How long does it take for concrete to cure?
Once you’ve laid fresh concrete, or had a professional do it for you, you’ll want to know how long it will take before you can drive on it, walk on it or otherwise use it for its intended purpose. Many factors can influence how long concrete curing takes, for example, any additives in the mix or climate conditions. However, below, we will aim to give you a guide as to how long it takes for your concrete to cure.
How long until you can walk on concrete?
After your concrete has been freshly poured, you should wait 24-48 hours before walking on it. Initially, concrete starts to cure and set quickly, meaning that just after a day or so, your new concrete surfacing – whether that’s a driveway or new basement floor – can handle foot traffic. The rate of concrete curing tapers off quite dramatically though and so for your surfacing to successfully receive heavier loads, you’ll have to wait longer.
How long until concrete cures?
Once you have laid your concrete, it will reach its strength capacity after 28 days. It is after this 28 day time period that you will be able to drive on the fresh concrete.
You will have chosen your concrete according to a number of factors, including its strength. It is around the month mark that your concrete should have cured to the point of its desired, and advertised, strength. When the strength of a concrete mix needs to be measured, it should be tested after it has been curing for 28 days, at which point approximately 80% of the hydration process will have occurred. At this point, your concrete will be fully usable, which is why this time limit is set.
Curiously, concrete will never fully cure as the process simply continues at a very slow rate for a near infinite amount of time.
Conditions which affect curing time
Curing requires moisture levels and temperatures to be managed to ensure the process can occur successfully. Improper curing can reduce the strength of your concrete by as much as 50% and contribute to problems such as cracking, shrinkage and dusting. Some conditions which will affect curing include:
- Hot temperatures: if conditions are too warm, moisture will evaporate from the concrete too quickly – this can result in less time for the concrete to harden and increased likelihood of cracking
- Cold temperatures: so long as the temperature stays above 5°C, cold weather won’t damage your concrete – but it may cure at a slower rate
- Freezing temperatures: if conditions are very cold, the water in the cement mix risks freezing – this will cause the water to expand and can cause cracks throughout your concrete
Easycrete are experts in concrete who supply customers throughout Surrey and the neighbouring areas with high quality mixes which are tailored to your requirements. With a large fleet of drum and volumetric lorries, we can offer both ready mixed and volumetric concrete for projects of all sizes. Contact our helpful team today with any enquiries.