The process of curing concrete is both an art and a science. The best and most thoroughly cured concrete yields maximum strength and durability which can last for decades.
Curing happens as the concrete particles and the available moisture form crystals, which gives the concrete its strength. Normally, concrete reaches 70% strength after 7 days, and up to 100% after 28 days.
Ideally, concrete should be cured in temperatures of 50° to 75° Fahrenheit- anything too low makes the process much longer, while anything higher than 90° will result in weak and improperly cured concrete.
But, what if you are located nearer the equator, or planning to do construction during the summer? Is it still possible to work with concrete?
The answer is YES. Here is how to properly cure concrete on a hot weather:
Preparing the concrete mixture…
Yielding concrete with high strength and durability starts with creating a proper mixture of cement, aggregate, and water. These are the best tips for mixing concrete in hot weather:
The pouring area
The design and temperatures of where you will be pouring the concrete is also of utmost importance. Take these factors into consideration before pouring the concrete:
Curing the concrete
Once the concrete is poured, it takes around 2 hours (at 100°) to 19 hours (at 30°) to set, and about 7 days to properly cure, faster (but weaker) on higher temperatures.
Be wary of high temperatures, low humidity, and high wind speeds, as these can all cause faster evaporation, which means not enough moisture for the concrete to cure properly. No matter what happens, concrete should never lose moisture during the curing process, or you will be left with weak, brittle, and cracking concrete.
Here are some things you can do to control the evaporation on curing concrete:
In any circumstance, finishing the concrete should only be done once the concrete has been cured for about 7 days, and there is no more water on the surface.
Why is curing important?
Curing might seem like such a tedious task that you simply have no time for. But here are the reasons why you should do it, and do it properly:
Spending time and giving adequate attention to the concrete is a worthwhile investment. If it is properly poured, set, and cured, the concrete can last for a lifetime!