Concrete structures are built to last for decades upon decades. This derives from the fact that concrete is among the most structurally sound building materials used in today's construction industry. DIY-minded homeowners are aware that concrete needs to be allowed to cure, but few understand the intricacies of the curing process. It's not just about allowing the concrete time to dry. The discussion below highlights a few facts about the curing process.
It's Not All About Drying Many people believe that the curing process has the sole objective of allowing freshly-poured concrete to dry. If this was the case, curing concrete wouldn't need to be watered on a regular basis. For concrete to cure as it should, its needs to have a sufficient moisture content throughout the curing period. Frequent application of water helps to keep the curing concrete sufficiently moist.
Frequent Watering Isn't The Only Way Out Maintaining sufficient moisture levels in curing concrete doesn't necessarily have to involve frequent watering. If water supply to your residence is erratic, sufficient moisture levels in curing concrete can be maintained by preventing the excessive loss of moisture from the poured concrete. This can be done using sheets of plastic or impervious paper to cover the curing concrete. In this case, the concrete surface should have hardened enough to prevent the likelihood of damage resulting from the installation of the cover material. Alternatively, membrane-forming compounds can be applied to the curing concrete in order to reduce the rate at which moisture evaporates. These compounds form a protective film on the concrete surface, which helps to retain moisture. Examples of these compounds include synthetic resins and waxes.
It Doesn't Determine The Compressive Strength Of Concrete The curing process can have a negative or a positive impact on the compressive strength of structural concrete. If concrete is allowed to cure as it should, its compressive strength will be enhanced. However, the strength of structural concrete is determined before the wet concrete is poured. This strength is determined by the quality of aggregates used to form the concrete slurry and the mix ratio of these aggregates. For structures to have a higher compressive strength, there should be a balanced mixed of aggregates in the concrete slurry. Once wet concrete begins to cure, there's not much that can be done to significantly increase its compressive strength. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the process is referred to as 'curing', seeing as it's vital to the 'health' of concrete structures.
Contact a company that specialises in concrete services for more information.