Most people often assume that cement dries almost immediately, especially when it is labeled as ‘quick-drying cement’. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. The fact is that while concrete may dry quickly, there are a number of different factors involved and the actual time frame can vary significantly.
So if you’re wondering how long does concrete take to dry, then we suggest you continue reading as we’ll talk about this topic in today’s post.
Standard Setting Time
In most cases, cement tends to dry within 24 to 48 hours, which is already enough for you to step or drive on. However, the setting time can also vary depending on environment where it is set. Even so, the concrete is strong enough (about 70% sturdy) to support any of the normal tasks that you do at this point.
But one thing’s for sure though is that concrete will reach its full strength in 28 days. In short, it is durable enough to carry the weight of an average person and a car but not strong enough to bear the load of heavy machinery yet. Once it reaches the 28th day mark (or a month), then it is already safe to say that the cement has already reached its full strength.
However, The Curing Process Is Continuous
While it’s true that concrete is set after a month, the curing process will go on for many years, enabling the cement to harden even more and develop further. And the reason for this is cement mixed with water and aggregates create a mixture that forms bonds as it hardens until moisture is evaporated from the concrete.
However, the hardening of the cement does not necessarily equate to added durability as the concrete crumbles after many years because of the absence of moisture. The evaporation of moisture is expected, but it happens at a very slow pace.
Other Factors Affecting The Setting Time Of The Concrete
Moisture is also a critical factor in how concrete sets. The concrete mixture actually requires the right amount of water so it can harden at maximum strength. If the mixture has too much water, the mixture will cure too fast, which can result in poor structural integrity and weak concrete.
On the other hand, if the mixture has less water, then the concrete will be too thick to the point that it will be harder for you to work it into place.
Tips To Quicker Concrete Drying Time
If you want to speed up the setting time of the concrete project you are doing, try the following:
- Make sure the water-cement ratio is correct. Remember, too much water will make a weak concrete while too little water will not allow the concrete to set as it’s supposed to be.
- Avoid covering the concrete surface so the moisture can evaporate naturally and prevent longer drying times.
- If the concrete surface is done indoors, make sure to shut the doors and windows and leave the air conditioning and ventilation on. You can also use dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the inside. Both methods can speed up the drying process of the concrete.