Understanding Concrete Cure Time and How to Speed the Curing Process
September 17, 2020
Table of Contents
Before concrete becomes the durable and beautiful floor surface you see, it undergoes several processes to fully cure. From the mixing of its components, pouring & leveling, to letting it set, all these processes have an impact on the end result. Environmental conditions also play an important role in concrete cure time.
Why is this important? The time concrete takes to dry is a critical factor in scheduling your construction projects. If you manage to bring this time down, you end up saving time and money. That’s why most property owners choose to hire professional concrete professionals to install and work on the surfaces according to available standards. Doing this guarantees long service.
Armor Coatings has been providing concrete flooring solutions for more than three decades and thus understands how to work on your floors and create the best finishes.
So, How Many Days Does it Take for Concrete to Cure
Once you’ve mixed sand, gravel, water, and cement, it will take about 28 days to fully cure. In some instances, it can take about seven days if you improve the curing conditions. This curing happens well with the availability of moisture throughout the process. It’s, therefore, key to control the moisture levels on fresh concrete surfaces. There are plenty of dos and don’ts when it comes to concrete curing. Some of the things you shouldn’t do include:
- Don’t stain or paint concrete in the first 28 days
- Don’t use your concrete while it’s still fresh
- Don’t subject your concrete to a lot of weight before it reaches its full strength
- Don’t let fresh concrete to get too cold
- Don’t avoid control joints
How to Speed the Time for Concrete to Cure
Your concrete requires attention to detail from the moment of mixing products until its first use. The good news is that we can speed up the curing process by following various guidelines.
Spray Concrete With Water
One of the top ways you can help concrete to cure fast is by spraying it with water. This process should happen severally (five times or more) within a day until the seventh day. Doing this ensures that the moisture trapped in the concrete evaporates gradually.
Concrete experts agree that concrete that uses this curing method is 50% tougher one left without moisture.
Unfortunately, spraying with water doesn’t happen on all occasions, particularly in cold weather. If temperatures fall under 50 Degrees Fahrenheit, the curing chemical reaction slows with the fall of temperature.
Cover Concrete With Concrete Insulation Blanket
If you can’t visit the construction site to spray water as frequently as possible, you should cover it to contain the evaporation process. An insulation blanket or polyethylene sheeting will work great for this purpose. You can use bricks to hold the blanket or sheeting in place. With this method, you can wet your concrete once every day, recover your concrete, and repeat for seven days.
Apply a Curing Compound on the Concrete
Applying a curing compound on your concrete makes the curing process easier. These compounds work to slow down the evaporation process just like in the case of a concrete insulation blanket. They have soluble emulsions that create a thin layer of protective cover and bars water from evaporating, allowing it to cure consistently. Depending on which one you buy, some will disintegrate while others will require scrubbing after the curing happens. Even better, you can invest in a curing compound that multiples as a permanent sealer by penetrating the concrete.
Is Concrete Curing the Same as Concrete Drying?
Concrete curing is different from concrete drying. Curing is the hardening that starts happening once you’ve mixed the ingredients. As mentioned earlier, this process takes between seven to 28 days. Of course, your concrete will continue to harden over time but will be ready for use within a month.
On the other hand, drying is the process of getting rid of water in the concrete. This can take months depending on the available conditions. To speed up the drying process, you can do the following:
- Use accurate amounts of water in the mix. Too much water increases the drying time
- Turn on the HVAC and keep the entry points closed
- While sealing works during the curing process, you should not block the concrete pores during the drying process
- Dehumidifiers can help you remove the moisture from the surrounding air.
Build Your Dream Concrete Floor With Armor Coatings
Armor Coatings has worked on concrete floors for many years and understands the ins and outs of concrete curing. We’ve finished numerous floor surfaces in San Jose and is determined to make more, including yours. We have a range of concrete polishing solutions for concrete on patios, driveways, walkways, pool decks, and more.
We also do concrete overlays, a process that repairs your severely damaged concrete and takes five to seven days to get a beautiful floor surface. By the end of the day, your concrete will look neat, smooth, and aesthetically appealing.
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