How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (2023)

Concrete is a very versatile material that is in a wide use today. And one of the areas of application where this material is highly requested is roadworks.

But it’s not only sidewalks that are made of concrete! Patios, yards, and different commercial areas also use this material to poor the flooring that will be smooth and even.

However, if you have already asked a contractor to come and pour your concrete, or if your local sidewalks have been recently poured anew, you might be wondering how much time you should wait until it hardens enough so that you could walk on it again.

How long does it take concrete to harden before you can walk on it? Today you will finally find the answer!

We will tell you how fast concrete dries and hardens, and also, you will find out what happens if you walk on freshly poured concrete floor or sidewalk after a few hours, after twenty four hours, after a week, and after one month.

In addition, you will learn more about the concrete curing time and also, we will try to find out how soon you can walk on concrete that has recently been painted. So stay with us and read on. We have prepared a lot of useful information for you today!

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On a Sidewalk After New Concrete Was Applied?

After new concrete has been poured, a required amount of time usually has to pass until it will be possible to walk on it safely without being afraid of damaging the surface.

However, nobody likes to wait, right?

So quite many people tend to wonder how soon they can start walking on freshly poured concrete, especially if it has been poured in their patio or inner yard.

And of course, if we are talking about any commercial buildings like warehouses, knowing how fast concrete dries is important since it allows the workers to calculate how soon they will start using the area again!

All right, you may say, how long should concrete harden before you can walk on it? See, once a contractor pours your concrete, you will be surely eager to get the area open again for foot traffic.

It is important, though, to protect the new concrete while it is still curing. Remember: the better you care for it now in these beginning stages, the longer it will last and the better it will look for years to come.

In general, concrete becomes more or less dry after a few hours already after it is poured. However, don’t get too anxious! It still requires way more time to be able to cure properly.

It is important to remember that the longer concrete sits, the stronger it gets. This material can cure after only a few hours as we have already said, becoming strong enough to bear the weight of a human being.

(Video) How long does it take for concrete to cure?

But it doesn’t actually dry for up to a month, especially if it is used in hot and humid climates. Also, you should keep in mind that concrete doesn’t reach its full strength until it is totally dry.

This is why you need to continue to protect it during this time. While you will most likely not notice the difference on the surface, if you speed up the drying process, you could end up damaging the interior integrity of the concrete!

As a result, it can reduce its life expectancy of about fifty years which means that you will be either repairing or even replacing your concrete much sooner than it was initially expected!

However, there is a piece of good news, too!

Protecting your freshly poured concrete does not actually mean that you will have to keep all foot traffic off it for a whole month! In fact, the waiting time is much shorter than that, though you may need to take a few precautions in the meantime.

To provide you with more information on that subject, let’s see how fast concrete dries and cures after it has been poured.

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (1)


After Painting a Concrete Floor, How Long Will It Take Before You Can Walk On It?

Normally, we do not paint concrete. However, it depends on you and if you want your concrete floor to be of a certain color, you will have to paint it, of course. But in this case, how long does it take for freshly painted concrete to dry before you can walk on it?

Well, first of all, if you are planning to paint or stain your concrete, you should take into consideration that first of all, you have to let it completely dry and cure.

Which means that any painting or staining works must be done no earlier than a month after your concrete has been poured!

As for painting it, once concrete is covered with paint, give it two or three days (depending on weather and climate in your area) to fully dry.

(Video) How Fast Does Concrete Dry? The Million Dollar Question

This time is usually enough for the paint to dry and cure thus becoming durable and resistant enough for you to place furniture or other objects on painted concrete, as well as walk on it.

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (2)

Related: How Long Does Driveway Paint Last?

Concrete Drying Time

As we have already mentioned above, freshly poured concrete dries relatively fast. After a few hours, you can already try and walk on it a bit.

However, to achieve better results and to avoid damaging the surface, we recommend you check out what happens if you walk on concrete at different drying stages.

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (3)How Fast Does Concrete Dry? The Million Dollar Question

Related: How to Make Paint Dry Fast?

What Can Happen If You Walk On Concrete After a Few Hours?

New concrete will start to cure immediately and after just a few hours it will be hard enough to support some weight already. That is actually why you can often see concrete workers standing on new concrete shortly after pouring it.

This allows them to finish the concrete and apply sealants or decorations.

However, you need to keep in mind that the concrete is still in a fragile state at this point! That is because while the surface may look and feel dry, it still remains wet below the surface.

Such concrete can still be marked if you are not careful. The average person should not walk on the concrete at this point.

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (4)

What About Concrete After Twenty-Four Hours?

