How Long Does Concrete Take To Set?

If you really want to know the truth, concrete never stops curing; it continually hardens forever. However, for practical purposes, it reaches a point where further hardening will be so slow it becomes unnoticeable. In this article, we cover the basics of what you need to know if you’re asking the question, “how long does concrete take to set?”

Concrete Never Stops Curinghow long does it take concrete to set

The continual hardening occurs because cement particles react with the water in the mix (hydration), and as long as cement is in contact with moisture, even minuscule bubbles, it will continue to form bonds. This is minimal after “full strength” is achieved, but it is continual.

Curing Time for Concrete

In standard industrial cases, full strength concrete is recognized at 28 days. At seven days, you should have concrete that is cured to 70% full strength or greater. But to answer the question of, “How long does concrete take to set?” concrete setting time is generally 24 to 48 hours. At this point the neighborhood dog will not leave his footprints in it, but you should keep it clear of heavy equipment during this time period. Most mixes are cured at 28 days.

Factors Affecting Concrete Setting Time

  • Moisture's Effect on Concrete SettingMoisture plays a critical role in curing time for concrete. If there is not sufficient water in the mix, the concrete will cure too fast, resulting in weaker overall strength. Too much moisture, often used in the finishing step will weaken the top layer and cause flaking.
  • Hot ambient temperatures and wind accelerate the evaporation of moisture–speeding concrete setting time.
  • The mix design has a lot to do with concrete setting time. Some jobs will require accelerants because the area needs to be usable as soon as possible. The accelerant will do its job and speed up the concrete setting time. Accelerant mixes will show a weaker overall strength in the end, but will still meet strength requirements.

Temperature also has an impact on concrete setting time. For more information, check out this article about how concrete curing temperature makes a difference.

Concrete Blankets

If you are wondering about how long concrete takes to set, a solution for your concrete setting needs is a concrete heating or cooling blanket. But not all blankets are created equal. Consider the following two types of solutions to the effects of hot and cold:

The FluxWrap from North Slope Chillers is portable cooling equipment that will keep newly poured concrete safe from heat, regulating concrete setting time in both regular and hot conditions.

The FluxWrap is combined with either a cooler or chiller to achieve optimum results. The Circulation Blanket draws heat to the blanket in order to cool the concrete.

  • Use Powerblanket’s patented heat-spreading technology in reverse–the cooling blanket draws heat away and lowers the temperature of the concrete.
  • Take it with you on every job.  It is easily portable.
  • Blanket cover and insulation are the same as the robust system used in Powerblanket heating products
  • Control the curing speed of newly poured concrete even in hot conditions

If conditions are cold, concrete curing blankets provide a manageable way to cure concrete effectively and confidently. Powerblanket curing blankets increase production by rapidly curing with consistent, even heat.

  •  Cure concrete 2.8 times faster than conventional, insulated blankets
  •  Maintain moisture throughout hydrating process
  •  Easily installed and removed
  •  Produce cold weather concreting strength of up to 3,925 psi in 72 hours
  •  Prevent a freeze cycle
  •  Thaw ground and frost from job site before you pour
  •  Reduce downtime & increase profitability
  •  Maintain ACI compliance for cold weather concreting

 

Realize that just because you have a concrete curing blanket doesn’t mean you have a solution. The type of blanket and how that blanket is used will have a massive impact on your concrete. Read more about curing blankets here.

Learn More About Concrete Blankets

12 thoughts on “How Long Does Concrete Take To Set?

  1. i poured concrete footing then after a 24 or 48 hours we can start chipping in the portion of Pedestal and install the pedestal form work?

  2. It sure was nice when you said that it will generally take 24-48 hours for the concrete to set. My dad is planning to have ready mix concrete delivered to his house. He said that he’s planning to install a concrete driveway. It’s important for him to keep the exterior part of his house to be organized and appealing. Since he wants his driveway to not be damaged while curing, I’ll share this with him.

  3. I watched Brish builders pouring concrete into house foundation trench that was so wet it looked like dirty water!
    British climate is generally wet so how coudl such a mix have much strength?

  4. What about fence post brackets set into concrete? How long should one wait before fixing the wooden posts onto the brackets? My worry is that the heavy(ish) posts will exert a lot of leverage on the bracket and especially the pin underneath that actually sits in the setting concrete when I’m getting them vertical and putting in the screws. Would 7 days be long enough to wait?

  5. We’ve patched a very small portion of cement in our walkway. How long should we wait before applying stain on top?

  6. Just for the record! I have poured Cement under water successfully. I was asked to lay a Pylon for a small jetty many years ago and was unsure how to begin the job. I then struck on the idea that I should use a length of 6″ / 150mm Pipe, as the water was around 36″ deep and I needed to ensure stability my decision was to set it 18″ to 24″ in the river bottom and used a high pressure portable water pump to dig the pipe in by forcing water down the pipe and blasting the Graver and dirt out
    from beneath the pipe opening. I then braced the pipe and back filled it with a Strong cement dry cement mixture roughly allowing for some of the Cement Powder to wash away is the process. Having finished the pour I then back filled the gap about the pipe base and left the whole thing for a week to set. Keep in mind that in hot weather keeping cement moist allows for a slower drying time to gain a strong job and once the the mix had been laid there was no way for water to get in or out of the pipe once the mix began to go OFF. This a fairly rough way to do the job I did as there is no way to regulate the mixture as you will be laying as the only control you will have is by using it’s weight to displace the water in the pipe so make your best guess at the Mix quantities and do not mess about with the pour get it in and done as fast as possible (For you) and walk away. Trust too Providence you got it right. Through Floods and drought that pier is still standing 20 years later. Did I get it right?? Only time will tell

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