Usually, concrete takes around 28 days to fully cure at maximum strength, but this will obviously vary depending on the nature of the mix and the conditions it’s drying under. The problem is simple: curing can eat up a lot of time if you put certain measures in place, but if you don’t wait long enough, structural failures will inevitably cause further delays anyway.
So, to properly boost the efficiency of your project, you need to find ways of speeding up concrete drying which don’t compromise the drying process itself.
Weather is a factor
If your concrete is exposed to the elements, you won’t be surprised to learn that the concrete will dry faster in warmer, sunnier conditions. While this isn’t always an option, choosing to start your project in summer is a surefire way to minimise curing time. Of course, if summer isn’t an option, try to avoid exceedingly low temperatures or extended periods of rain.
Using a heater
Of course, we don’t all have the luxury of choosing when our projects begin and end, so you can always use a heater for some artificial sun. Whether you use a heater or heating mats, be careful not to overheat the concrete. A gentle amount of heat should be enough to speed up the drying time without compromising the mix.
Using warm water
As an essential ingredient in any concrete mix, water plays an important role in the curing process and can affect curing times in a number of ways. For example, if you use slightly warmer water in your concrete mix, you can encourage a quicker reaction and, in turn, a quicker curing time. Avoid water that’s too hot or boiling, however, as this will only serve to damage the mix.
Reducing the amount of water
The amount of water added to a concrete mix is crucial, especially if you’re trying to minimise drying time. This is because the more water you add to a mix, the longer the concrete will take to set. However, be careful not to put too little in either, as this can make the mix too thick and will ultimately compromise its strength.
To limit the amount of water your mix has, you could always opt for a water reducer. They are from the same family as retarders and can reduce the water content of a mix by 5-10% and increase the workability of the concrete.
Avoid hard trowelling
Too much trowelling can cause densification of the concrete, collapsing air pockets and vents. This is an issue because it prevents the moisture from escaping during the drying process which, of course, will extend the drying time.
Whether you’re pouring in hot or cold weather, the quality of your concrete is crucial, and EasyMix supply the highest standard of product for customers throughout London in the domestic and commercial markets. For more information about our concrete services, please contact us today – our friendly team are always happy to help.