After this period of time, you can safely walk on your new concrete in fact. This is the minimum amount of time you should wait for the concrete to harden.

However, if there has been a lot of rain recently or you have done decorative stamping in the concrete, you should wait longer.

Normal foot traffic should be fine on standard concrete at this point, but you still need to be very cautious about damaging the surface. This is why you should restrict the following items on the new concrete as much as you can:

  • Pets. Dog claws can scratch the surface of the concrete. While it won’t interfere with the integrity of the concrete, it will mar the look of it.
  • Skateboards, bikes, and strollers. The smaller wheels on these items concentrate their weight on a small area. That can leave grooves in the concrete as they move over the surface.

Be sure to avoid any kind of twisting motion or dragging anything on the surface, too! This includes trash cans or plant containers as well. This motion can create marks on the concrete that aren’t easy to fix.

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (5)

After a Week

When seven days pass, you can basically stop worrying about your concrete driveway or patio.

(Video) When Can I Drive On My Concrete? Answered by Surrey & Vancouver Concrete Contractors

Most forms of traffic are allowed at this point since they can’t damage the surface anymore. It is even allowed for the vehicles to drive on that concrete after a week!

However, large vehicles (e.g. trucks or semis) must wait a bit longer since they are still way too heavy for the concrete.

Besides, even at this point, your new concrete is still drying under the surface even though you can’t see it from outside.

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (6)

What Will Happen After a Month?

After thirty days, new concrete will fully cure and dry. At this point, it has reached its maximum strength.

If you’ve taken good care of your new concrete up to this point, you can expect it to last for about 50 years before you’ll need to think about replacing it again.

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (7)

How Fast Does Concrete Cure?

When it comes to curing or concrete, there is no one exact answer. See, there is, of course, the estimated period of time which is needed for new concrete to harden and cure properly.

Usually, this time frame is about twenty-eight days or nearly a month. This amount of time is enough for the material to be usable for all sorts of traffic, even for heavy vehicles like trucks!

However, when it comes to curing, you must always take a few factors into consideration.

Those factors are the weather and climate of the area. See, if you pour new concrete in the area with dry and warm climate and sunny weather, chances are that it will dry and cure even faster than usual.

On the other hand, when being applied in areas with high levels of moisture or with lots of rainy days, your new concrete will surely need more time for curing!

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (8)

Is It Possible to Speed Up the Drying Time For Concrete?

This question bothers many homeowners who plan to pour new concrete on their paths, driveways, or patios.

Is it possible to make this material dry faster? Well, it may seem pointless for the first time since we already know that concrete will be ok to walk on after twenty-four hours already!

Of course, the foot traffic will have to be limited, but still, you will be able to use the surface for walking on it. So what is the point in rushing the process?

However, we are humans and waiting even for twenty-four hours might be unbearable for some of us.

(Video) When To Start Finishing Concrete - Timing When To Start

In addition, if new concrete was poured in a busy commercial or industrial area, it might be reasonable to want to speed up the drying process. Anyway, no matter the reason, the question remains.

While this is understandable, be cautious about speeding up the drying time.

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (9)

You may end up doing more damage to the concrete than you realize. Concrete is best when it is allowed to dry slowly over time.

This increases its structural integrity. A slower drying process makes the concrete stronger and reduces the chances that it will suffer from large cracks later on.

In fact, it is recommended that you keep the concrete wet or covered for the first week to slow down the drying process. Contractors refer to this as “moist curing.”

However, if you still want to start walking on your new concrete, there are some things that help speed up the process. For example, the best thing that can be done is that you talk to an experienced contractor.

The professional will surely advise you on different concrete mixes that will dry and cure faster!

How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? (10)

Is There Concrete That Cures Fast?

Surprisingly, there is! This type of concrete is called fast-setting concrete and is designed to harden faster than most other types. How much faster it sets can vary from brand to brand.

Some of these concrete types can set hard in as little as twenty to forty minutes. While this may sound great for projects, it is still important to realize that some projects cannot use this type of concrete.

This is why, prior to buying a bag of concrete that hardens quickly, you should always ask a sales associate if they would recommend this type of concrete for the project you are up to. If they say no, do not buy that concrete. Stick to the older stuff instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Is it dangerous to step in wet concrete?

Potentially, yes, it’s dangerous since you can slip and twist your ankle, for example.

(Video) How Long Does Concrete Take To Cure-Concrete Drying Time

⭐ What if concrete gets onto your skin?

If it’s still fresh, wash it off immediately with water. If it’s dried or you feel burning sensation on your skin, call 911.


How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On New Concrete? ›

The answer is that your concrete will be ready in a surprisingly short time. Your concrete should be solid enough to walk on, without leaving footprints, after anything from 24 to 48 hours. By seven days, your concrete should be cured to at least 70 percent of its full strength.

