In the process, it gradually transforms from a wet and muddy mixture to a rock-solid pavement. Humidity and ambient temperature are critical to the curing process. However, if the conditions are unfavorable, covering the concrete can sometimes speed up the curing process or guarantee better results. Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow or freezing temperatures, often make it necessary to protect concrete by covering it.
One of the most effective materials for protection from rain are plastic sheets (visqueen). In cold weather, plastic-coated concrete curing blankets are often used to protect the surface from snow and isolate concrete from freezing. If the concrete is completely covered with plastic, it cannot penetrate moisture outside to come into contact with the slab. But what about the humidity that comes from inside the concrete itself? The entire curing period of concrete lasts about a month, but the concrete will be ready for use sooner.
Each project will vary slightly due to differences in climate, concrete mix, and laying and finishing techniques. There are three curing phases and how long each one lasts depends on the concrete and the environmental conditions. Curing concrete with water prevents excessive moisture loss, since water will create a layer for a long period that can control the evaporation of moisture from the surface. Covering cured concrete with plastic keeps it cleaner, but there is a more important purpose behind this practice.
In short, anything that can be done to keep the plastic and structure suspended on the concrete will work. A minimum thickness is required to ensure adequate sheet strength; ASTM C 171 sheet materials for concrete curing specify 0.01 mm. Proper concrete curing improves strength, durability, water tightness and strength for many years. You can buy a concrete curing insulating blanket in most DIY stores, but it's cheaper to simply use a plastic sheet.
Others, such as Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal, penetrate the concrete surface, becoming a permanent sealer that waterproofs concrete to keep it freshly poured. The concrete must be covered with a membrane, either plastic or chemical compound, which will seal the pores and delay the evaporation of water from the concrete. If you have added pigment to concrete, apply a curing compound, which helps to avoid stains that appear when tinted concrete dries unevenly. By using control joints and plastic during the curing process, you can minimize cracks in freshly poured concrete.
For this reason, the paint may not adhere as well, and the final color and appearance of the stained concrete may also be affected. Available in DIY stores and ready-mix concrete companies, they contain soluble emulsions that form a protective film when sprayed directly onto the surface of freshly poured concrete slabs or walls. You can build a structure around the concrete slab with wood, PVC pipes or reinforcing bars to fasten the plastic sheet.