How Long Should Concrete Cure Before Putting Weight On It? | BagOfConcrete (2023)

This article aims to answer the question “How long should concrete cure before building?”. This article will also cover the curing time and conditions of concrete.

How long should concrete cure before putting weight on it?

It is recommended that concrete be allowed to cure for at least seven days before putting weight on it, according to the Concrete Network. However, if you wait longer, the likelihood of the concrete cracking is considerably reduced. After 28 days of curing, concrete has reached its ultimate strength and is ready for use.

Should I apply sealant on concrete before putting weight on it?

No, you don’t have to apply sealant on concrete before putting weight on it. However, once the forms have been removed and the surfaces appear dry, seal the concrete with sealants. For the curing chemical reaction to take place, there must be enough moisture in the concrete to keep it from drying out.

Alternatively, the base could be covered in plastic or waterproof paper. A more solid foundation is created throughout the curing process by using all of these components.

When does concrete reach its final strength?

After about a week of curing, poured concrete reaches about half of its full strength. Curing is the chemical process that concrete undergoes in the days immediately following its placement on a foundation or other structure.

When the foundations are about 50 percent cured, the building process can begin. However, full strength does not occur until 28 to 60 days, depending on the conditions.

When the temperature of the concrete rises above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, proper curing takes place. Concrete should not be poured if it is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. To ensure a uniform curing process, it’s important to maintain a constant temperature on the freshly poured foundation.

When the curing process is complete and these steps are followed, the foundation wall will be stronger and more durable overall. For example, the curing period for 50% strength drops from 6 to 4 days when the temperature is 70 degrees instead of 50 degrees.

How long should a concrete slab cure before putting weight on it?

At least 60 days before putting weight on it, a concrete slab should be allowed to cure. However, the weather and the type of sealant you use affect curing time. Ensure the temperature outside is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the best curing.

Before doing anything else, make sure that the concrete slab has cured thoroughly. It is generally acceptable to begin when the slab is 50% healed. How much concrete you need depends on what you intend to do with it, as well.

Homes in areas prone to high underground water levels, which make a basement impractical, often have concrete slab foundations as one of two primary sources of support.

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It’s essential to know how long a concrete slab needs to cure before you begin framing if you’re building a house.

Seven days after the concrete has been poured, you can begin framing on top of it. Seventy per cent of the strength of a fully cured concrete slab can be achieved at this point. It may take up to 28 days to pour concrete and let it heal to complete the curing process.

You don’t have to wait for four weeks or more for concrete to cure before framing can begin. A week after you remove the forms you used to pour the concrete and wait a few days, the concrete is usually strong enough to begin framing.

As a result, a quick phone call to a local concrete company can provide you with the most up-to-date information for your area.

How long does concrete become strong before putting weight on it?

Seven days is about how long it takes for concrete to reach 70% of its final strength requirement. For example, the framing for a house can be supported at this level of strength.

How long a concrete slab must cure before it can support weight depends on several factors. These factors are discussed in the following table.

To ensure a proper cure, it’s critical to keep the cement moist while it’s drying. To keep it from drying out too quickly during the first week of curing, I recommend spraying it down several times a day.

When curing your concrete slab, you should consider the slab’s long-term strength.

Are concrete and cement the same?

Concrete and cement are not the same things, even though they are frequently used interchangeably.

The complex, durable material known as concrete is made with water and whatever aggregate is used (usually sand).

To create a good concrete mix, several variables must be considered, including the intended use of the concrete.

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Other considerations include the temperature and movement of the ground beneath the concrete and how much weight will be placed on the structure.

Why does concrete need to cure before putting weight on it?

Concrete curing is essential for a variety of reasons. On the other hand, it aids in concrete’s long-term strength and durability.

Another factor to keep in mind is that you must keep the concrete at the proper moisture level while curing. To ensure this, ponding, spraying or even covering the concrete can be used to do so. Cracks and loss of strength can occur if concrete loses moisture too quickly.

For all of these reasons and more, curing concrete is an integral part of the process, which aims to keep the concrete from cracking until it has a sufficient level of toughness and resistance to wear to resist cracking.

Drying is necessary because wet cement cannot support any weight. To ensure that the concrete dries properly, curing is needed.

As a result, the curing process provides concrete with long-term strength and sturdiness. This is done by ponding, spraying, or covering the concrete to maintain the proper level of moisture in it.

To avoid cracking and loss of strength, it is essential to keep concrete moistened. To keep the concrete strong, it retains moisture in the slab. So long as the concrete is not yet strong enough to resist cracking, it prevents it from doing so.

It enhances the finished concrete’s strength, durability, water tightness, and wear resistance. To support any weight, wet cement needs to be dried out. It’s essential, however, that curing ensures the concrete dries correctly to ensure that it has the proper properties when it’s dry.

It is possible to speed up the curing process of concrete without compromising the quality of the finished product. Any way to reduce the cure time of concrete and thus reduce the overall cost of a construction project should be investigated.

DIY and professional builders can speed up curing by following these general guidelines:

Do your best to keep the air as dry as possible. The best way to reduce drying times is to enclose your concrete surface and run an air conditioning system.

