If you're working on a home renovation project or installing a new concrete driveway, chances are you'll be using concrete. Concrete is a widely used construction material that can be used for almost any type of structure. However, it's important to note that concrete takes time to dry completely and stepping on it prematurely can damage the work. So, how long does it take for concrete to dry?
To get straight to the point, concrete typically takes 24 to 48 hours to dry enough for anyone to walk or even dry on; however, concrete drying is a continuous event that extends below its surface and it will cure efficiently after approximately 28 days.
Drying allows the concrete to reach a strength that can support some weight so you don’t have to wait weeks before you can walk or drive on your driveway. By seven days, your concrete should be cured enough to at least 70 per cent of its dull strength. However, setting extra time for the concrete to fully dry is what helps the concrete reach its full strength so it can support heavy machinery, equipment and other large objects on the surface.
What Is Curing?
During this step, the crystals in the concrete mixture are given time to grow around the sand, stone, and/or gravel pieces within the mixture. This increases the strength and durability of the concrete, making it a perfect material for constructing driveways, walkways, or gardens. Additionally, this process enhances the water-tightness of the concrete, making it resistant to water damage.
Factors That Affect How Long Concrete Will Dry
Concrete drying time varies based on surrounding conditions. Here are some factors that affect it:
Moisture: Water is crucial when working on concrete projects since it ensures the required moisture levels. Nonetheless, adding excess water can negatively impact the concrete's dry time and slump, which refers to the consistency and workability of the concrete mix. If your mixture is too wet, the longer it will take for it to fully dry. However, on a hot and dry day, it is important to add more water to the concrete mix to prevent a weak and easily eroded surface. To achieve a consistent and sturdy concrete finish, it is essential to know the correct ratio of water and concrete mix.
Temperature: The weather can affect the temperature and fluctuating temperatures, can affect how concrete dries and cures. If it gets very cold, the hydration process slows down and takes a long time for the concrete to dry. However, if it’s too hot, concrete dries way too quickly and moisture in the concrete will dissipate. The concrete would not develop its full strength and crack easily.
Concrete Types: Different types of concrete also vary in cure time. Some concrete mixes set fats and there are the traditional regular concrete formulas that take a longer time to dry. Fast-curing concretes and add-ins can prompt faster curing but may impact long-term strength. To understand the dry time of your concrete, look at its packaging label. This applies to special types of concrete such as reinforced concrete, high-density concrete, stamped concrete, ready mix, and decorative concrete.
What Happens If You Don’t Wait for Concrete to Dry?
If you don’t wait for concrete to dry, the concrete’s structural integrity, durability, and appearance suffer. Walking or driving on the concrete too soon can lead to cracking and reduced strength. It can also leave an imprint that alters the look of your concrete. Fast-curing concretes and add-ins can encourage faster curing but may impact long-term strength. Look at the label on your concrete to understand dry time, whether it’s reinforced concrete, high-density concrete, stamped concrete, ready mix, or decorative concrete.
If you're located in Victoria and need of concrete suppliers, VIC MIX is here to provide for your needs. For inquiries or to receive a quote on a specific type of concrete mix, visit our Contact Us page. We also offer contractor services if you ever need them.
Don’t forget to check out our decorative concrete brochure that showcases all the products we supply to our clients. If you want a snazzy-looking driveway, this is where you should peruse on which designs you want.
If you wish to see our designs in person and discuss your inquiries with us, visit one of our showrooms in Dandenong, Coburg, Pakenham, or Mornington. Our friendly staff will be happy to accommodate you!