WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO HARDEN MY NEW CONCRETE SLAB?
What if the concrete is too wet?
Dry concrete is made by mixing sand, stone and cement in a specific ratio. When water is added, it chemically reacts with the cement to form a paste that binds the ingredients together. Water slowly evaporates as concrete dries and strengthens over a long period of time. This process is called hardening and usually takes about 28 days. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when mixing concrete is adding too much water. When concrete is too wet, its final strength is significantly reduced. This can be disastrous for structural projects such as foundations and footings that rest on solid concrete. This is why masons carefully monitor the amount of water they add and mix the concrete as dry as possible.
If concrete gets too wet, it causes excessive shrinkage during the drying process. As a result, the concrete is prone to cracking which can be large enough to damage the structure.
Cover the new concrete.
If you are busy with other projects and don’t have time to frequently water your concrete slab as suggested above, we recommend that you cover your slab with a plastic tarp. plastic to prevent the moisture from evaporating too quickly.
Your local DIY store will provide you with suitable coatings such as:
DO curative concrete slabs.
Pond curing is another great way to cure concrete, and the process is as it sounds: you form temporary berms around a new concrete slab, then flood the indoor area with a foot of water. Three days of pond curing does the job of seven days of wet curing, and without daily attention – just make sure the water level stays above the concrete slab. If it drops, you will need to refill a little. This technique is not for everyone, however, as it takes a lot of dirt to form berms around a large concrete slab. Large-scale builders can use this method to speed up the construction process when pouring foundation slabs, for example, to transition to framing the structure.
If other methods aren’t feasible, there’s an even simpler solution: curing compounds. Available from DIY stores and ready-mix concrete companies, these contain soluble emulsions that form a protective film when sprayed directly onto the surface of newly poured concrete slabs or walls. Ultimately, the film provides a barrier or film to keep water from evaporating, allowing it to harden at a steady rate. Some curing compounds are designed to completely disintegrate after a few weeks, while others need to be scrubbed off after the curing process is complete. Still others, like Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal, penetrate the surface of the concrete, becoming a permanent sealer that waterproofs the concrete to give it a freshly poured appearance. Read the manufacturer’s labels carefully before choosing a curing agent to make sure it meets your specific needs.
What does concrete curing method mean?
Curing is the method of maintaining, during cement hydration, the rate and degree of moisture loss from the concrete. It prevents moisture loss from the exposed surface by constantly wetting it.
One type of flowable concrete that can be poured from a mixer, hopper or truck is wet concrete. To aggregate around reinforcement and around formwork, wet casting is often used for much more difficult sections and requires flowability in the concrete.