Can you walk on concrete after 12 hours? ›

After 24 hours, you can safely walk on your new concrete.

If there has been a lot of rain or you've done decorative stamping in the concrete, you should wait longer. Normal foot traffic should be fine on standard concrete at this point, but you should still be cautious about damaging the surface of the new paths.

How long does it take 4 inches of concrete to cure? ›

The general rule of thumb is that concrete takes about 28 days to dry for every inch of slab thickness. Within 24 to 48 hours, the concrete will be ready for foot traffic.

How often should you water newly poured concrete? ›

Moist curing is a common method of concrete curing. It involves wetting the concrete slab often with water (5-7 times per day) for the first 7 days. This method ensures your concrete slab will be extremely strong and durable, because it allows the moisture to evaporate slowly, preventing cracks and shrinks.

How long does it take for concrete to cure before weight? ›

DON'T subject new concrete to excessive weight.

Wait at least 24 hours before allowing foot traffic, including pets, on a newly poured sidewalk or slab, and don't drive a vehicle on a new driveway for at least 10 days.

When should I start watering my concrete? ›

Many construction specialists recommend watering it down five to ten times per day, for the first week, starting 2-4 hours after it has been poured. The first two to four hours lets the concrete “finish”, which refers to the setting process.

Should I spray water on fresh concrete? ›

Properly curing your concrete improves strength, durability, water tightness, and resistance for many years. The first 7 days after installation you should spray the slab with water 5-10 times per day, or as often as possible. Once the concrete is poured the curing process begins immediately.

What happens if you don't water new concrete? ›

Concrete that is not moist-cured at all dries too rapidly, and reaches less than half its potential design strength. It will also have a greater number of shrinkage cracks.

How do you know when concrete is fully cured? ›

Your concrete should be solid enough to walk on, without leaving footprints, after anything from 24 to 48 hours. By seven days, your concrete should be cured to at least 70 percent of its full strength.

How long does 12 inches of concrete take to cure? ›

Curing time of concrete is typically 24-48 hours, at which point it's safe for normal foot traffic. After one week, concrete is typically cured enough to handle continued construction including heavy machinery. Concrete is recognized to have reached full strength 28 days after placement.

Can you put too much water on new concrete? ›

Having too much water in your concrete will reduce the strength of the cured slab, increasing the risk of shrinkage and cracking. Cracked concrete is particularly problematic in a climate where you can expect freezing and thawing conditions, as the slab will not be as durable.

How long should I wait to put furniture on new concrete? ›

After a reseal, wait 24 hours before walking on the concrete and then wait another 2 days before adding furniture, flower pots, etc. The caution tape and stakes can be removed after 24 hours and added to your household waste.

How long should concrete cure before removing forms? ›

After pouring and finishing the slab, you should wait 24-48 hours before removing concrete forms. You can remove the formwork once the concrete has enough strength to keep it from cracking. Concrete naturally contracts as it cures, so it should pull away from the forms and make them easier to remove.

What speeds up concrete curing? ›

Add warmer water. As one of the key ingredients in concrete, water is essential for the curing reaction to occur. The curing time can be hastened by using a slightly warmer water in the mixture as this will encourage the reaction to occur more quickly – do not, however, use blazing hot water as this could be damaging.

How much weight does concrete lose as it cures? ›

Half of that water will go toward hydrating the cement, leaving around 4.5 lbs of water as relative humidity. If you assume that the concrete will still have a relative humidity of 75% to 80% several months into its service life, then you only have about a pound of weight loss.

Is there a difference between concrete and cement? ›

What is the difference between cement and concrete? Although the terms cement and concrete often are used interchangeably, cement is actually an ingredient of concrete. Concrete is a mixture of aggregates and paste. The aggregates are sand and gravel or crushed stone; the paste is water and portland cement.

What time of year is best to pour concrete? ›

With scorching and freezing weather ruled out for the best possible results, that leaves the spring and fall for optimal concrete pouring. April and May tend to be big months for concrete work, with the temperatures firmly above freezing but not usually climbing into the nineties yet.

Does water make concrete dry faster? ›

As an essential ingredient in any concrete mix, water plays an important role in the curing process and can affect curing times in a number of ways. For example, if you use slightly warmer water in your concrete mix, you can encourage a quicker reaction and, in turn, a quicker curing time.

What might happen if heavy rain falls 5 hours after concrete is poured? ›

Even if it starts raining after a concrete pour, the potential for damage may not be that serious. If you had time to complete the finishing process and the concrete has stiffened (typically 4 to 8 hours after mixing), rainwater may cause little if any damage.

