When you’re eager to start that driveway or patio project, waiting for perfect weather can feel endless. If rain is in the forecast, you may wonder if you need to postpone pouring concrete or if the job can still get done. With the right preparations and techniques, pouring concrete in the rain is possible for many projects. However, wet weather does create risks that could lead to weak spots or cracks if you aren’t careful. 

This guide shares tips on weighing the pros and cons of a rain pour and instructions on how to follow them. You’ll learn best practices for preparing the site, adjusting the concrete mix, and properly finishing and curing concrete on damp days. While extra care is required, you can still achieve strong, long-lasting results. With this advice, you can make informed choices on when it’s safe to pour and how to pour concrete successfully, even in the rain.

Can You Pour Concrete in the Rain? The Short Answer

In short, pouring concrete in the rain is not recommended and can negatively impact the quality and strength of the concrete. However, if you have no choice but to pour concrete in rainy weather, there are a few techniques you can employ to help ensure the best possible outcome.

Prepare the Site and Equipment

Before the rain starts, make sure the site where you’ll be pouring concrete is well-prepared. Secure tarps or plastic sheeting over the area to provide shelter. Have all tools, equipment, and materials on-site and under cover. Mix concrete in a covered area and transport it to the site as quickly as possible.

Protect Freshly Poured Concrete

As soon as you’ve placed and finished the concrete, cover it with plastic sheeting, tarps, or plywood to protect it from rain and prevent excess water from pooling on the surface. Secure the edges to prevent wind from blowing the covering away.

Allow for Slower Setting Times

The colder temperatures and excess moisture from the rain will slow down the setting and curing times for concrete. Expect the concrete to take longer to set and plan for curing to extend an extra day or two. Avoid walking on or disturbing the concrete for at least 24 to 48 hours.

Apply a Surface Sealer (Optional)

For extra protection, you can apply a concrete sealer or curing compound to the surface once the bleed water has disappeared and the concrete surface can be walked on. A sealer will help prevent excess water absorption and damage. Follow the product directions for proper application and curing times.

With some preparation and care, you can pour concrete successfully even in rainy, wet weather. However, whenever possible, pouring concrete under dry conditions will provide the best results. If rain is expected, you may want to consider rescheduling your project for a dry, sunny day.

How Rain Affects Fresh Concrete

When rain falls onto recently poured concrete, it can have damaging effects that compromise the material’s strength and durability. As concrete sets and hardens, a chemical reaction called hydration occurs. Water is a key ingredient in this process, but too much water too quickly can be problematic.

Dilution of Concrete

Excess water from rain can dilute the concrete, reducing the concentration of cement and aggregates. This makes the concrete weaker and less dense. The excess water also fills air pockets in the concrete that are necessary to allow for expansion and contraction.

Washed Out Surface

Rain can wash away the surface of fresh concrete, exposing the aggregate underneath. This rough, uneven surface is more difficult to finish and seal. It also reduces the amount of aggregate embedded in the concrete, further impacting strength.


As rainwater seeps into fresh concrete, it expands the volume of space taken up by the water and concrete. This expansion creates internal stresses that can lead to cracks as the concrete dries. Cracking compromises the integrity and durability of the concrete.

To avoid these issues when pouring concrete in rainy, wet weather, take precautions such as tenting, applying curing compounds immediately after pouring, and allowing extra time for covering and finishing the concrete. With the proper techniques and timing, it is possible to pour high-quality, long-lasting concrete even in unfavorable weather conditions. The key is acting quickly to protect fresh concrete from the damaging effects of excess water.

Planning Your Concrete Project for Wet Weather

When planning a concrete project during rainy weather, careful preparation and timing are key to success. As the homeowner, you will need to consider how to handle the challenges of pouring concrete in wet conditions to achieve the best results.

Choose a Weather-Resistant Concrete Mix

Pour concrete in the rain using a mix that contains additives to reduce damage from water exposure. A mix with a water-reducing admixture will produce drier concrete that is less prone to washout. An air-entraining admixture creates tiny air bubbles in the concrete that provide space for water to expand during freezing temperatures. Select a mix with a low slump, around 1 to 3 inches, for easier handling in rainy weather.

