This week, we take a closer look at one of the more perplexing aspects of concrete installation; concrete curing. Sound curing practices are crucial to ensuring the strength, quality and durability of a concrete structure and it is one of the most important aspects of the concrete services we provide.
What is it?
Concrete curing is the process of controlling the rate of moisture loss from concrete during cement hydration. The cement hydration period is when the chemicals within the major compounds of the cement react with water to form chemical bonds known as hydrates. Different compounds react with water at different points of the curing process, to give the concrete strength as it transitions into it’s final, solid form. Broadly speaking, concrete sets within 48 hours of being poured and is suitable to walk on, but it takes around 28 days for most mixtures to completely cure, but can take up to 180 days.
How is it done?
Curing is a manual process where the concrete is wetted down and then either placing a membrane (like plastic sheeting) over the surface to trap moisture, leaving the timber framework in place, or applying a chemical curing agent.
Why is it important?
The strength and durability of concrete is dependent on the curing process. Studies show that concrete surfaces which are simply allowed to dry out attain just 40% of the strength that properly cured concrete has, whilst keeping it moist for 28 days ensures a strength result of at least 95%. Curing also plays an important role in preventing concrete cracking, which is one of the major causes of deterioration.
What happens if it goes wrong?
If you don’t have properly cured concrete, then you may as well not have any concrete at all. Without curing, properties strength, durability, and resistance to harsh climates that make concrete one of the most popular building materials are essentially nonexistence. Inadequately cured concrete is weak, vulnerable to freezing and thawing conditions, and likely to have a much shorter lifespan than concrete which is properly installed.
Icon Concrete offer a diverse range of concrete installation services which encompass best practice curing processes. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling us on 0402 082 472.