Concrete cures through a chemical process, but true curing also requires the excess water in the mix to evaporate. In most cases, a concrete pavement will be dry enough to use before it is fully cured. A case in point is the Hoover Dam, which was completed in 1936. Engineers estimated that natural curing would take 125 years, but they were able to accelerate the process by using some innovative methods. Nevertheless, there are some parts of the dam in which the concrete is not fully cured, but they are getting stronger and harder every day. Thus, when people ask an Austin concrete company how long it takes new concrete to cure, they are usually interested in when they can start using their new pavement. A new concrete pavement can be used as soon as it is sufficiently dry, and drying time typically depends on the slab thickness, the weather conditions, and the mix. In most cases, concrete can usually be walked on between 24 and 48 hours after installation. Parking lots, dumpster pads, and similar pavements typically need a minimum of one week to dry sufficiently. However, complete curing usually takes about four weeks for every inch of slab thickness. That said, there are ways to speed up the drying time of concrete if the contractor takes certain steps before and after the pour.
What Is the Most Important Step That an Austin Concrete Company Can Take Before a Pour to Accelerate Drying Time?
One of the most important steps that a concrete company contractor needs to take prior to a pour is to ensure the quality of the mix.
1. The amount of water in the mix has a direct bearing on the concrete’s drying time. Therefore, concrete company contractors should request and verify that the ratio of water and cement in the mix is no more than 0.50.
2. Lightweight aggregates in the mix tend to increase the drying time because they are highly absorbent. However, synthetic aggregates are also available to a concrete company in Austin TX. These synthetic aggregates do not absorb water, so the concrete will dry faster.
3. Depending on the project, there are other modifications that a local concrete company can make to the mix. For example, increasing the cement in the mix will allow the concrete to dry faster. There are also accelerants that can be incorporated into the mix. However, these adaptations are more suitable for sidewalks and other pavements that will not support vehicle traffic.
What Else Can an Austin Concrete Company Do Prior to a Pour to Accelerate Drying?
Immediately before a concrete company installation, contractors should perform two critical steps.
1. Obtain an accurate weather forecast for the next few days. Experienced professionals who offer concrete company services know that drying will occur faster when the weather is warm and humidity levels are low. They also do not want rain to fall before the concrete has time to set sufficiently.
2. Part of the concrete company installation should be the placement of a vapor barrier. This will prevent moisture from seeping into the slab from the groundwater. Without a vapor barrier, so much groundwater could penetrate the concrete that the slab could never dry.
What Steps Can an Austin Concrete Company Do After a Pour to Accelerate Drying?
Once a concrete company pours the slurry, there is little that can be done to speed up the drying. Of the three possible steps, two may not be practical for large pavements. However, the first is applicable for every concrete company installation.
1. Your concrete company in Austin TX should avoid overworking the surface of the slab. This can block the concrete’s pours, making it harder for moisture to evaporate.
2. If the concrete company installation is confined to a small area, contractors can sometimes set up a tent so that they can run dehumidifiers inside it. Reducing the humidity levels can speed up drying.
3. There are special blankets that a local concrete company can use to cover freshly poured concrete. These coverings can help expedite drying.
RDC Paving is an experienced, well-respected asphalt and concrete company serving customers in Austin and many other towns in the Texas Hill Country. Our concrete company services include repairs as well as the construction of ADA features, parking lots, sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and driveways. Our asphalt services include paving, crack repairs, overlays, patching, milling, sealcoating, and driveway paving. We also offer parking lot maintenance plans and parking lot striping. We have an impeccable reputation for craftsmanship, dependability, professionalism, creativity, service, and honesty. To request a free quote, call 512-920-9155, fill out our online form, or email Ryan@RDCPaving.com.