Facts & Tips

Check Out: Facts & Tips on:.

  • Proper Curing
  • Flatwork Finishing
  • Crack Control
Proper Curing  Printable PDF – Proper Curing
Curing concrete can take anywhere from several hours to seven days, depending on the size and type of form you are pouring. Weather also plays a factor. The colder the temperature, the longer it takes to cure concrete.

  • Begin to cure concrete once the cement mixture has been poured into the form you are using. Whether you are pouring a slab for a foundation, a  driveway, a concrete deck around a swimming pool or any other form, the process is the same. Finish the concrete to prepare it for curing by raking it out level. Leveling works the rocks in the cement mixture down to the bottom and brings the actual cement mixture up. Water will form on top, but this water evaporates quickly. You must keep the concrete moist to allow the concrete time to harden and set.
  • Keep the concrete moist by using any of several methods. Water hoses and sprinklers can be used to keep a light mist falling on the concrete. Buckets of water can be poured over the concrete. You can dip big brooms into the buckets of water and sprinkle water over the concrete. This watering of the  concrete is the hydration process that must be used when you want to cure concrete. The final quality of the concrete will be determined by how well it is cured during hydration.
  • Retain moisture on the concrete with some kind of covering on top of the concrete. Any material such as burlap, canvas, straw or sand can be used to cover the poured concrete. Keep it damp while you are waiting for the concrete to cure.
Finishing Concrete Flatwork Tips

  • Consult our team of experts on selecting the correct concrete mix for your project.
  • After placing and consolidating concrete, use a wood or metal screed with a straight edge to strike off and level the concrete.
  • Immediately float the surface with a wood or metal float.  A metal bull float is best for large slabs. Pushingand pulling the float edge across the slab, smoothes the small ridges left by the screeding step.
  • Edge the concrete with an edging tool if a round smooth edge is desired. Run the edger back and forth, using the form as a guide.
  • Cut the control joints. The grooving tool should be 1/4th the depth of the slab. Or, control joints may be sawed later.
  • Finish or trowel the concrete as desired for function, serviceability & attractiveness, according to its end use.
  • Exterior slabs (driveways, patios, sidewalks, etc.) should be sloped to drain properly.
  • A broomed finish will give a non-slip textured surface when wet.
  • Garage or warehouse floors usually need to be level and quite smooth.
  • Repeated passes with a steel trowel and increased pressure will produce a very smooth surface.
  • Do not sprinkle water or cement on the concrete while finishing it.
  • Cure the concrete as soon as all finishing is completed and the water sheen has left the surface.
Crack Control

  • Concrete expands and shrinks with changes in moisture and temperature. The overall tendency is to shrink and this can cause cracking. Irregular cracks are unsightly and difficult to maintain but generally do not affect the integrity of the concrete.
  • Joints are simply pre-planned cracks. Joints in concrete slabs can be created by forming, tooling, sawing, or by the placement of joint formers. The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association recognizes that cracks in concrete cannot be prevented entirely, but they can be controlled and minimized by properly designed joints.
  • The NRMCA recommends the maximum joint spacing should be 2 1/2 ft. times the thickness of the slab. Or, a 4 inch thick slab joint spacing should be about 10 feet. It is recommended that maximum joint spacing be limited to 15 feet. Sections should be somewhat square. The length of a section should not exceed 1 1/2 times the width.
  • Plan exact location of all joints, including timing of contraction and joint sawing before construction. Provide isolation joints between slabs and columns, walls and footings, and at junctions of driveways with walks, curbs or other obstructions

















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