Successful cold weather placements require more than just modifying a mixture. The mixture temperature, condition of the substrate, and the placing and curing environment are also important considerations. Generally, one is discouraged from trying to apply shotcrete if substrate temperatures are too cold and the ambient temperature is at 40 °F (5 °C) and falling. There are, however, exceptions for extreme situations such as shotcreting in permafrost ground conditions, where it is not possible (or advisable) to heat up the substrate. In such conditions, special accelerated dry-mix shotcretes (in conjunction with the use of heated materials) have been successfully used. This type of work is highly specialized and not recommended for the novice.
Accelerators can be added to shotcrete mixtures to help overcome cold weather conditions. The accelerator can be either a liquid accelerator added with the mixing water at the nozzle or a dry-powdered accelerator in prebagged dry-mix shotcrete. Caution is advised when using accelerators containing calcium chloride, as the use of these materials may accelerate corrosion of reinforcing steel. More information can be found in ACI 306R, “Cold Weather Concreting,” available from the American Concrete Institute, www.concrete.org.