What does it mean to cure concrete?

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Posted on 10 September 2020

Curing concrete makes it stronger and more durable. The process should begin as soon as the concrete has been placed and finished. For the curing process to be successful, the right temperature and moisture conditions must be met. When the concrete has been cured successfully, it has enough moisture for further hydration to take place. It will also become stronger over time and more resistant to thawing, freezing, and abrasion. Read on to find out more about curing concrete in Doncaster and Rotherham. Doncaster Quickmix is the leading local concrete supplier and we can provide expert advice and guidance. 

How long does it take to cure concrete?

It can take varying lengths of time to cure concrete. Factors influencing curing times can include weather conditions and the size and shape of the concrete. If concrete is not cured properly, it will be weak and unreliable. Once the concrete has been poured, the right temperature and dampness must be maintained so curing requirements can be met. Although skipping the curing process can be tempting, it’s likely to be detrimental to the end result. If the curing process is skipped or rushed, this is more likely to affect horizontal surfaces as these can develop cracks known as crazing. A horizontal concrete surface that hasn’t been cured effectively may have very little abrasion resistance as well as low strength.

Can I use the concrete before curing is completed? cement pouring down chute

It should take around a month for you for the piece to be cured fully. However, it is normally possible to use the piece before this point. Concrete mix, finishing techniques and changes in the weather can all affect curing times. You can normally walk on the surface after 48 hours. Some traffic can move along the surface after around a week, and the piece will be totally cured after four weeks.

More benefits of curing 

Curing keeps moisture in the piece so it can become stronger over time. It also slows down drying shrinking until the piece has the strength to resist shrinkage cracking. By remaining patient during the curing process, you can boost durability, wear resistance, water tightness, and strength. It’s important to not simply think about maintaining moisture on the surface. You need to allow crystals to grow inside the concrete too. These crystals require sufficient access to water so the piece can gain sufficient strength.

Maintain the right temperature

It’s also important to pay attention to temperature. You won’t achieve the desired results if the piece is too hot or cold. The cooler the concrete becomes, the slower the hydration reaction. Hydration is like to grind to a halt if the temperature of the concrete falls below 40 F.  If the concrete gets too hot, the reaction will speed up too much. These can result in cracking. The crystals won’t have enough time to grow, so the piece will be weaker than it should be. Try to keep concrete temperatures between 50 and 85 F to get the best results.

Keep surfaces moist

You also need to ensure that exposed surfaces remain moist during the curing process. If these surfaces are allowed to dry out, the concrete won’t get the hydration that it needs. This means it has less resistance to scratching and can become dusty. It’s very important to keep the surface wet for the first seven days to ensure success.  

Is there more than one way to cure concrete? 

There are several methods you can use to cure your concrete. One way you can cure the concrete is to add water to the surface in order to replace evaporated water. You can also seal the concrete to stop evaporation from occurring. You don’t have to select one of these methods over the other. Quality results can be achieved when you use both methods. Avoid adding too much water as this can weaken the concrete and render it unusable.

Essential post-mixing activities

Although the mixing process can have a big influence on the strength of concrete, the steps we need to take after mixing should never be overlooked. Hydration is the key to achieving the quality that you’re aiming for. When the concrete is placed outdoors and exposed to direct sunlight, stresses and cracking can occur due to the water evaporating too quickly. It’s common for construction professionals to hose new concrete down with water as often as ten times per day for the first week. This process is called “moist curing” and slows down the evaporation process. Concrete that has been moist cured during the first seven days can be around 50% strong than concrete that hasn’t.

Does covering concrete help the process? 

Covering your concrete can also aid the curing process. Solutions commonly chosen for covering concrete include polythene sheeting and insulating blankets. You can also use various heavy objects including bricks to hold the concrete in place. The sheeting should be removed daily so that you can add more water to the concrete. You should also avoid painting and staining concrete during the first month as this can ruin the bond and cause peeling. The paint may not adhere as successfully as it otherwise would, and the appearance can be negatively impacted.

Why choose Doncaster Quickmix?

At Doncaster Quickmix, we can assist you if you’re looking for quality concrete in Doncaster and Rotherham. We have been a leading player in our field for several years and are only happy when you are completely satisfied with the services we have provided. All the concrete that we supply meets BS 8500 standards and can be produced to your exact specifications. We offer same and next-day delivery services and are always on hand to help whenever you need advice on finding the right solution for your needs.

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When you choose our services, you can ensure your concrete is delivered quickly to where you need it, when you need it. We are one of the most trusted suppliers of concrete and screed in the region and provide competitively priced products to local councils, highway agencies, contractors, and members of the public. Contact us at  Doncaster Quickmix when you need first-class ready-mix concrete in Rotherham or Doncaster.


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