Many patios are formed from a concrete slab. A concrete patio slab is typically 3 1/2 inches thick. After it's poured, it must be allowed to cure properly before it can be walked on or used for entertainment. Curing is a process that demands attention and knowledge.
What is Curing?
The hardening the concrete patio slab is referred to as "curing." The curing process increases the slab's durability and overall strength. A properly cured concrete slab will be less likely to crack.
What Affects Curing?
Water, or hydration, affects a concrete slab's ability to cure. The water causes a chemical reaction in the concrete which allows it to harden properly. As the concrete cures, it must be kept moist with water.
What Interrupts Curing?
Temperature will affect the curing process. When the weather is hot, too much water is evaporated from the curing cement and the chemical reaction moves too quick to properly cure it. Cold and windy weather contributes to the cement drying out too quickly and not curing properly. In general, the curing cement should not rise above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, or fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit
How Long Does It Take?
The concrete patio slab will take five to seven days to cure. During this period, the slab must be kept wet at all times with garden sprinklers or a garden hose. It must never allow it to dry out all the way during the curing period.