What temperature does concrete cure at? ›

Upon pouring and throughout curing, the concrete must be kept at 40 degrees if more than 72 inches thick, 45 degrees if 36 to 72 inches thick, 50 degrees if 12 to 36 inches thick, or 55 degrees if less than 12 inches.

How do you keep concrete from cracking when drying? ›

Reducing concrete cracking
  1. Keep an eye on the temperature. ...
  2. Prevent excess water. ...
  3. Look into using synthetic micro fibers. ...
  4. Brace formwork. ...
  5. Use formed joints. ...
  6. Explore pre-curing options. ...
  7. Provide sufficient concrete cover. ...
  8. Start curing the concrete as quickly as possible.
Mar 2, 2018

Should I cover concrete after pouring? ›

If the concrete is still fresh (around 2-4 hours after pouring), it's important to cover the surface to protect it.

Does concrete take 100 years to fully cure? ›

Does concrete take 100 years to cure? No, this is a bit of a myth with the concrete industry. While concrete does continue to harden indefinitely, pore moisture has to drop below a certain level at some point and this isn't typically 100 years.

Does thicker concrete take longer to cure? ›

Thickness of the concrete slab - Thicker slabs will take longer to dry obviously. However, this is not linear; a 4 inch thick slab will not cure 4 times slower than a 1 inch thick slab, although that is the current rule of thumb.

Does rain affect cement curing? ›

Rain can weaken the concrete surface and compromise its strength since it can wash off the cement in the mix. This can lead to issues like cracks in the concrete and delays in the curing process, both of which can lead to a poorly finished surface.

How strong is concrete after curing? ›

The often specified seven-day curing commonly corresponds to approximately 70 percent of the specified compressive strengths. The 70 percent strength level can be reached sooner when concrete cures at higher temperatures or when certain cement/admixture combinations are used.

How long before you can drive on 4000 psi concrete? ›

Concrete professionals suggest waiting at least seven days after the crew is finished before parking or driving your personal vehicle(s) on your new concrete. The reason for this is because one week is the time period it takes for your new concrete to achieve 90% of its full potential strength.

What is honey combing in concrete? ›

Honeycombing is the term used to describe areas of the surface that are coarse and stony. It may be caused by insufficient fine material in the mix, perhaps due to incorrect aggregate grading or poor mixing.

Can I walk on concrete after 4 hours? ›

Please keep vehicles, children, pets, and yourself off of your newly poured concrete for the next 24 hours. After 24 hours, you can walk on your newly poured concrete, but avoid dragging your feet, 'doing the twist', or allowing your pets to walk on it as their claws can scuff the concrete.

What do you spray on concrete after it is poured? ›

What's being sprayed on the concrete pavement is a curing compound. It goes on pink so crews can see where it has been applied, but it dries clear. This curing compound is sprayed on to prevent moisture from evaporating from the freshly placed concrete.

How long does concrete keep getting harder? ›

Technically, concrete never stops curing. In fact, concrete gets stronger and stronger as time goes on. But, as far as we're concerned, to reach a practical strength, most industrial concrete mixes have a 28 day curing period.

What happens when you finish concrete too early? ›

Troweling too early can also result in eventual scaling and blisters due to trapped rising bleed water and air. Early scaling results in a weak layer of concrete that may break when exposed to winter conditions and deicing chemicals.

Does concrete continue to harden for months after setting? ›

Concrete Never Stops Curing

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.

What days are the most critical when curing concrete? ›

Minimum Curing Time of Different Concrete Constructions
DaysCompressive Strength
1 Day16%
3 Day40%
7 Day65%
14 Day90%
1 more row
Mar 8, 2021

What is the minimum thickness of concrete over existing concrete? ›

How thin can you pour concrete over concrete? Your new layer needs to be at least 2 inches thick. If it's any thinner than that, it'll easily crack under pressure and won't adequately bond to your surface.

How much weight can a 6 inch concrete driveway hold? ›

How Much Weight Can a Concrete Driveway Hold? Typically, concrete driveways that are 4″ thick can withstand loads of regular vehicles, which is approximately 8,000 pounds. A 6″ thick concrete driveway can withstand heavy-duty trucks that can around weigh about 70,000 pounds.

Will a fan help dry concrete? ›

There are things you can do before and after slab construction. Sand and insulation under the concrete floor in the first place can help prevent moisture from getting to the concrete when it rains and snows. Below are some ways to keep floors dry on a rainy day: Use a floor fan to help dry the concrete right away.

Does concrete cure faster in hot or cold weather? ›

High temperatures mean faster curing, but fast curing equates to weaker strength in the end.

