How To Cure Concrete

The process of curing develops the maximum strength of the concrete.Cure new concrete when it’s susceptible to cracking and collapses.There are two main ways of curing.Wet-curing covers the concrete with a sheet and keeps it wet for 7 days.It takes time, but it produces the best results.To aid the curing process, spray the concrete with a curing compound.Make sure the weather is warm enough to pour concrete and avoid placing weight on the concrete until the curing process is complete.

Step 1: Wait until the concrete surface is dry.

Water bleeds from inside the concrete and settles on top, making a sheen during the drying process.It shows that the top layer of concrete is strong enough to resist damage.The concrete should be monitored for the right time to begin curing.Start the process when the surface water begins to evaporate.

Step 2: The entire concrete slab can be covered with a fabric sheet.

A fabric sheet keeps the concrete moist.The best fabrics are cotton and burlap.If you don’t have other fabrics, normal sheets are acceptable.Measure the concrete area to see how much fabric you need, then get a sheet that will cover the whole thing.Multiple sheets can be used for larger slabs.It doesn’t matter how many you use if the concrete is covered.Place the fabric down after it is soaked with clean water.There are chemicals that could stain the concrete.If you can, find a light-colored fabric that reflects sunlight better than a dark color.

Step 3: The concrete should be covered with the fabric.

The fabric should be rolled over the entire surface once the concrete is strong.If the concrete is raised, make sure the edges and sides are covered.Look around the perimeter to make sure no concrete is visible.The areas that are still showing should be covered.Don’t step on the concrete while doing this.It isn’t strong enough to support weight.

Step 4: Take the sheet and put it in the water.

When you wash the sheet, re-wet it so that it doesn’t get wet when you lay it down.Continue watering until the whole sheet is wet.Don’t spray a lot of water.It will work if you wet the entire sheet.A sprinkler can work.If you can reach without stepping on it, place the sprinkler on the center of the concrete.If you can’t reach the center of the concrete, place the sprinkler on the edge and angle it inward.The sprinkler should be stopped until the sheet is completely wet.

Step 5: Put a plastic sheet over the fabric to keep it dry.

Don’t let the parts stick out of the cover.The curing process is helped by this covering locks.Light or transparent plastic can be used for high temperatures.If you want to absorb more sunlight, use dark colored plastic.Place buckets or similar heavy objects on each corner of the plastic to keep it from blowing away.It’s not a requirement to use a plastic sheet, but it keeps the water in more efficiently.Keep the fabric sheet wet if you don’t have a plastic sheet.

Step 6: Re-wet the fabric sheet every day.

If the sheet is drying out, re-wet it.Remove the plastic and spray the fabric to keep it moist.Recheck the fabric multiple times a day.If you don’t use a plastic sheet, the fabric may need rewetting as many as 10 times a day.When the fabric is drying out, wet it whenever you can.

Step 7: The covering needs to be removed after 7 days.

The wet-curing process is completed when the concrete is constantly wet for 7 days.Remove the plastic and fabric to finish the job.The concrete is not strong enough to support heavy weights.Wait another week before driving your car on concrete.

Step 8: The needs of your project are what you should consider when choosing a curing compound.

If you don’t want to constantly monitor and re-wet the concrete, a curing compound can be used.Look for a curing compound when you visit a hardware store.Find a product that is best for your needs by comparing products.Light-colored compounds are usually transparent.A colored one reflects the sunlight better than a transparent one.For hot, sunny climates, use a colored one.Some compounds need to be scrubbed off.To find out which type you have, check the product packaging.If you plan on painting the concrete, use a compound that is non-reactive with paint.If you don’t know which product is right for you, consult a store employee.

Step 9: Wait for the water sheen to evaporate before applying the compound.

When concrete is wet, water settles on the surface and causes a sheen.The top layer is strong enough to resist damage when this is gone.The compound soaks into the concrete and leaves the surface uncovered.Wait about an hour for the surface water to evaporate.The concrete is ready for curing.

Step 10: The compound should be sprayed or brushed on the concrete surface.

Some curing compounds come in a spray bottle, while others have to be brushed on with a paint roller.The compound should be applied across the entire concrete surface.Don’t forget about the sides and edges.The normal compound coats cover an area of 150–200 sq ft (14–19 m) per 1 US gal ( 3.8 l), but always check the product for recommended coat thickness.The compound pool should not be allowed in any spots.Spread it evenly by moving the sprayer or roller.As the stream weakens, stop pumping the spray as soon as you can.If you’re using a sprayer, make sure you wear goggles.Do not press down hard with the roller.The concrete is not strong enough to handle pressure.

Step 11: The compound should be left undisturbed for 7 days.

Leave the compound to do its job after spraying it.It protects the concrete from the curing process.The curing process usually ends after 7 days.Different products have different application times.Follow the directions on the product.

Step 12: If the compound doesn’t break down on its own, scrub it off.

Some curing compounds need to be removed.Gloves and goggles are needed to protect yourself.Use a steel bristle brush to clean the compound.Remove everything from the concrete surface.To get rid of the compound, spray the concrete down with a hose.The job is much easier with steel-bristle brushes.Rent or buy one that has this feature.To confirm the correct removal method, double check the instructions on your compound packaging.

Step 13: For at least 7 days, pour concrete when the temperature is above 50 F.

Check the forecast for the next week as concrete cures best in temperatures over 50 F.The right time to pour the concrete is if you can expect warm temperatures.It’s best to pour in the spring or summer to avoid cold weather.If there is a sudden cold snap after pouring the concrete, professionals usually protect it by building a structure around the site and using a portable heater.It is the best option to protect the concrete.

Step 14: Walk on the concrete for 24 hours.

The concrete can’t handle a lot of weight.Before stepping on it, let it dry for a full 24 hours.If you are water-curing the concrete, make sure to avoid stepping on it while you re-wet the fabric.If the concrete is in an area with a lot of foot traffic, hang signs warning about wet cement.Make sure pedestrians know they can’t walk on the area.

Step 15: Only after 10 days have passed can you drive on the concrete.

The concrete can’t handle excessive weight until it cures completely.If the concrete is in your driveway or a similar area that cars drive on, wait at least 10 days before parking your car.If you have a large vehicle, wait 28 days before parking it on the concrete.If this is a commercial area with a lot of vehicle traffic, wait 28 days.The weight of vehicles can cause the concrete to sink.

Step 16: The concrete should be hardened for a month before being painted or stained.

New chemicals can interfere with the curing process.Wait a full month before applying any paints or stains.Remember to get a curing compound that is nonreactive with paint if you want to paint the concrete.