Did you know that as concrete hardens water rises up to the surface? It’s true. And that water serves a purpose in the final finish and integrity of the concrete. When concrete dries out it can crack or break-out on the concrete’s surface in a spider-webbed pattern of fine cracks; the pattern is called crazing. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important, especially when working with traditionally mixed and traditionally laid concrete, to keep the surface moist as the concrete cures, and also to keep the forms in place for as long as is possible.
Another tip is what to do with the concrete as it cures. If you have recently completed a concrete project—a project such as a walkway, a retaining wall, or a patio—stamped or not—then make sure to stay off the concrete for at least three days. A stamped concrete pad shouldn’t be walked on for at least a week. Try to be patient, because a few days of restraint will lead to years—decades—of a quality product. In the case of a concrete patio or walkway don’t drive on the concrete with heavy machinery for one month—you could probably get away with it sooner, but it’s best to make sure that the concrete has cured.
When Concrete is Too Wet
Concrete can be too wet. You can get too much water mixed into the concrete and, when concrete is too wet, it won’t properly cure; improperly cured concrete is weak and will break up or crack eventually. If the concrete mix is too dry it may be strong, but it will be extremely difficult to work with, especially in the case of an at-home concrete project: mix with shovel and trowel, etc.
Most of these problems are alleviated by the use of quality concrete products and, in certain applications, the use of shotcrete. If you have any questions about concrete products, or you need to hire the concrete professionals at Shotcrete Montana for your next project then call today.