How long does it take for concrete to cure?
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve recently laid some concrete, are thinking about laying some concrete or have had concrete laid professionally in the recent past. Hazarding another guess, you’ll either want to walk on, drive on or otherwise traverse the concrete you’ve laid, thereby putting weight on your brand new slab.
It will need to cure. That much you’ve guessed right. But first let’s dispel a common myth about concrete. Concrete never stops curing. That’s right, throughout its usable lifespan, the billions of cement particles within the mix react with microscopic water bubbles which continue to form bonds indefinitely.
However, for practical purposes and a timeframe shorter than infinity, here are some general rules of thumb where curing is concerned.
Curing Times for Concrete
Typical industrial concrete will recognise its full workable strength at the 28 day mark. After 7 days of curing, the concrete will have reached approximately 70% strength. For those who are laying concrete in a domestic area, like the garden, concrete is reasonably set within 24-48 hours. This means your little tyke (or the neighbour’s dog) won’t leave their footprints in the concrete but it does not mean the concrete is ready to be driven over by heavy vehicles. Leave that until after the 28 day period.
Factors That Affect Concrete Setting
There are many things you should guard against while laying concrete and allowing it to cure. For the best results, it is always ideal to employ a professional for the job.
- Moisture plays a critical part in the concrete’s overall strength and too little will speed up the curing process. A quick curing process is not a good thing and neither is too much moisture. This will weaken the top layer and cause flaking.
- Hot ambient temperatures, such as extremely sunny British weather, will accelerate the evaporation of the moisture and cause cracking. Pair this with a strong wind and it will be imperative that you set up a shelter for the concrete to guard it from the heat and the drying effects of the breeze.
If you are looking for professional results, employ a professional in construction or a concrete specialist. There are many ingenious ways to ensure concrete is cured correctly, including: ponding, sprinkling, wet coverings, sheet curing, membrane curing and air drying. It will depend what your concrete is being used for as to what method is used. So, if you are unsure about your concreting skills, make sure to consult the experts for results that are guaranteed to satisfy.
Ever Readymix is proud to supply high quality ready mix concrete throughout the Yorkshire region. Whether you require domestic concrete for a single car garage or commercial concrete for a multi-storey car park, we’ve got you covered. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can help from the start if you’re not sure about grades of concrete and quantities and can even provide tips on how to prepare for delivery day. Contact us today to find out more.