Looking to get the strongest finish out of your freshly-laid concrete? The best way to go about this would be to take the time to properly cure the slab for some time after installation. Here are some things you may want to know about curing and how long it should take.

What Is Curing?

Before diving into how long you should cure freshly-laid concrete, we must first understand what curing is and why it’s essential. Curing concrete is the process of regulating the rate and extent to which concrete loses moisture. Concrete generally dries up by way of dehydration. However, you can’t just let it try up randomly. The dehydration should be controlled so you can get the most robust and most durable concrete slab. Curing is done by continuously wetting the exposed concrete surface. As you might imagine, this prevents moisture loss. If the water evaporates at a very fast pace, the finished product will be weak, and it might even crack. So how long should you keep the concrete saturated?

How Long Should You Cure Freshly-Laid Concrete?

The entire curing process of freshly-laid concrete can take about a month on average. However, the concrete will be ready to be used sooner than that. You must also keep in mind that each project may vary slightly depending on things like the weather. It’s also important to consider the concrete mix, finishing techniques, and placement. If you are waiting for concrete to dry, you should mind the different timeframes. For instance, in the first 24 to 48 hours after the initial set, you can remove the forms, and it’s possible for people to walk on the surface. After seven days, you can also have vehicles and equipment moving on the surface. In four weeks, the concrete will now be cured and ready to use without restrictions.

What Does Curing Do To The Concrete?

There are several reasons why curing needs to be done. It can help retain moisture in the concrete slab, which allows the concrete to continue gaining strength. Apart from that, the water tightness, durability, and wear resistance of concrete are improved by curing. Concrete strength generally depends on the formation of crystals in the matrix as it dries. These crystals develop because of a process known as hydrate, where there is a reaction between water and Portland cement. In the absence of adequate water, these crystals won’t be formed, and the concrete won’t reach maximum strength. If you ensure that there is enough water, the crystals will emerge like small rock-hard fingers that wrap around the gravel and sand mixture.

Curing freshly-laid concrete is crucial. If you need concrete for your next project, give us a call today.