So, as the first stage of your construction project, whether it is your home or workspace, you have picked ready mix concrete as your first choice. Meanwhile, like a busy city dweller, you are now concerned about how fast your project has to be completed. A big part of it depends on how quickly the concrete dries and allows the job to proceed without any delays. Every novice property builder, as well as those who have worked on a number of projects, comes up with several frequent questions concerning the fundamental qualities of concrete. Among those, the most frequent inquiry has to be – ‘How long does concrete take to dry?’
The answer to this question is actually quite intricate. Generally, concrete never dries completely. Every day after it is set, concrete continues to harden. Understanding how concrete hardens is crucial to comprehend the reasons for this continual process. The term for this continual method is known as concrete curing. Curing concrete is a complicated chemical process. The first step of producing ready mix concrete is mixing cement with water. The cement particles in concrete form chemical bonds with the water particles in the mixture, causing the concrete to solidify. Even after reaching what is popularly thought of as full-strength of concrete, there always remain small moisture bubbles in the structure of concrete. As a result, as long as leftover water particles continue to form bonds with cement particles, ready mix concrete continues to get even slightly harder than before.
Therefore, the real question is how long it takes the poured concrete to be ready for the purpose for which it was laid. The answer to this question is that ready mix concrete will be ready within an incredibly short period of time. It normally takes 24 to 48 hours for the concrete to dry completely, enough for you to walk on the new fresh slab without leaving any footprints. It will not, however, be totally ready to be trampled by big vehicles. If you are using ready mix concrete in your garden or sidewalk or for any other light application, you will need to wait at least 24 to 48 hours before you make it open for use.
Typically, industrial ready mix concrete takes to reach its complete workable strength at the 28th-day mark. Within seven days of curing, concrete will reach approximately 70% of its entire strength. After seven days, it is possible to drive or park on it without inflicting damage, but there will still be a risk depending on the situation. For safety reasons, rolling off any heavy equipment or large/small vehicles has to be held off till the 28th day. After 28 days, it is safe enough to use for all purposes.
The water content is the foundation of the entire curing process. The ready mix concrete will take longer to harden if the moisture content of the new slab is high. It will be vice-versa for low moisture content. In this case, curing is caused by chemical bonds that form between cement particles and water particles, with the amount of moisture in the air determining how long the concrete will take to set. For ready mix concrete to reach maximum strength, the optimal moisture content must be maintained. Since concrete builds strength through hydration, a rapid curing process, like too much moisture, is not a desirable thing. This weakens the surface and causes flaking on the top layer. Moisture is crucial to the curing of ready mix concrete, and the perfect balance of moisture is hard to attain, so professional help must be sought to gain perfection.
When it comes to concrete drying, the temperature has a big impact. Hot ambient temperature causes the moisture to evaporate quickly, causing the ready mix concrete to cure faster. The hardening process will speed up since there will be fewer water particles to make chemical bonds with. This does not allow concrete to adequately strengthen, resulting in cracking. Again, the dry wind will speed up the cracking of concrete in hot weather or during a heatwave. To alleviate this issue, a shelter must be constructed, and the concrete must be kept moist enough to counteract the effects of the dry weather.
Similarly, the curing process will be hampered by cold weather or freezing temperatures. If ready mix concrete is to be poured in the winter, make absolutely sure the temperature does not drop below freezing point within the first 24 to 48 hours. The concrete will crack if it freezes or freeze-thaws too quickly. Heat must be diffused uniformly within the concrete forms, and for this, shelter or some sort of insulation, such as specially manufactured concrete blankets, will be beneficial.
An accelerant chemical is sometimes added to the ready-mix concrete mixture to speed up the curing process. This reduces the time it takes for ready mix concrete to cure and saves time, but the concrete may not be as strong as concrete that is allowed to reach full strength conventionally.
To ensure professional results, a ready mix concrete specialist or a professional in construction can be consulted to guarantee safety and satisfaction.
To finish the job, it gets hard to work with ready mix concrete that dries too quickly because it loses its workability. Because of the increasing rate of the slump, it will not be constant over time. Too-quickly-dried concrete might become chalky or even mushy. As a result of this, the ready-mix concrete gets weak and fragile, with a lower compressive strength and durability. Because warmer weather causes the top of the concrete to dry quicker than the bottom, shrinkage can be observed on the top layer while the bottom will not shrink. These consequences will cause damage to the concrete slab. Moreover, the shrinking cracks only get worse over time. So, concrete strength can be maximized by ensuring that the slab’s top and bottom parts cure at the same time.
Concrete drying is the most crucial step, and the quality and application of your concrete will be determined by how well it cures. It is possible to use a variety of innovative techniques to ensure that ready mix concrete is properly cured. The following are some of the most common methods:
Despite the fact that water is an essential component of the concrete manufacturing process, it has the capacity to damage ready mix concrete in a variety of ways even after it has been placed. As discussed in previous sections, moisture content plays a crucial part in the strengthening process; consequently, it is critical that it be maintained at the appropriate levels throughout the process. So, the question arises- how does rainwater affect the curing process?
Rain is not necessarily a bad thing if the concrete is not particularly new. If the drying process has already been completed, rainwater will have no effect on the concrete. On the other hand, a cover is essential if it rains within 24 hours of laying ready mix concrete in order to keep the concrete from being damaged. Heavy rain that occurs immediately after the pouring of ready mix concrete might result in damages such as minor surface dents etc. After approximately 24 hours, the slab’s surface will begin to cure, and the top will be completely set by that time. As a result, it is essential to protect freshly poured ready mix concrete from the rain before it has got the opportunity to properly cure.
It is always wise to consult a trustworthy concrete manufacturer, such as Mir RMC, who can provide you with the highest quality ready mix concrete as well as proper guidance on how to install your concrete during the rainy season. Simply contact us to speak with a professional about your project.
Concrete’s drying process is never-ending, although it can be used once a set amount of time has passed. Concrete usually sets in 24 to 48 hours, which is sufficient for walking or light usage. However, it takes at least 28 days for vehicles or major equipment to roll off the slab at full strength. Concrete drying is influenced by a number of parameters, including moisture content, temperature, and mix design. It is a critical step in the construction process, and the quality of the infrastructure will be heavily influenced by the concrete drying process.
– The drying process of RMC is a long process that almost never pauses. Concrete keeps on curing each day after being poured.
– Ready-mix concrete usually takes 24-48 hours to be hard enough to walk over without even leaving a footprint.
– After concrete gets set enough to be walked on, it can be considered waterproof.
– No, you cannot take the risk of driving on concrete after three days.
– Raining right after pouring the concrete can compromise its strength and can cause damage.