Everything You Should Know About How Long it Takes Concrete to Dry
While concrete is one of the most durable materials for projects, you still need to allow it ample time to complete the drying process, even with residential concrete projects. Without the right amount of time to dry, the concrete you pour will not harden correctly. This same standard applies to even the best concrete contractors in Calgary.
The drying process
The process of commercial concrete or residential concrete drying is known to those who work as professionals in the concrete business as “hydrating”. Understanding this distinction will go a long way in helping you to allow your concrete to dry properly. Let’s walk through the process of hydrating the concrete as you pour it and allow it to finish.
Step 1: Mixing the water with the dry concrete mix
This step is first in laying concrete, whether commercial concrete or residential concrete and must be completed correctly to allow concrete to reach its maximum curing process. It involves mixing the concrete with water to first lay it before it hardens. The rest of the process will occur over the days and weeks that follow, allowing the concrete to harden.
Step 2: Let the concrete bind the sand and gravel components
After you initially mix the concrete with water, its components of sand and gravel start to mix together and harden. This step has to be completed within a certain amount of time — otherwise, the concrete will dry too quickly and won’t have the strength that is needed to support the weight of the automobiles or foot traffic that it is used for. Ultimately, pour time is limited. With some brands of concrete that you attempt to self-pour, it can be an hour or less. That includes the time it takes to pour the concrete mixture, spread it out, and level it before the hardening process begins.
Pay attention to the weather
When your concrete is hardening in hot or dry weather, the heat from the sun will cause the particles to dry out too quickly. That’s why the perfect type of day to pour concrete is a day that is 15 to 26 degrees Celsius. This temperature will ensure that your concrete doesn’t harden too quickly.
If you’re not lucky enough to pour concrete in these perfect temperatures, you can use the following steps to facilitate the hardening process:
- Use mixing water that is cold or cooled.
- Wet the sand before you pour it.
- Keep the bags of concrete you are using in shade and protected from the sun.
- Pour the concrete during the early morning or early evening to ensure that temperatures are optimate.
Think of concrete pouring as half work time, half finish time
During the pouring process, approximately half of your time will be spent on pouring the mixture and shaping it, while the other half will be spent on allowing it to harden. For example, there is a screeding process, which is the term used when you level the concrete that has been poured to make it smooth. Most professional concrete pourers will use a 2 x 4 to complete this process.
Float the surface
The process of finishing the process of allowing poured concrete to harden involves “floating” the surface to smoothen out the rough edges or rocks that might be present within the poured mixture. You can use an edging tool to create rounded edges or a broom-finish texture to reduce slipperiness, and then a grooving tool to create control joints.
Wait 24 hours
Twenty-four hours is a good overall timing measurement to determine when the concrete can be walked on. Some mixtures will claim on their packaging that this time can be shorter (For example, Quickrete says 45 minutes), but if you want to ensure that the concrete is completely hardened before you apply pressure to it — 24 hours is a good goal.
Or just hire professionals, like concrete contractors in Calgary
If you’re unsure of the hardening process for concrete, it’s best to hire professionals who are experts in the industry and understand the details required to lay concrete correctly, especially for commercial concrete purposes. If you’re looking to hire the best concrete contractors in Calgary, TNA Concrete is here to meet all of your professional concrete needs. Contact us today for a free project estimate!