Curing is a critical step in the construction of any new sidewalk, driveway, or pool deck. A properly cured concrete surface will allow you to use your new project without fear of cracks, defects, and other issues. However, this curing process is not done just by following the instructions included in your concrete contractor’s bid, but rather there are several critical steps that can help you accomplish a successful curing process. Just like you can fill craks in asphalt using asphalt crack filling equipment, there are certain requirements for concrete curing too. In fact, experts in concrete cutting Melbourne insist upon the following do’s and don’ts of concrete curing to ensure the health and longevity of your concrete surface.
Concrete Curing: Do’s
Spray New Concrete With Water
Spraying your concrete with water is one of the essential steps in curing properly. It allows the new surface to cure quickly, preventing cracks and issues from drying while the water is still trapped in the concrete. You have to wet the concrete slab often with a garden hose or spraying system. To keep enough water in the concrete, do it at least seven times a day for the first 5 days. This way will ensure the curing process goes well.
Do Cover New Concrete
This step is one of the most critical steps of this curing process. After adding water to the concrete slab, you must cover the new surface with a plastic sheet, asphalt shingles, or other waterproof covering material. This helps to keep some of the water in the concrete, and it also prevents unwanted sunlight from drying out some areas of your new concrete surface. You will need to do this for the first three to seven days. Also, remember to use heavy items like blocks, bricks, stones, or boards to weigh down the plastic sheet so it won’t blow off.
Wait 1 Month Until Painting Or Staining
Wait one month before applying painted and stained materials to the new concrete surface. This will help cure the new concrete properly and prevent paint or stains from damaging the concrete. You will want to wait at least a month so that some of the curing processes have been completed and it has had some time to become dry. You can expect some cracking and chipping on your new concrete surface if you put on paint right after it is applied.
Concrete Curing: Don’ts
Do Not Begin Without The Proper Tools
If you are planning to pour new concrete steps, parking lots, patios, or other surfaces, you also need to make sure you have the proper tools for the job. If not, then your project will be delayed or completely ruined. You may even be forced to cure your surface for a short period of time to catch up with the project timeline. Some of the standard tools include:
- Trowels designed for concrete
- Hand Floats and Darby
- Industrial-grade wheelbarrows
- Protective gear.like boots, gloves, and others
- A concrete rake and broom
Don’t Use A High-Pressure Water Gun
Suppose you are covering your concrete with a plastic sheet or waterproofing it with asphalt shingles. In that case, you will want to avoid using a high-pressure power washer, masonry sealer, or other product with a high-pressure water gun. Heavy spray from a high-pressure power washer can crack and damage your new concrete surface in a brief period of time. Instead, you will need to use a handheld pressure washer that has low pressure and is designed to be used on concrete slabs which have been waterproofed with asphalt shingles. This way, the spray will not be too strong, and it won’t crack your new concrete surface.
Don’t Leave New Concrete Uncovered
You should avoid leaving your new concrete surface uncovered for an extended period of time. This will allow the sun to dry out the concrete and allow water to evaporate. If you cover your concrete properly then it shouldn’t take more than 3-7 days before you uncover and use it again.
Do Not Pour Concrete In Bad Weather
You need to be aware that there are certain weather conditions that you should avoid when pouring concrete. For example, if the weather is too hot or heavy rain is expected, you should wait until a better weather day to pour the concrete. This way, the concrete will be able to cure correctly, and bad weather conditions will not disrupt the curing process like being washed away or cracked by heavy rain.
If you follow these tips, you will have a new cured slab ready for you to use. A cured slab means smooth concrete, and durable concrete. The curing process can be fun, exciting, and challenging at times, as you need to make sure you do everything right for the entire process to go as planned.