Concrete is one of the most versatile materials used in the construction industry today. The strength of concrete depends on proper mixing, application, and curing. Curing is the one aspect of the concrete process that can be difficult to control.
Many factors can affect curing times, and most of these factors are out of your control. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to try and mitigate some of the factors that can cause premature curing. Try these techniques to avoid having temperature, humidity, and wind compromise the quality of your concrete in the future.
1. Cover Your Concrete
Wind can have a negative effect on concrete during the curing period. The movement of air across the surface of freshly poured concrete can accelerate the evaporation process. The moisture within the concrete will evaporate too quickly when exposed to wind, leaving the concrete susceptible to cracking or crumbling in the future.
You can protect your concrete against wind during curing by covering the wet surface with a thin insulating blanket or piece of polyethylene sheeting. The cover should be thin enough to prevent heat buildup near the surface of the concrete, but thick enough to offer protection against wind-induced evaporation.
2. Implement Ponding
Another technique that you can utilize to help ensure proper concrete curing is ponding. This technique requires that you erect a sturdy, yet temporary wall around the area where you have poured fresh concrete.
A layer of water is added over the top of the concrete and held in place by the wall. This temporary pond creates the hydration necessary to prevent premature evaporation as the concrete cures over time. Ponding is a great way to control heat-related evaporation when pouring concrete during the warmer months.
3. Use a Curing Compound
Specialized additives can be mixed in with the dry components of your concrete to help promote proper curing.
Curing compounds are designed to form a protective layer over the top of wet concrete. The compound helps to keep moisture inside the concrete until curing is complete, and it also helps to prevent contaminants from finding their way into the wet concrete.
Curing compounds are available through most ready mix concrete companies, and they can prove to be valuable additions when trying to improve the quality of your concrete projects.
Don't let improper curing compromise your concrete. Use advanced techniques to help prevent moisture loss due to evaporation when working with concrete in the future.