Curing concrete is the term used for stopping freshly poured concrete from drying out too quickly. This is done because concrete, if left to dry out of its own accord, will not be able to develop its full thickness. It will be weaker and tend to crack more. The surface won't be as hard as it should be. It’s important to keep it moist if it’s in the sun and it’s a very hot day! When moisture is pulled from the concrete too quickly, the surface can develop hairline cracks or have chalky residue. Hot, dry or windy weather increases evaporation, making it more difficult to keep the slab moist. There are several ways to cure concrete properly but the bottom line is to keep it moist!
Some methods of curing concrete include:
- Cover and seal the surface with large sheets of plastic to keep the moisture in.
- Lay burlap over the surface and spray it with water twice daily using a garden hose.
- Set a sprinkler to gradually pool water on the surface. This should be done continuously, but ensure that concrete is dry enough not to be damaged by the spray.
- Apply a curing compound to the damp surface with a garden sprayer.
The concrete should be allowed to cure for at least a week to allow the cement in the mix to harden properly.