When you pour premixed concrete, its sensitivity means that it can be easily ruined. Proper concrete curing ensures a strong and durable concrete surface. However, you have to follow the proper concrete curing process. In this post, we look at what concrete curing is and how you can enjoy the best results.
What is Concrete curing?
Concrete curing refers to the process of maintaining adequate moisture in concrete within a proper temperature range to aid cement hydration. Concrete hydration is the chemical reaction between the cement and water, resulting in the formation of various chemicals that contribute to settling and hardening.
Therefore, proper concrete curing is critical as it helps your concrete surface to last longer and supports weight. The question is, how do you ensure a proper concrete curing process? Here are important tips to bear in mind when it comes to concrete curing.
Spray concrete with water
After pouring the premixed concrete, allow a day or two for it to settle and then spray the new concrete with an adequate amount of water. Spray the concrete with water at least five times a day, or as often as needed.
Spraying concrete with water allows the moisture in the concrete to evaporate slowly. Ideally, moist-cured concrete should be up to 50% stronger compared to concrete poured during cold weather. Note that concrete spraying is not recommended for concrete poured at this time.
Cover new concrete
When you do not have time to spray the concrete with water as many times a day as necessary, another option is covering the concrete so it can trap moisture and slow evaporation. You can use polythene sheeting to cover new concrete. Before covering, make sure you wet the surface thoroughly. Remove the sheeting daily and wet the concrete before recovering it again.
Don’t let new concrete get too cold
The best time to pour concrete is when temperatures are expected to remain above 50 degrees for five to seven days. However, with the arrival of an unexpected cold front, plans could go awry. Under such circumstances, the focus shifts from keeping the concrete damp to keeping it warm enough so the chemical hardening process is not interrupted. Note that concretes chemical reaction slows at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and stops completely at 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, when temperatures are low, the chemical reaction is dormant and the concrete won’t gain strength.
When the temperatures drop, newly-poured premixed concrete should be covered with insulating blankets.
Avoid painting concrete in the first month
Any paint or stain applied on young concrete while it is still hardening will affect the residual moisture or the changing chemical content. It takes about a month for all of the water to get used up in the hydration process. Painting the surface too soon while the moisture is still rising to the surface could put pressure underneath the hard paint barrier.
Concrete curing plays an important role in ensuring durability and strength. Curing takes place immediately after concrete placing and finishing. The process involves maintenance, temperature control, and ensuring the desired moisture throughout. Therefore, when you pour pre-mixed concrete, we advise following the proper curing process.