Much of the time spent on a construction project is spent waiting for the concrete to cure and dry. However, this is an absolutely vital process as concrete that does not set, cure and dry properly will be flawed and prone to structural failure. The structure needs to be given enough time to harden properly before more work takes place on top of it.
In order to maximise the efficiency of the construction project, contractors can use several techniques to speed up the drying time of their concrete structures. This will help to keep the project on schedule without compromising the structural integrity of the concrete. These methods will allow contractors to maintain safety on-site, as well as meet upcoming deadlines.
Pre-pour tips for speeding up concrete drying time
- Choose the best weather – Contractors need to keep an eye on the weather forecast. Concrete dries faster in dry and warm conditions. Luckily, Tanzania is warm and sunny for most of the year. Extremely hot weather can have several effects on concrete, so keep this in mind. If a project is running on a tight schedule, avoid pouring concrete in the rain as this will slow down the drying time.
- Add warm water to the mix – Water is a key ingredient of concrete and is essential for the curing reaction to take place. Contractors can use warm water in their concrete mix to help speed up the curing process. The water can be left in a bucket in the sun, or added from a hot tap – it should not be boiling or too hot to the touch as this can damage the concrete.
- Add calcium chloride to the mix – Calcium chloride is a concrete additive that can be mixed with the cement, water and aggregates. This chemical compound accelerates the process of hydration and helps the concrete to dry faster.
- Reduce the amount of water in the mix – The more water you add to a concrete mix, the longer it will take to dry. Using less water will reduce the drying time, but be careful not to remove too much water from the mix. A dry concrete batch can crumble once set, so always use enough water to make a workable mix.
Post-pour tips to speed up concrete drying time
- Trowelling technique – Avoid hard-trowelling as the increased pressure on the concrete can cause densification and collapse internal vents. This prevents moisture from evaporating from the concrete mix when drying. It will extend the drying time significantly.
- Cover the concrete with a plastic sheet – Curing requires moisture on the surface of the concrete. It sounds backwards, but a damp concrete surface actually dries faster and with greater strength. Cover the concrete surface with a plastic sheet to prevent too much moisture from evaporating. The plastic sheet will also prevent excess atmospheric moisture from being absorbed into the concrete.
- Use a heater – If the weather is overcast and cold, contractors can use heaters or heating mats to warm up the structure and decrease the drying time. However, take care not to overheat the concrete as this can bake the surface and cause it to crack. A gentle heat will help the concrete to dry faster.
These tips will help contractors to speed up the drying time of their concrete projects. They can be used before the concrete is poured and afterwards. A construction project that runs on-time will save money. So use these tips to speed up the process and meet all the required deadlines.
LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.
LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.
At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.