Protect the Site

Erect a canopy, tarp, or tent over the area where you will be pouring concrete to shield it from rainfall. Secure the covering so it does not blow or sag onto the wet concrete. You may also want to surround the site with barriers like wood boards or plastic sheeting to protect the sides. Have materials on hand like squeegees, sponges, and a hose to remove any excess water that collects on the covering or concrete surface.

Monitor Conditions

Pay close attention to weather forecasts in the days leading up to your pour and be on site monitoring conditions in the hours before you start. Look for breaks in the rain and cloud coverage to identify the optimal time to pour when there will be the least chance of precipitation. Have a plan in place for how to handle the concrete if rain begins in the middle of your pour. You may need additional helping hands and a pump to move the concrete into place quickly.

Planning and protecting your concrete project from the elements does require extra work, but will help ensure you achieve quality, long-lasting results despite the wet weather challenges. With the proper mix, site protection, timing, and monitoring, you can feel confident pouring concrete even when it’s raining.

Tips for Pouring Concrete in the Rain

When inclement weather threatens your concrete pouring plans, it can be tempting to cancel the project altogether to avoid potential problems. However, with the proper precautions taken, pouring concrete in the rain is possible.

The key factor to keep in mind is ensuring the rain does not dilute the concrete before it sets. You must take steps to protect the pour site from precipitation until the concrete has hardened sufficiently

Prepare the Work Area

Cover the pour site in advance to keep the ground dry. Secure heavy-duty tarps, plastic sheeting, or tents over the area where you intend to pour the concrete. Extend coverage at least 10 to 15 feet beyond the pour site in all directions to prevent rain from seeping in from the sides.

Mix and Pour Quickly

Have all tools, equipment, and materials ready so you can mix and pour the concrete promptly once you start. Work efficiently as a team to get the concrete in place before significant rain can accumulate. For smaller pours, consider mixing the concrete on-site to avoid delays in transporting ready-mix trucks through rain.

Apply a Surface Treatment

As soon as you finish pouring and smoothing the concrete, apply a surface treatment like curing compound or plastic sheeting. Curing compounds chemically seal the surface to retain moisture, while plastic sheeting acts as a physical barrier. re-apply or re-secure the surface treatment if rain washes it away before the concrete has cured.

Monitor Conditions

Closely monitor the pour site, especially for the first 3 to 7 days, as the concrete cures. Ensure tarps, tents, and surface treatments remain securely in place. Check that no puddles are forming on the concrete surface. Be prepared to take further action, such as applying additional curing compound or erecting canopies, if rainfall intensity increases.

While pouring concrete in the rain requires extra work and vigilance, if the proper safeguards are taken to protect the pour and promote even curing, you can achieve a successful result. Careful planning and quick action can allow you to complete your concrete project on schedule, even when the weather does not cooperate. With the right techniques and equipment on hand, there is no need to let a little rain dampen your concrete plans.


What happens if it rains during the concrete pour?

Rain can weaken the surface, cause cracks, and affect the overall strength of the concrete.

How long does concrete need to cure before rain?

Concrete should cure for at least 4-6 hours before it can withstand light rain, but 24-48 hours is ideal.

Is wet concrete OK in the rain?

Freshly poured concrete should be protected from rain to prevent surface damage and ensure proper curing.

How long should you wet concrete after it’s poured?

Concrete should be kept moist for at least 7 days to ensure proper curing and strength development.

What happens if the concrete is too wet when poured?

Too wet concrete can result in weak, porous, and easily cracked surfaces due to excessive water diluting the mix.

How long after pouring concrete can you waterproof?

Concrete should be allowed to cure for 28 days before applying waterproofing to ensure maximum effectiveness.


While rain can add complexity and risk to concrete projects, don’t let wet weather deter you. With careful planning, preparation, and protection, it’s possible to pour high-quality concrete even in the rain. Take the time to assess the forecast, have tarps and materials ready, and cure the concrete properly. You’ll gain valuable skills and the satisfaction of creating a durable finished product despite the challenges of mother nature.

At Rhino Concrete Danville, we can help you achieve beautiful, long-lasting results. Follow our blogs to learn more about our tips and guides, or visit our website to discover more about our services. Embrace the opportunity to test your abilities and keep your concrete pouring plans on track, enhancing your home and landscape as desired.

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