As you’d imagine, accomplishing a specified concrete strength is rather important. Concrete makes up our walkways, roadways, parking garages, buildings, etc. If concrete is poured and not properly cured, those things will crack and weaken over time. Ultimately, when safety is at stake, concrete curing better be exacted.
Curing is essentially the process of controlling moisture loss once the concrete is placed and finished. If concrete dries too quickly, it will not reach its optimal strength. Depending on the size of the concrete being placed, curing can take a week or it can take five months. That’s a week or five months’ worth of ensuring the concrete stays moist.
Of course, concrete’s immediate surroundings have to be controlled. Temperature, relative humidity and wind will certainly affect the moistness of concrete.
Temperatures do fluctuate. In certain areas of the country or during certain times throughout the year, it could be hot at one point in the day and cold at another. Concrete is not typically watched with 24-hour surveillance; therefore, specific remedies need to be carried out before leaving the concrete unattended to for part of the day.
Generally speaking, concrete is cured when temperatures are guaranteed to stay over 50° F. This isn’t much of a problem in Dallas, TX; however, temperatures exceeding 85° F are not exactly ideal either. Frankly, there is a reason you see the majority of construction being done in the spring and fall months in Texas.
During curing, the concrete will often be covered to protect it from wind impact. Wind can of course escalate the evaporation process. Workers will make use of polyethylene sheeting or insulating blankets. The sheeting/blankets are kept thin, as they are not intended to increase surrounding temperatures.
Ponding is a technique that has become more and more common in assuring the curing process. In ponding, the concrete must first be surrounded by some sort of sturdy, but temporary walling. Water will then be poured within the walls and on top of the concrete. A pond, or a pool or water will be intact to keep it hydrated. Water will evaporate, but as long as about a foot of water is poured, the concrete should remain hydrated by its lonesome for at least 24 hours. Once the pond subsides, this process can be repeated.
Curing can also be aided by curing compounds. Curing compounds may be sold at your local department store. If you can’t find them there then try contacting a ready-mix concrete company. Basically, a curing compound creates a seal over the concrete, keeping moisture in and external factors out. It very much simplifies the curing process.
We hope this overview has taught you a thing or two about concrete curing. Remember, all concrete needs to be resolved by professionals. As you hopefully learned by reading the above, concrete is very particular, and if anything goes wrong in its development, it can be compromised.