Two Common Methods Of Curing Concrete

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To ensure maximum durability and a long life span, concrete must be properly cured after it has been poured. This curing process may take many forms. If you have plans to install a concrete surface on your property, and would like to learn more about the variety of ways to cure concrete, read on. This article will present an overview to two of the most common curing methods.

The Basic Idea

The process of curing concrete is all about maintaining an adequate moisture level. You see, as wet concrete settles, water rises to the surface. This phenomenon, known as bleeding, tends to cause problems when the evaporation rate of that water is faster than the bleed rate. To prevent the formation of shrinkage cracks, and to improve the overall structural integrity of the concrete, one of two general tactics must be employed: either more water must be added to compensate for that which is evaporating, or something must be done to retard the rate of evaporation.

Wet Curing

This curing method involves the application of water to the surface of the concrete. This is accomplished either through fogging or through flooding. In the technique known as fogging, machines are set up around the perimeter of the concrete surface. They give off a near-constant mist of water. This acts to keep the surface moist, without over-saturating any particular area.

Flooding, also known as ponding, involves the erection of a low, water-tight barrier around the concrete. A large quantity of water is then added, thus "flooding" the surface. This method is quite effective, and can increase the strength of the resulting concrete by as much as 50%. Flooding, however, often requires massive amounts of water, which may leak out if the barriers are not constructed well enough.

Membrane Curing

Membrane curing requires that the concrete be covered with large sheets of water-proof material. The idea is that these materials will prevent evaporation, thus keeping the concrete at an optimal moisture level without the addition of supplementary water. There are a variety of materials, both solid and liquid, which can be used to achieve a water impermeable membrane.

Perhaps the most readily available material for membrane curing is plastic sheeting made of polyethylene. This material is both cost-effective and relatively easy to install. Its principal drawback is that, if not installed correctly, it can lead to discolorations on the surface of the concrete. This happens when there are bubbles or wrinkles in the plastic. Moisture evaporates in these bubbles, then runs back down, leading to wet patches of concrete. This variation in hydration level often results in discrepancies of color.  

For more information, talk to a professional like Trinity Masonry & Concrete.

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2 June 2016

Talking About Concrete Contractors

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