Concrete is a common material for construction. It is made of cement, fine aggregates, coarse aggregates, and water. It is great for making columns, beams, and foundations. Because it is created by mixing materials and applied as a wet mixture, it has to dry out.
Approximately, concrete will dry in 24 to 48 hours. However, it will take at least 28 days before you can make sure that it achieved its “full effective strength.”
Actually, concrete does not finish curing, ever. That is because it gets harder every day. That is a function of the cement particles that you mixed with the water. The concrete has tiny moisture bubbles and the cement will bond with them, so it will keep getting slightly harder and harder.
If you need the concrete for a specific reason, then you might want to consider that before deciding the length of time you let it dry. That is because its strength will depend on it.
If you are going to walk or drive on your concrete, you may think about how many days will it take for you to do that without sinking. Actually, it will only take one to two days. After a week, the concrete will already achieve at least 70% of its strength. Do not worry if you are planning on driving on it because it won’t get damaged. However, be careful if you want to move some heavy equipment, you may have to do that after twenty-eight days.
Factors That Affect Drying Time
For your information, there are also factors that may affect the time your concrete takes to dry. It is not consistent and will depend on the conditions you have in your area.
One of the factors is moisture. If you put in less water into your cement mixture, then it will dry quickly. However, because there are no moisture bubbles, then the particles won’t make bonds. Because of that, the strength of your concrete will be poor. If there is too much water, then it may dry for too long and have some flaking on the top layer. It is essential that you only add enough water to the mixture so it is workable, but not saggy, and you will end up with a strong concrete.
Another factor that may affect your concrete drying time is temperature and weather. If it is hot outside, then it will dry faster. If you have cold weather, you may cover the drying concrete with a concrete blanket which is designed to raise the temperature and make it dry quicker. That is very useful if you want to speed up the drying time and if it is too cold.
Lastly, the mixture you made is also going to affect the drying time. When you are mixing the cement, you may add some accelerant, which will speed up the process. However, it may not be as strong as other concrete that did not have accelerants.
Drying your concrete may need some patience, but if you want it to be strong, then you have to be ready to wait.