CD Designs Blog
When working with concrete for any length of time, either as a casual hobbyist involved in DIY projects, or as an obsessively dedicated professional like the good people of CD Designs, you’ll sooner or later run into the term “curing”. For the curious out there, let’s explore what this means in the context of concrete, and why it is so important.
Simply put, curing is a vital part of the concrete process — it is the period during which the cement mixture loses moisture and hardens to develop the strength of concrete. This process is dependant on the rate of moisture evaporation, which in turn is dependant on the heat and humidity of the surrounding environment, and any measures the implementor has taken to control the process artificially.
It is very important to make sure the curing process does not happen too quickly — otherwise the concrete will not be strong enough, and the appearance may be affected in the case of decorative concrete, such as in pattern imprinted concrete driveways and concrete patios, resulting in a patchy or uneven look. The curing should take place immediately after finishing the implementation.
The amount of time of time you should let concrete cure ranges — at least 72 hours is good for all uses of concrete, although concrete will continue to cure and gain strength after that, and allowing up to 8 days is often recommended. For structural concrete, experts advise figures more like 28 days for full strength.
To control curing, you should:
* Consider using an evaporation inhibitor, a chemical mixture added after the concrete has been laid that will slow down the process. Make sure you don’t over-apply the mixture, and consult the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure the one you choose is right for your situation.
* Protect your concrete on bright sunny days — cover it over, and/or cover over neighbouring walls and windows that may reflect heat and light onto the concrete. This is particularly important in the case of coloured decorative concrete, as excessive heat/light during the curing process can affect your colouring dramatically.
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10th November 2011