Concrete is used in a variety of residential projects. It can be used to construct a foundation, a driveway, a patio, or a sidewalk. Regardless of what you are constructing, though, it's important to pay close attention to the concrete curing process because this will affect how your concrete work will turn out.
Reasons to Cure Concrete
Curing is important because you want to maintain moisture within a freshly laid piece of concrete. This will allow your concrete to have very high compressive strength. Otherwise, the cement and aggregates would not be enough alone to withstand the stress that concrete is placed under.
Concrete Curing Vs. Concrete Drying
Concrete drying and curing are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Concrete drying involves the removal of moisture from concrete. Concrete curing, on the other hand, is necessary to strengthen the concrete and often involves adding moisture to the concrete. Fortunately, a residential concrete construction contractor can place a curing compound over the freshly laid concrete to make sure that the moisture is kept inside.
Moist Curing Concrete
Another approach is to "moist cure" the concrete. This can be accomplished by continuously spraying or fogging the concrete. While soaking the concrete, it can also be covered with a material that will help retain moisture such as a cotton mat. However, this will only be done when the concrete has hardened enough to make sure that it will not be damaged in the process. The covering itself has to be kept moist.
Ponding is used for concrete floors sometimes because of the flat surface. The concrete floor is simply immersed in water and the water is then drained after the curing process has been completed.
All of the methods above only work in climates that are not freezing. If concrete must be cured in a freezing cold environment, steam curing might be the only available option.
One of the problems that concrete work can face is that deicers can cause damage to the concrete. To make the concrete more resistant to the damaging effects of deicers, a penetrating sealer needs to be applied periodically over the course of several months.
Because concrete needs to be cured properly so that it will be highly durable, you should have your concrete work done by a professional contractor. They will make sure that the temperature and moisture are controlled over the right period of time to achieve the best possible results. For more information on residential concrete construction, contact a professional near you.