On average, a concrete structure will stand for 30-100 years, depending on the construction method and the care it receives. Developing strong and durable structures is a delicate art, however. If you’re interested in jobs in construction, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with every step from opening the cement packaging to curing, which plays an integral role in concrete construction.
What is Concrete Curing?
Cement curing is a critical step in the construction process. It involves maintaining specific temperature and moisture conditions for an extended amount of time to ensure the cement is adequately hydrated. If you’ve had a job in construction before, you likely know that cement has to be mixed with water to create a smooth paste with peanut butter-like consistency. The trick to developing strong concrete structures is how the cement dries once mixed with water and laid.
This drying process is what we refer to as curing. We usually add aggregates like sand and gravel to reduce the amount of water in the mix. The concrete will be more durable and less likely to shrink or crack with less water. To cure cement, our construction technicians at Kilgore Companies will dampen the concrete and keep it moist until it is completely hydrated.
How Long Should Concrete Curing Last?
This process usually begins right after the concrete is set or the formwork has been removed. The curing duration of a construction project will depend on the following factors:
- Type of curing method used
- Type of grade of cement used
- Size and shape of the structural member
- Climatic conditions and atmospheric temperature
- Type of structural member and amount of sunlight exposure
Role of Cement Curing
Properly cured concrete has an adequate amount of internal moisture. As a result, the concrete is stronger, less permeable, more resistant to freezing, abrasions, shrinkage, and cracks, and more durable in general. Twenty-eight days of curing can increase the concrete’s strength by up to 95%.
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