Once concrete is poured, it’s important to let it cure for a period of time in order to ensure it’s strong and sturdy. Over time, the concrete will harden more and more and this is a process that can actually continue for years. However, for the purpose of building or using concrete, regular curing will get your concrete to full strength.
Here’s what you need to know about the process.
The process of curing is essentially the drying time that concrete requires. However, it’s also a chemical reaction that results in stronger concrete. The cement molecules bond with the water molecules and this causes the concrete to harden. The reason it can continue for a long time is that your concrete will contain tiny bubbles of moisture, which continue to interact with the cement.
Concrete will dry differently depending on the situation and the environment. How you mix your concrete will affect it, as will the way it is poured and used.
Moisture is a huge factor since this is what causes the chemical reaction. Less water means faster curing, but it also means the concrete will be weaker. The water is needed to make those important bonds, but too much and it will take longer to harden up. When you have too much water, you may notice that the upper layer of concrete flakes away since it hardens first.
The ambient temperature will also have an impact. Heat makes the water evaporate and this can result in faster curing. Cold weather will cause it to take longer for the drying process, but there are options to heat the concrete so it can cure properly even in cooler weather, such as a concrete blanket to keep things warm.
Finally, the actual mixture is also important. Depending on the amount of cement, water, aggregates and more, it could take longer to cure or much less time. There are also accelerants available, but they tend to weaken the end result. If you want fast food, this is an option, but it would be best to let the concrete cure naturally and build strength.
After a regular pour, most concrete is sufficiently cured to hold a person’s weight without damaging the surface in 24-48 hours. You can expect it to be around 70% cured within a week and after a month, it is usually considered to be fully hardened. At this point, you can treat it like any other older concrete surface.
If you’re planning to pour concrete, it’s a good idea to get the experts to handle the mixing and delivery for anything larger than a bike parking space. They can ensure the mixture is right and the amount of moisture is ideal for minimal curing time. Need concrete? Contact New Mix Concrete in Manchester for more information on our services today.