Curing is one of the final steps in concrete production that occurs after placement and floating and has significant impacts for the strength and durability of the finished product. When choosing a concrete contractor, it is important to select one that minds every detail of the process, including properly curing concrete in a wide variety of conditions. The Conco Companies’ skilled team of concrete contractors have years of experience with projects large and small, managing every step from creating the correct concrete mixture for your project to this important curing stage that ensures the mixture achieves its desired properties.
What is curing?
Curing is the process of maintaining the proper amount of moisture, or Optimum Moisture Content, in concrete as it hardens. Water and the correct temperature are required for the cement in the concrete mixture to harden at the necessary rate to create the compressive strength concrete is known for and to avoid shrinkage, cracking, or premature stressing of the concrete. If too much water evaporates from the concrete mixture too soon, it dries out and stops gaining strength. It is important to cure concrete directly after placement and floating as concrete requires maintaining the correct conditions for at least three to seven days as it continues to develop its properties of strength and durability.
How do you cure concrete?
There are several methods for properly curing concrete, and which method to choose depends on several variables. The exposure of the curing concrete to the elements such as day and night time temperatures, the moisture requirements of the type of concrete mixture, and the scale of the project can all be important factors in determining how to most effectively and successfully cure concrete. A few methods for curing include consistently sprinkling or soaking the concrete with water, ensuring the surface does not dry, covering the concrete with moisture retaining materials such damp sand or natural-fiber or synthetic mats and sheets, or adding chemical admixtures during the mixing process that help retain moisture in the concrete.
What happens if you don’t cure?
When concrete is not properly cured, its desired qualities are compromised. Concrete gains strength when it hardens, so controlling and prolonging the rate at which it hardens allows concrete to reach its full potential compressive strength. Improperly cured concrete likely will not bear the loads for which it was designed and can be weakened by shrinkage or cracking. Additionally, improperly cured concrete will not achieve the surface hardness necessary to withstand wear, abrasion, and water infiltration over time.
The Conco Companies are a leading supplier of concrete services for the Western U.S. We got our start in the Bay Area in 1959 by offering clients the best value on a wide range of concrete services and products. Since that time, we have taken a leading role as one of the top concrete contractors in the region. We have four regional offices serving California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Colorado.