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Use the appropriate volume of water. Using less water can speed up curing and drying times, but this may lead to weaker concrete in the long run.

Don’t use a sealant to protect the area. Dry time can be lengthened by sealing the concrete while still curing.

Consider using an additive with a quick cure time. Additives like these can speed up the curing process without weakening your concrete over time.

If you remove too much moisture from concrete too quickly, it will become weaker and won’t cure correctly.

A professional in your area may be able to give you better advice on how to reduce the cure time of your concrete slab without compromising its long-term strength if you’re unsure and building your own house or doing your concrete work for any project.

How can I strengthen my concrete slab before building?

Metal rebar embedded in the concrete is a standard method of strengthening the slab.

The tensile strength of concrete is measured by how well it holds together when pushed or tugged, and these thick metal rods are used to assist increase that strength when the concrete is poured into the form.

Pre-staged joints in concrete slabs may also be used to reduce the risk of cracking. Depending on the total size and thickness of the slab, these joints are positioned at specific intervals to assist prevent the propagation of cracks.

It’s nearly unavoidable that fractures will form in concrete, so installing these seams will make them less noticeable.

What should I do while my slab is curing?

The drying time should be included in your timetable while laying a concrete slab so that you don’t go behind schedule. It’s natural to ask what you may be doing while you wait for your slab to cure for a week before you begin framing.For the duration of the curing process, you should be providing moisture to your concrete, but your construction project does not need to be put on hold.

There are several other things you can do with that extra time:Amass the required resources.It’s time to focus on the outside (yard grading, etc.)Work on the plumbing and electrical systems first, then move on to other areas.Concrete drying time must be considered while designing a construction plan and timeline. Preventing unexpected delays and keeping projects on track may be achieved by doing so.

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How can I speed up the curing time of my concrete slab?

To speed up the curing process, there are several things you may do. Construction projects need a lot of time, so why not make the most of them?

The following are some techniques to speed up the healing process:

  • Use the correct quantity of water since less water may speed up both curing and drying periods by enclosing the concrete surface and using an HVAC system. Keep in mind that this might weaken the concrete over time.
  • A sealant should not be applied to the surface. As a result, it may take longer to dry out if applied while the concrete is still drying.
  • A rapid-curing additive may be used. These are designed to reduce the time it takes for concrete to harden without weakening it over time.
  • Curing chemicals may also speed up and strengthen the curing process. These may be obtained at most building supply and construction supply shops.
  • Concrete providers may also provide them. Compounds like this include elements that help fresh concrete develop a protective coating. This is another way to keep moisture in the fabric. The curing process is aided, and concrete is strengthened as a result.
  • Over time, compounds decompose entirely, making them easy to get.
  • Ensure that you don’t remove too much moisture from the concrete since this might lead to structural flaws later.


According to the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, concrete should be left to cure between three and nine days before building on it, depending on the temperature and moisture levels. Curing takes longer at higher humidity and lower temperatures.

According to Builder Bill, if a contractor or engineer is in charge of a project, you should heed the counsel of that professional because the cure is ultimately his duty. At the very least, you should wait at least three days for non-documented tasks.

There is an alternative to block or treated wood foundations, which are made of poured concrete. Building a form, inserting reinforcing rods, and then pouring concrete are all steps in the process.

Once it has dried and hardened, the concrete serves as a solid base upon which to build a house. The construction of a house relies on the correct curing procedure and time.

Frequently asked questions (FAQS): How long should concrete cure before putting weight on it?

How long should concrete cure before putting weight on it?

It is recommended that concrete be allowed to cure for at least seven days before putting weight on it, according to the Concrete Network. However, if you wait longer, the likelihood of the concrete cracking is considerably reduced. After 28 days of curing, concrete has reached its ultimate strength and is ready for use.

How long after pouring concrete can you start building?

Building on a concrete slab is generally permitted seven days after pouring.

By now, the concrete slab should have 70 percent of its final curing strength. For example, the house’s framework may be supported with this amount of power.

How long should concrete be before edging?

Curing is the process of letting the concrete dry and harden before using it.

In 3 to 4 days, you may use your concrete for light foot traffic; 5 to 7 days later, you can use your concrete for driving and parking; but the 28-day curing period is when your concrete is fully functional.

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Bandelt, M. J., Gross, S. P., Dinehart, D. W., Yost, J. R., & Pudleiner, J. D. (2019). Flexural behavior of a composite steel and precast concrete open web dissymmetric framing system.Engineering Structures,198, 109456.

El Jisr, H., Elkady, A., & Lignos, D. G. (2020). Hysteretic behavior of moment-resisting frames considering slab restraint and framing action.Journal of Structural Engineering,146(8), 04020145.

Cervera, M., Faria, R., Oliver, J., & Prato, T. (2002). Numerical modeling of concrete curing, regarding hydration and temperature phenomena.Computers & structures,80(18-19), 1511-1521.


How long do I wait to put weight on concrete? ›

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.

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

How long does four to six inches of concrete take to cure? As stated previously, concrete takes approximately 26-30 days to reach its full strength. If the concrete is professionally poured and floated, the curing process should be sound and ensure proper hardening of the concrete base.

