The process of laying concrete has become easier over the years and now many homeowners engage in such projects on their own. It is less expensive than hiring a contractor to do it for them.
Great care is often taken to ensure the concrete is poured correctly and evenly. With these tips for concrete drying you can make sure your hard work and your investment offer the best possible results.
Pay Attention to the Concrete as it Dries
Too many people make the mistake of simply allowing the concrete to dry after they have completed the work. Sometimes they are told to check it after 12 hours to make sure it doesn’t show any signs of damage that needs to be addressed before it continues drying. Yet the way in which concrete drying occurs will play a vital role in how stable and durable the concrete is. You don’t want to have problems with cracking down the road.
You don’t want the concrete to dry too fast, but this can be difficult if you live in an area where it gets very warm. You can slow the process so the concrete dries as a slower rate by wetting it down. It is important that you only apply a fine mist to the drying concrete or you can cause damage to it. Using a water hose directly on the concrete is not recommended.
You can also cover it with a sturdy sheet of plastic. Make sure you have it tightly in place though because you don’t want it to move in the wind and get stuck in the concrete. Having it secure in place will also prevent evaporated water from becoming trapped between the concrete and the plastic.
It is important to mix the cement correctly as this too will help prevent too much moisture being in the mixture. As the cement mixture sits over a period of time, the curing process takes place. This is what changes the cement mixture into what we know as concrete. Too much or too little water added to the mix can have a negative effect on the overall look and strength of it.
Most concrete has to be poured during the summer or the spring time in order to deal with the temperature changes. Even on warm winter days, it isn’t a good idea to pour cement. There is too much of a temperature change between the day time and the night time for it to dry correctly.
You also want to ensure there is proper drainage in the area of the concrete. You don’t want to have water running from the gutter down the concrete as it can damage it when layers of ice form. You also don’t want to use ice melt on the concrete at is weakens it over time.
Give it Time to Cure
In the best of conditions, concrete will be completely solid within 72 hours. Many people assume it is safe to walk on it and even park vehicles on it. Yet it takes approximately 30 days for concrete to develop the strength it is going to have. By placing weight on it before that period of time, the concrete bonds weaken. This can result in areas not being even or cracks developing.
If you have framing around an area where you have poured concrete you should leave it for a minimum of five days. Avoid placing anything on the concrete area for at least 30 days in order to get the best looking concrete that will also remain looking great for years to come.