Believe it or not, concrete does not dry; it cures. So, what is concrete curing? Concrete’s “drying”, has less to do with weather and more to do with chemical processes that occur when you introduce water into the concrete mix.
You may also have heard of the term “crazing” in construction jargon. Crazing is a network of cracks that develop in concrete that dries out. It’s often caused by low humidity, hot sun, or high temperatures.
How Long Does It Take for Concrete To Dry Fully?
This is a common question! But, concrete never completely “dries” or cures. Instead, it continues hardening a little more every day. Even after it has attained “full strength,” the moisture in the concrete will continue to cure.
However, after 24 to 48 hours, the concrete will be initially set, and you can remove any forms that you had placed. It should be solid enough to walk on without leaving prints.
After 7 days, your concrete should be cured to 70% of its full strength. At this point, it’s safe to drive on, but the rule of thumb is to avoid rolling heavy equipment on it.
At the 28-day mark, the concrete should be completely hardened.
Factors Affecting How Long Concrete Takes To Dry
There are a number of conditions that contribute to the concrete drying process.
There are multiple types of concrete with different mixtures and drying times. Quick-drying mixes require less water and cure quicker. Industrial mixes tend to cure more slowly.
If you are in a hurry, you can add an accelerant to your concrete to reduce the drying time.
Water is necessary for the chemical reaction that hardens concrete. Less water content in the mix allows the concrete to dry faster, but it may not achieve its full strength.
Too much moisture in the mixture slows the drying time and causes flaking on the concrete’s top layer.
Temperature & Humidity
Heat helps the moisture in the concrete evaporate quicker. If you are working in cold temperatures, try covering your concrete slab to conserve the heat from the concrete’s chemical reaction.
Concrete Curing: What It Is & Why It Is Important
Allowing concrete to cure is essential to its strength and longevity. The concrete’s strength relies on the development of crystals within its matrix.
Concrete Curing Benefits
- The curing process retains moisture to make concrete stronger.
- It delays shrinkage until the concrete is strong enough to resist cracking
- A concrete cure improves its strength, durability, water-tightness, and wear resistance.
What Is the Problem With Cold Concrete?
Cold concrete takes longer to set. And if the excess water in the mixture freezes, the concrete may be brittle and can even crack.
Pouring concrete surfaces is tricky, but no matter what kind of cement project you have, AM Construction & Concrete can help.
Our family-owned and operated business will deliver the perfect pour, a great warranty, and the answers you need about your project’s curing time.
Contact us to learn more!