The Dos and Don’ts of Curing Concrete

BEST PRACTICE CURING CONCRETE

You may rightly consider concrete to be one of the most durable and attractive construction materials around, but did you know that everything you do after pouring has just as much impact on its strength as the mixing process? In fact, the chemical reaction between cement and water that binds sand and gravel together to make concrete takes nearly 28 days to fully complete. During this process, which is known as hydration, you want to keep moisture in the concrete. Otherwise, water evaporating too quickly from the surface—which can happen easily outdoors and in direct sun—will weaken the finished product with stresses and cracking

Controlling the moisture content and the temperature of the new concrete for the first several days through curing take top priority. By giving concrete mix extra attention during this period rather than walking away as soon as it’s poured, you can increase the structural integrity of the concrete and make it more resistant to future cracking. 

DO SPRAY NEW CONCRETE WITH WATER.

One of the most common methods for curing concrete is to hose it down frequently with water—five to 10 times per day, or as often as you can—for the first seven days. Known as “moist curing,” this allows the moisture in the concrete to evaporate slowly. Moist-cured concrete can be up to 50 percent stronger than concrete that was cured without being dampened

Controlling the moisture content and the temperature of the new concrete for the first several days through curing take top priority. By giving concrete mix extra attention during this period rather than walking away as soon as it’s poured, you can increase the structural integrity of the concrete and make it more resistant to future cracking. 

DO POND CURE CONCRETE SLABS.

Controlling the moisture content and the temperature of the new concrete for the first several days through curing take top priority. By giving concrete mix extra attention during this period rather than walking away as soon as it’s poured, you can increase the structural integrity of the concrete and make it more resistant to future cracking. 

DON’T PAINT OR STAIN CONCRETE
IN THE FIRST MONTH

Any paint or stain applied to young concrete while it’s still hardening can be negatively affected by residual moisture or the changing chemical content in the concrete. It takes about a month for all of the water to get used up in the hydration process.

PLASTERING BEST PRACTICE

  • Start plastering only after you’ve watered the laterite or bricks completely.

  • Mix cement and sand in the ratio of 1:6 (1 cement: 6 sand) for inner plastering of bricks or laterite. And for outer plastering mix it in the ratio of 1:4.

  • On a wall never do plastering of thickness more than 12mm 

  • At one go, avoid plastering of more than 12mm thickness.

  • On concrete do not do plastering of more than 6mm thickness.

  • Do not plaster on concrete without hacking.

  • Plastering on concrete should be in the ratio of 1:3.

  • Use a mesh while plastering the electric and water pipes, and concrete masonry joints.

  • You must do the curing for at least 14 days, continuously.

  • If too much water is used, concrete loses its strength thereby segregation of cement & sand occurs which should be taken care of while mixing the concrete.

CONCRETE AND LATERITE/BRICK JUNCTION

The GI mesh is fixed at the block work and concrete structure junction to avoid formation of cracks during temperature variation due to difference in thermal expansion of these materials. Due to different coefficients of thermal expansion for Concrete and block masonry, cracks may develop in the plaster at the junctions. Galvanized Iron mesh rolls of 200mm width is fixed to increase the tensile strength of plastering to reduce the cracks. The gap if any between the column or beam bottom and the  masonry should be well packed with masonry mortar. The mesh should be 200mm in width so that the mesh can cover 100mm on either side of the junction.  The GI mesh is then fixed rigidly over the junction using nails and square washers. Once the mesh is fixed over the junction it is plastered/packed with rich cement mortar to a suitable thickness such that a minimum of 6 to 8mm plastering thickness. Finally curing should be ensured at least 2 to 3 days before starting regular plastering.

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