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How Long Does Concrete Take to Dry?

How Long Does Concrete Take to Dry?

Posted By:Dynamic Concrete Pumping , Date: Apr 22, 2019

Workers Smoothing Concrete Before it Dries

Concrete typically takes 24 to 48 hours to dry enough for you to walk or drive on it. However, concrete drying is a continuous and fluid event, and usually reaches its full effective strength after about 28 days.

Here are some of the basic facts regarding the question of concrete drying time.

How Long Does Concrete Take to Cure Completely?

The answer is that concrete never cures completely. It is always hardening a little bit more each day. The way concrete hardens is a function of the cement particles reacting with the water it is mixed with. As the cement bonds with the water molecules, the concrete gets harder. There are always tiny moisture bubbles in your concrete, so even after achieving what is commonly thought of as “full strength,” your concrete will keep getting slightly harder.

The real question is how long does concrete take to set enough for whatever your purposes are for the concrete. For example, how long before you can walk on it without leaving footprints, drive or park on it without sinking into it, etc.

The answer is that your concrete will be ready in a surprisingly short time. Your concrete should be solid enough to walk on, without leaving footprints, after anything from 24 to 48 hours. By seven days, your concrete should be cured to at least 70 percent of its full strength. You will probably be able to drive on it without damaging it, although you may want to hold off on rolling heavy equipment over it. In 28 days, you can treat your concrete as fully hardened.

What Are Some of the Factors That Affect How Long Concrete Takes to Dry?

How long does concrete take to dry under different conditions? Concrete drying times are not necessarily consistent across situations. There are several factors that can affect concrete drying time. Some of these include:

  • Moisture: It is the cement’s interaction with water that causes the curing process. If there is less water, the concrete will cure more quickly. This is because there are fewer bonds to make, meaning your full-strength concrete may not be as strong as you need or expect it to be. If there is too much water, it will take longer to cure and you may see flaking on the top layer of concrete.
  • Temperature: When it is hotter, moisture evaporates faster, meaning your concrete will cure faster. You can cover your concrete with a specially designed concrete blanket to make it hotter so that it will cure faster. This can be especially useful when trying to cure concrete in cold weather conditions.
  • Mix Design: If you need your concrete to cure faster, you can add an accelerant to the mix. While this speeds-up the setting time, your full-strength concrete may not be quite as strong as concrete allowed to cure to full strength normally.

For more facts about concrete or concrete pumping servicescontact Dynamic Concrete Pumping.

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-Updated 3/11/2020

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