What is the ideal temperature for concrete to cure?
Well, this is a loaded question, and every slump slinger will give you a different answer. Let’s break it down in simple terms and dispel as much jargon as possible. It should be noted; however, concrete is like the story of the three little bears. No concrete finisher wants the concrete too hot or too cold. It is a receipt for disaster. SO it needs to be just right!
It’s advised that concrete be cured at a moderate temperature between 5 to 20 degrees Celsius. However, concrete stops its curing process (slows down significantly) at below 5 degrees. In a perfect world, the fresh concrete temperature should be above 10 °C, but cured and maintained at the same or above. It is also essential that the concrete has adequate hydration throughout the process. Now because of the Canadian Climate and a short window, many contractors or ready-mix supplier utilizes admixtures. These are powders or liquids added to enhance the chemical reaction and curing process. Concrete contractors in Edmonton will also utilize heaters and tarps to maintain the temperature to achieve a 5-10 Mpa. The lower the temperature, the slower it takes to achieve strength.
So the takeaways without writing a 3000-word essay are:
- Concrete must stay above five degrees to cure
- Concrete that is placed in hot conditions is not ideal, above 25 degrees Celsius (hydration is critical)
- Admixtures are a good thing
- It takes days, months for concrete to gain strength.
- Use heater and tarps to ensure adequate heat.