Homeowners who choose concrete driveways often do so because they are equally elegant and rugged. But it takes a while for the material to become hard and durable. As soon as the concrete contractor in Murfreesboro finishes installing the driveway, the curing process begins. During curing, the contractor must maintain the concrete at the ideal temperature and moisture level so that the driveway will develop its desired properties.
Why Curing Is Necessary
If concrete isn’t allowed to cure properly, it won’t have its maximum strength and durability. The curing process is central to concrete’s capacity to withstand the damaging effects of freezing and thawing. Curing also gives the material greater resistance to scaling and abrasion. If slabs aren’t cured, they will be prone to crazing. This is the development of hairline cracks.
How Long Concrete Takes to Cure
There are three phases to the concrete curing process. The initial phase is characterized by the settling of the concrete mixture. As this happens, “bleed water” rises to the surface and begins evaporating. The contractor will evaluate the rate of evaporation to determine if the bleed water is evaporating more quickly than it’s rising out of the mixture. If so, then it will be necessary to do some initial curing. The intermediate curing stage is when the contractor will perform the stamping, if required. This is followed by the final curing. The initial curing takes about seven days, and for at least the first three days, people and pets should avoid walking on the surface. The total curing process usually takes 28 days, during which time it should not be subjected to heavy equipment.
How Proper Curing Occurs
It’s commonly thought that concrete cures automatically, but it actually needs to be taken care of while the material sets and develops its strength. There are two primary methods used during the first week: Moist curing and membrane curing. Moist curing requires keeping water on the surface at all times, such as by using a sprinkler. The second method involves the use of a liquid membrane-forming compound, called a curing compound. The contractor can apply the curing compound to the surface. Once dry, the substance prevents evaporation.