One of the most important steps in creating a durable concrete surface is curing it properly. When you pour fresh concrete, it is very sensitive and can be easily ruined by improper curing techniques. That’s why it’s so important to maintain the proper dampness for at least 7 days after pouring.
Curing concrete is a process that begins immediately after the concrete is poured. Often, curing takes place in the first few weeks after the concrete is poured. However, curing time should not be confused with drying time; even though curing concrete helps to prevent shrinkage cracks, the curing process does not speed up the drying time.
Wet Method to Cure Concrete
Wet concrete curing is the most common method and involves keeping the concrete moist for at least seven days after it is poured. This method can be up to 50% stronger than dry-cured concrete.
Spray: To maintain the proper moisture levels, concrete should be sprayed with water frequently. This is known as moist-curing. Most specialists recommend watering the slab 5 to 10 times per day for the first seven days. (Most recommended method.)
Pond-cure: Pond-concrete curing is another option if spraying is not possible. Pond-curing involves setting up temporary berms and flooding the slab with roughly one foot of water. Depending on how quickly it absorbs, you may need to refill the berms, as the water level has to stay above the slab. Three days of this method does the equivalent of one week of spray-curing. Often this strategy is used when builders are pressed for time and need to speed up the curing process.
Cover: Covering concrete is useful for a variety of reasons. Concrete should be left to sit for 2-4 hours after pouring before watering. If it is supposed to rain in that window, the concrete should be covered. Additionally, if you cannot water the concrete as regularly as is recommended, covering concrete helps trap the moisture and slow the evaporation. If covering, be sure to fasten your sheet down bricks, sandbags, or other heavy items. You can easily find these covers at your local construction store. Click here to see an example!
Apply a compound: Concrete Curing compounds are used as an alternative method to curing when other strategies aren’t available. Curing compounds can be purchased from constructions that sell ready-mix solutions. Ready-mixes contain soluble emulsions that form a protective layer over the concrete slab. This helps prevent the water from evaporating, allowing for it to properly cure.
The curing process is important, but it is only one step in creating a durable surface. To learn more about the proper way to cure concrete, as well as the other steps involved in making a high-quality slab, contact EMPIRE PAVERS.
Here is a details guide from the American Concrete Institute for curing concrete:
>>> DOWNLOAD THE FREE GUIDE <<<