, though you might have to plan around rainfall. You also might be able to get work done in the winter if your area experiences mild weather.
Summers in the Southeast can be a challenge for concrete work, as they typically see very high temperatures. Moreover, fall can continue to be hot in this region, also making it unsuitable for pouring cement. Plus, there's the threat of hurricane season to contend with, which runs from June through November. The mild winters in the Southeast are the best time for concrete projects. The early spring also can work before the temperature heats up.
The Mid-Atlantic states tend to experience cold winters that bring a fair amount of snow—not an ideal time for concrete work. Late spring, summer, and early fall all can be a good time to pour cement, though this will depend on the specific temperatures of where you're at in the region. But in general the temperatures should typically stay cool enough for the concrete to cure properly.
States in the Northeast typically experience four distinct seasons. The winters can be bitterly cold and snowy while the summers can be fairly warm and humid. Late spring and early fall are typically the best times to pour cement, as the weather generally is mild. You also might be able to do a concrete project during the summer, as the temperature doesn't often pass 90 degrees Fahrenheit.