Concrete Curing Time - Explained By Converge

April 25, 2022

Concrete curing time vs concrete drying time

Concrete curing time doesn't mean the same as concrete drying time. Minimum drying time for concrete is usually 24-48 hours. It won’t be completely dry by that time, but dry enough for people to be able to walk on it. The drying process is long, and the concrete will have full strength after about 28 days. What you should also keep in mind is that the drying time can differ depending on, for example, temperature or what kind of concrete mix that has been used. However, these are good time frames if you want to know the approximate drying time.


The curing time for concrete is the time it takes for the concrete to get its physical characteristics. Concrete curing and concrete drying happen simultaneously and are crucial for the quality and durability of the finished product. After pouring the concrete, it is crucial to keep it at the right temperature and humidity. Uncured concrete can commonly gets small, fine cracks which will affect the strength, it also doesn’t look great.


Fun fact: concrete never stops curing. The process continues and the concrete continues to gain strength, like a fine wine.

Learn more: What concrete is made of and what the differences between concrete and cement are.


What does curing time for concrete mean?

The curing time is a very important process that determines the strength of the concrete. In fact, when the concrete is curing it’s simply the process of the cement and the water binding together. If the mixture lacks water, the ingredients can't create crystals in the concrete matrix, and therefore, lack in strength. The creation of the crystals in the cement and the water is called hydration.


Simply put, the curing helps the concrete gain its strength and protects it from cracking until the concrete is strong enough to withstand the pressure on its own. If concrete is cured correctly, it will become stronger, more durable, and resistant.


Read more: The setting time for concrete, what are concrete slabs and concrete maturity.


Factors that affect the curing time of concrete

Concrete needs dampness to be able to cure correctly. By upholding the level of moisture, the hydration-process will be maintained, and the strength of the concrete will continue to increase. However, a good thing to know is that too much water will give the opposite effect. Therefore, it is important to let someone with experience help in the curing process.


The temperature is a crucial factor when it comes to concrete curing times. By temperature, we are referring to the temperature of the concrete, not necessarily the temperature of the air. Although the concrete's temperature will be affected by the air's temperature. We will explain this further down below.


Concrete curing in cold temperatures

Letting concrete cure in cold weather is not a good idea. If you are pouring the concrete in cold weather, you should always avoid freezing point during the first two days of the curing time. If the temperature reaches below 10°C (50 F) the curing will slow down, and almost stop completely at around 4.4°C (40 F).


You can avoid the freezing by isolating or protecting the concrete from the cold. If the concrete should freeze, it can cause cracks, no one wants that to happen.


Concrete curing in hot temperatures

Hot temperatures will, just as cold temperatures, affect the curing time of concrete. Letting concrete cure in hot temperatures will have the opposite effect from curing in cold temperatures - the curing will go too fast.


The curing process (hydration) creates heat when producing the crystals, which can cause differences in the temperature of the concrete. This can further lead to cracks. To avoid cracking, you can protect the concrete with some kind of cover and try to keep the level of moisture right.


Read more: Do you want to know more about concrete slump test or concrete cube test? Click on the links to learn more!

Want a better way to track your concrete strength?

Use our AI powered concrete sensors to maintain quality whilst saving time & money.

Learn more about Converge Signal.


Frequently asked questions


What is curing of concrete?

Concrete curing time is the time it takes for the concrete to get its full strength. Factors such as temperature and dampness affect the curing time.


Is it bad to cure concrete in hot weather?

Yes. This is because the heat will speed up the curing process. It can cause cracks in the concrete, stopping the concrete from gaining its full strength.


Is concrete setting time and curing time the same thing?

No. When talking about curing time of concrete, we refer to the time it takes for the concrete to gain its strength. When speaking of concrete setting time, we refer to the amount of time it takes for the concrete to withstand some amount of pressure and not get any damage.


How long does it take for concrete to completely cure?

Concrete has gained its full strength 28 days after the pouring. However, concrete never stops curing and just gets stronger over the years.


Is water important for the curing of concrete?

Yes, water is very important in the process of curing concrete. The water in the concrete mix is crucial for the hydration because it creates crystals when it reacts with the cement. The crystals give the concrete its strength.

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