How much weight can I put on freshly poured concrete? ›

Requirements from government agencies take this into account by recommending that concrete reach at least 75% of its compression strength before building things on top of it. It can sometimes take a week to reach this capacity.

How strong is concrete after 2 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).

Does spraying water on concrete help it cure? ›

DO spray new concrete with water. One of the most common methods for curing concrete is to hose it down frequently with water—five to 10 times per day, or as often as you can—for the first seven days. Known as “moist curing,” this allows the moisture in the concrete to evaporate slowly.

How do you know when concrete is fully cured? ›

When waiting for concrete to dry, keep these timeframes in mind:
  1. 24 to 48 hours - after inital set, forms can be removed and people can walk on the surface.
  2. 7 days - after partial curing, traffic from vehicles and equipment is okay.
  3. 28 days - at this point, the concrete should be fully cured.

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

To put it simply, the goal is to keep the concrete saturated during the first 28 days. 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.

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.

How much weight can a 4 inch slab of concrete hold? ›

Typically we like to limit the weight to about 40 lb/sqft on an unknown 4″ slab. In most cases you can go to 80 lb/sqft in isolated spots, but unless you know roughly what the soil bearing and reinforcing is for that slab you might be looking at cracking.

Should you water new concrete? ›

DO spray new concrete with water. 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.

How long do you have to stay off concrete after pouring it? ›

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.

Is the concrete in the Hoover Dam still curing? ›

The Hoover dam is still curing nearly a century after being built! But the upshot of the chemical reaction is to create a kind of stone you can pour into a mould.

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 is the minimum curing period? ›

Since all desirable properties are improved with curing, the period should be as long as practical. For most concrete structures, the curing period at temperatures above 5º C (40º F) should be a minimum of 7 days or until 70% of the specified compressive or flexural strength is attained.

What helps concrete cure faster? ›

How to Speed Up Concrete Drying
  1. Weather is a factor. If your concrete is exposed to the elements, you won't be surprised to learn that the concrete will dry faster in warmer, sunnier conditions. ...
  2. Using a heater. ...
  3. Using warm water. ...
  4. Reducing the amount of water. ...
  5. Avoid hard trowelling.

Why does new concrete crack? ›

As the slab loses moisture while curing it gets a bit smaller. As the concrete shrinks, the slab could crack in order to relieve tension. Shrinkage cracks are common and can occur as early as a few hours after the slab has been poured and finished. Usually they are not a threat to the structure.

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.

Will concrete cure with too much water? ›

The issue of adding too much water

Too much water added to the mix means that excess water is retained inside the concrete after the curing process has finished. This will often result in the formation of small cracks as the water eventually evaporates over time, which reduces the compressive strength of the concrete.

What happens when you finish concrete too early? ›

More often, premature finishing or improper first (bull floating) or second floating results in trapping rising bleed water and air below the top surface of the concrete (Image 2). When this occurs, the resulting weak or soft zone below the surface causes the top surface of the concrete to flake or scale off.

Will rain ruin fresh concrete? ›

Rain falling on top of freshly laid concrete can damage the surface and compromise a level and floated finish.

Can you pour concrete over 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.

What does sugar do to concrete? ›

The sugar slows down the setting of the concrete, and is used in hot conditions or when large amounts of concrete must be poured out before setting occurs. Very small amounts of sugar delays the hardening of concrete without influencing its strength or other properties once finally set.

Is it better for concrete to be too wet or dry? ›

When concrete becomes too wet, it becomes weak and brittle, making it more prone to breaking. However, when it comes to performing at its best, concrete cannot be too dry or too wet. Therefore, it is important to keep your concrete moist to aid in curing.

Should concrete be covered when curing? ›

The most efficient way to cure concrete is to use a plastic cover. The covers are placed on freshly poured concrete until the concrete has a chance to dry. Plastic concrete curing covers seal off concrete and prevents water from evaporating.

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.

Can I drive on concrete after 3 days? ›

After 48 hours: Concrete is okay to walk on, but it's still curing and gaining strength. Keep all wheeled traffic, including cars, bicycles and skateboards, off the surface. After 7 to 10 days: At this point the concrete has gained enough strength to support a car.

How long before you can put weight on quikrete? ›

QUIKRETE® Fast-Setting Concrete can be walked on in 2 hours. Wait at least 4 hours before placing heavy objects on the slab. GENERAL Curing is one of the most important steps in concrete construction. Proper curing increases the strength and durability of concrete.

How long does 2 inches of concrete take to set? ›

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.

Does wetting new concrete make it stronger? ›

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 often should you water newly poured concrete? ›

To put it simply, the goal is to keep the concrete saturated during the first 28 days. 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.

Does concrete cure faster in hot weather? ›

In colder temps, the concrete takes longer to set allowing the crystals formed within the concrete more time to strengthen. Conversely, warmer temps mean that crystals form more quickly, allowing for less time to strengthen. For example, at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, concrete could set in as little as two hours.

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 if it rains 3 hours after pouring concrete? ›

How Long Does Concrete Take to Dry Before Rain? 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.


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