It’s essential for concrete to cure properly in order for it to have the right strength and durability. Curing concrete during the winter can become complicated because the drop-in temperature makes it difficult for the right chemical reactions to occur that are needed for proper curing. Fortunately, concrete wet curing blankets make it possible for concrete to be cured in colder weather. Here’s what you need to know about their importance.
How Concrete Cures
Curing concrete is much more than just drying out cement. It’s actually a chemical reaction that occurs between the water and the concrete mix, which is made of sand and gravel. This reaction creates crystals which grow and intertwine around each other, which is what makes the concrete so strong. The concrete will only cure correctly when this reaction occurs. This reaction won’t happen if proper hydration is absent.
The temperature of the concrete is significant because that’s what determines the hydration of the concrete. In temperatures that are too hot, the water will evaporate too quickly, so the reaction will happen too quickly and the crystals won’t grow as they should since there’s no more water. But, if the temperature is too low, the concrete can freeze and prevent the reaction as well. The temperature of the concrete can’t fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid improper curing.
Consequences of Improper Curing
If concrete isn’t cured properly, it will lose its durability. It will be more porous and permeable, making it subject to chemicals and water. This chemical and water penetration will cause early degradation because the concrete will expand and contract more. It will also be less resistant to abrasion and result in a dusty surface.
How Blankets Help
Curing blankets for concrete are made of closed cell polyethylene foam. They keep the water from evaporating and also keep the concrete above 50 degrees so that curing can continue. The construction of these blankets includes buttons and reinforced edges to keep the blanket in place for the days needed to properly cure the concrete.
Types of Curing Blankets
Concrete wet curing blankets for cold weather are usually made of foam with a reinforced cover so that the concrete stays insulated. These blankets are made to withstand rot and mildew that can happen with repeated use. Burlap or canvas blankets laminated with polyethylene are sometimes used during the warmer months to prevent water from evaporating too quickly.