Decided to do the foundation work of your house? You can avoid a whole lot of trouble if you ensure a solid footing. For that, you need to know the perfect curing time.
How long should a concrete slab cure before framing?
To get the perfect finish out of your concrete slab, we suggest waiting 7-12 days. But depending on some conditions, it could also take up to 28 days. There are many factors that are involved here. Temperature, type of concrete mix used, size of the concrete are some essential factors.
Is it still confusing to you? Don’t worry! We’ve prepared a comprehensive discussion to clear all your doubts.
Let’s check out the facts!
Why Does Concrete Slab Need Cure Time?
Structural integrity is first and foremost when you want to do your foundation work. That’s where curing comes in.
Your newly poured concrete slab needs to cure for plenty of reasons. Whether you’re building your house’s foundation or installing siding to your concrete, it needs time.
Let’s check them out!
Reason 1: Lasting Strength & Longevity
Curing helps in keeping your concrete from cracks till it’s strong enough to resist cracking. The longer you cure your concrete, the stronger it will be. Plus, the more robust the concrete is, the longer it will last.
Reason 2: Retain Moisture & Water Tightness
Moisture plays a part in helping the concrete gain strength. It’s highly recommended to maintain the perfect balance of water in the concrete. You can do it through spraying, fogging, pondering, or by using coverings and place forms.
Reason 3: Ensure Dryness
Curing allows the concrete to dry out and remain strong. Wet concrete is ineffective. As a result, proper drying is required. It can be sped up by live streaming.
These are the reasons why you should cure the concrete for a proper amount of time. Once the slab is cured, only then can you start framing. Otherwise, the concrete might crack, or else the foundation could sink because of the weight.
How Long Should You Wait for Concrete Slab to Cure?
It’s imperative that you wait at least seven days before you start framing. But proper curing takes up to a month. Your concrete curing process could also take more or less time than that.
That’s why you should consider a few things before jumping into the project. Check the following factors before you start-
Factor 1: Type of Concrete Mixture
The cement mix has a lot to do with curing time. You have many options when it comes to selecting a good concrete mixture. That’s why check if you’ve used a traditional or rapid cement mixture.
Traditional cement mixtures take up to two days to cure, depending on factors. Rapid curing mixture takes two to four hours to cure. Here, less amount of time has no impact on strength. Ultimately, it’s a faster and better option.
You also should check if there are accelerants present in your mixture. Because accelerants might cure your slab faster. But you’ll get much weaker concrete.
Factor 2: Size of Concrete Slab
Depending on the size of your concrete slab, the cure time could vary. Broad and more extensive concrete takes a longer time to cure. In reverse, a concrete with a thin layer could take just 2 days.
But you won’t have to worry about curing while installing cement boards in your bathroom. Don’t confuse a cement board with a concrete slab.
Factor 3: Water Amount in Your Concrete Mixture
The water amount or level in the concrete mixture is another super important deciding factor. A high ratio of water will take a long time to cure. But the concrete will be stronger.
On the other hand, a watery cement mixture can cause other problems. If the water amount is a lot, the excess water could evaporate after curing. That’s why check the amount of water before and after you pour the cement mixture.
Factor 4: Temperature and Weather Conditions
Variations in temperature are not a significant problem unless admixtures are used. Using admixture can change the setting time at various temperatures. Under normal conditions, the concrete temperature is to be above 5 degrees Celsius.
High temperatures mean excessive loss of moisture. For that reason, the cure time will be less. You can use windscreens, watering, and retardants to keep the water in.
The biggest worry in the cold season is maintaining a temperature that’s above 10 degrees Celsius. You can use heated enclosures, curing compounds, or insulating blankets to maintain the temperature.
Factor 5: Maintaining Moisture and Applying Sealant
You already know that retaining moisture in the cement is essential. But retaining moisture means more curing time. Applying a sealant is necessary in order to maintain moisture. Use a sealant to concrete only when it is absolutely dry.
Here are some of the recommended sealants for concrete-
But, you must apply sealant right after removing the forms.
Confused as to what forms mean?
They are actually the moulds that hold your concrete in place till it dries partially. These left-in-place forms protect against moisture loss. Forms are left in place as long as the construction schedule allows.
These were all the deciding factors of curing time. Keep all of these in mind while estimating the curing time.
6 Tips to Speed up Cure Time
Eager to frame the concrete for your foundation? We have prepared a list of things you can do to speed up the curing-
- Use an HVAC system in an enclosed space to reduce humidity in the air.
- Avoid the use of sealants and admixtures. They retain moisture and lead to a longer cure time.
- Apply cure additives for faster curing.
- Have a perfect balance of water and moisture. Less water can result in more drying time.
- Use slightly warm water to hasten the curing. But do not use boiling water.
- The use of Calcium Chloride in the cement mix will accelerate the cement hydration.
These were all the tips you need to remember if you want to speed up curing. Besides, your local concrete companies can answer all curing-related queries.
Question: Is it okay if it rains just after the concrete is poured?
Answer: No. Rain on newly laid concrete can damage the surface and jeopardize the floated finish. Worse, it can result in overall weak concrete. You should take the necessary precautions to cover it up.
Question: What should I do if the concrete is too watery?
Answer: You have two options. You can dump that load and make a new load of concrete. Another option will be to pour a load of concrete with a proper slump above the wet concrete.
Question: How long should I wait before watering my concrete?
Answer: You should at least wait five hours before watering the concrete slab. If it’s a hot and sunny day, wait for two hours before watering. You should wet the concrete five to ten times a day during the first week.
That’s everything we had regarding how long a concrete slab cure before framing. You now have a clear understanding of the curing time.
Hope our guidelines helped. Good luck with your construction project!