When speaking about setting time for concrete, you refer to the time it takes for the concrete to set enough so you don't leave footprints or wheel tracks in it. It generally takes between 24 to 4 hours. With concrete curing time, you refer to the time it takes for the concrete to gain its complete strength, which happens after approximately 28 days.
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The setting time starts when you add water in the concrete mix. Final setting time is when a needle of 1 mm can penetrate the concrete and leave a mark, but a 5 mm can’t penetrate and doesn't leave a mark.
If it doesn't get the chance to set in a proper way, it will lower the quality, durability, and strength of the concrete. The setting time is crucial so the concrete can take people walking on it, cars driving on it and so on without getting any marks.
The concrete will have to be set properly to get all its benefits and characteristics. If you don't let it set properly, it will disturb the curing process. This will cause loss in strength and durability and may also lead to cracking.
The conditions are very important for concrete setting time. We will now explain some of the factors that affect the setting time:
- Weather conditions.
The weather plays a big role for concrete setting times. If the temperature is warmer, the concrete will set faster due to the faster evaporation of water and moisture.
- The temperature of the concrete.
The temperature is important for the setting process. When the concrete cures and hardens, it happens due to a process called hydration. Read the article about concrete curing to learn more.
- The proportions of the ingredients in the concrete mix.
Depending on what types of aggregates and the cement-water ratio, the concrete will take different amounts of time to set.
Read more: Concrete cube test, concrete slump test and concrete maturity.
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No, concrete setting time and concrete curing time is not the same thing. The setting time is how long it takes for the concrete to harden in that manner that you can walk on it without leaving tracks, and the curing refers to the time it takes for the concrete to gain its total strength.
It takes about 24-48 hours for concrete to set to that level that you can walk or drive a car on it without leaving any marks behind.
The general answer is no. You should wait at least 24 hours before walking on newly laid concrete.
If the concrete doesn't get to set in a proper way, it will affect the result. It will show itself in loss of strength, lesser durability and possibly cracking.
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