Does more cement make concrete set faster? ›

Use the correct amount of water in the mix. If there's too much water, more water will be left over after proper curing that will need to evaporate. That means a longer drying time. You can use a high cement content mix to reduce the drying time.

How much is 1 yard of concrete? ›

Most concrete purchases will be made in cubic yards, which equates to 27 cubic feet. For example, a project measuring 10 ft in length by 10 ft in width with a depth of 3.5 in will be just over 1 cubic yard.

Does concrete swell as it cures? ›

It is not as well known that when concrete undergoes early water curing, it swells slightly, whatever its water-cement or water-binder ratio. Therefore, with early water curing, not only self-desiccation and autogenous shrinkage are absent but, on the contrary, concrete swells slightly.

What does concrete do to your body? ›

The cement causes many issues: it is highly toxic, prompting eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation, and contains calcium oxide, corrosive to human tissue, and chromium, which can prompt severe allergic reactions.

Can you pour concrete to concrete? ›

Yes, you can pour fresh concrete over existing concrete. As long as your concrete is in mint condition, this task is doable. If you decide to pour a new mixture over an old slab, be sure it is at least 2 inches thick.

Why do they put rocks in concrete? ›

Because concrete is a very porous material, it will absorb any moisture that it contacts. This can cause pooling. Without crushed stone, pooling water will settle under it and erode your slab. Adding a layer of crushed stone will add proper drainage, as well as create a barrier between your slab and the ground.

Why can't you pour concrete over concrete? ›

Since cement lacks any natural bonding agents, newly-poured concrete won't naturally bond to the existing slab. You'll need to either use a bonding agent to adhere the two layers together or use an unbonded overlay method. Condition-affected life span: Properly installed concrete can last for over 50 years.

Will concrete cure in 12 hours? ›

Concrete typically takes 24 to 48 hours to dry enough for you to walk or drive on it. However, concrete drying is a continuous and fluid event, and usually reaches its full effective strength after about 28 days.

Can concrete get wet after 12 hours? ›

Freshly placed concrete should be protected from rain for at least 12 hours from its placement. After that, the rainfall rarely influences concrete properties.

Can concrete dry in 12 hours? ›

So, how long does Concrete take to dry? Concrete takes 12 to 48 hours to dry before you should walk or stand on it, 10 days before you should drive on it, and it takes 28 days to cure fully.

Can you walk on cement after 24 hours? ›

After 24 hours, you can walk on your newly poured concrete, but avoid dragging your feet, 'doing the twist', or allowing your pets to walk on it as their claws can scuff the concrete.

Will light rain hurt concrete? ›

HOW DOES RAIN AFFECT CONCRETE? Rain falling on top of freshly laid concrete can damage the surface and compromise a level and floated finish.

Does rain help concrete cure? ›

Rain can weaken the concrete surface and compromise its strength since it can wash off the cement in the mix. This can lead to issues like cracks in the concrete and delays in the curing process, both of which can lead to a poorly finished surface.

How many years does it take concrete to fully dry? ›

Although the bulk of the hydration process takes place in the hours and days immediately after the pour, concrete needs 28 days to fully dry. While the slab will harden and lighten in color before 28 days, don't be fooled into thinking it's done hydrating.

What makes concrete harden faster? ›

Add calcium chloride. Including this compound into the wet concrete mix before pouring is an easy way to quicken the concrete solidification time – this compound accelerates the process of cement hydration.

Does concrete dry at night? ›

Concrete can be successfully placed, cured, and finished at night or during cold weather, but to achieve this, learning about the different factors that can affect concrete, proper placing, and tips must be observed.

What happens if it rains hours after pouring concrete? ›

How Long Should Concrete Dry Before it Rains. If rain is in the forecast for the days or hours after you expect to finish the job, you shouldn't have to worry. As long as the concrete is given 4 to 8 hours after mixing and finishing to set up, rainwater won't affect it nearly as badly as it could.

How strong is concrete after 3 days? ›

Viewing the table, you can discover that concrete gains 16 percent strength in one day, 40 percent in 3 days, 65 percent in 7 days, 90 percent in 14 days and 99 percent strength in 28 days. Therefore, concrete gains strength rapidly in the first two weeks after casting (90% in just 14 days).


1. When to Start Curing of Concrete. | Best Time for Concrete Curing.
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2. When To Start Finishing Concrete After The Pour
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3. Homeowner Ruins Fresh Poured Concrete Driveway!
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4. When is concrete safe from rain?
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5. Should You Wet Cure New Concrete?
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6. When NOT To Start Finishing Concrete (How To Know It's Too Early)
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