Managing Moisture Loss and Temperature of Concrete
Curing greatly affects the properties of concrete once hardened like abrasion resistance, permeability, resistance to freezing, shrinkage, strength and thawing of deicing chemicals.
There are a variety of curing methods available for the initial, intermediate and final stages of curing concrete. Initial curing can take place anytime between the placing and the final finishing of concrete. This is done in order to reduce the loss of moisture from concrete. The final curing, which happens between the final finishing and the end of the curing period not only reduces the loss of moisture from the concrete, but also controls the temperature of concrete. Intermediate curing is done between the final finishing and the beginning of the final curing. It is usually done by concrete contractors when the surface of the concrete is deemed too soft to begin the final process of curing.
Vertical V/S Horizontal Surfaces
Irrespective of the curing method used by concrete contractors, curing mainly consists of effectively managing the loss of moisture and temperature. Some of these methods are used for vertical surfaces such as beams, columns, and walls. Curing concrete surfaces which are vertical is less difficult than the ones which are horizontal. This is owing to the fact that vertical surfaces can be easily drained and are more difficult to saturate when compared to the horizontal ones. The former is also less affected by freezing and thawing.
Horizontal surfaces such as floors need to be durable and hard to resist wear and tear or exposure from deicing chemicals, freezing, and thawing.
Sunshades and Windbreaks
In a majority of cases, raising sunshades and windbreaks is a rather tough exercise. This is because, for most projects, these two are not viable options for protecting concrete from the effects of rapid evaporation and moisture loss. However, placing concrete indoors or under the roof is a much better option as opposed to placing it outdoors. It is also considered to be a much economical alternative to control loss of moisture and to maintain the right temperature inside. It is because of such reasons that floors which are installed under-roof give a much better quality product.
In this process, water is forced through nozzles, which in turn atomizes water to create a fog-like effect. This way, the relative humidity above the concrete slab is increased and the evaporation rate of the concrete slab comes down. Concrete contractors employ this method mainly on a windy day.
Irrespective of the curing method used, the concrete slab under no circumstances should be allowed to dry during the curing period.