How Long Does Concrete Take To Dry And What Factors Affects The Drying Time

Blog, Construction

If you are planning a concrete project, you might have many questions running through your head. Like, how long does it take for concrete to dry completely? Or how long do you have to wait until you can put it to use? Generally, drying begins as soon as the concrete is mixed with water.

But you should note that even though it starts to dry immediately, it isn’t ready for use. It takes longer than you might expect for it to dry completely. To help your project succeed, I have written this article to answer all the questions you might have. Please read on to get your answers.

How long does it take concrete to dry before walking on it?

Drying provides the proper conditions for concrete to achieve the desired moisture condition. This condition is usually one that is conducive to its intended use. Typically, the rule of thumb is 24 – 48 hours. After that, the concrete should be dry enough to walk or drive on. However, you must note that this does not include trucks or other family-sized cars.

Driving heavy vehicles on it may undo all your hard work so far. It also means wasted time, effort, materials, and resources. Therefore, it is advisable to wait until the concrete is completely dry before driving heavy vehicles or machinery.

How long does concrete take to dry completely?

Concrete dries as the water in it evaporates. For the concrete to dry completely, it usually takes around 28 days per inch of slab thickness. After the 28-day mark, it should be strong enough to drive heavy vehicles through it.

You should note that the 28-day mark is subject to change. Certain factors might impact the drying time of the concrete, and you should be aware of them before you commence your project.

What factors affect how long concrete takes to dry?

Some of these factors include the following;

1. Weather

The ambient temperature plays a massive role in the time it takes for concrete to dry. Generally, a hot temperature is ideal as it helps water evaporate faster. On the other hand, cold or humid temperatures may slow down the process entirely.

2. Moisture content

Water is also another factor that affects the drying time of concrete. The more water in the mixture, the longer the dry time. That is why getting the proper ratio when mixing is essential.

Most concrete bags come with instructions on mixing them, so follow the directions to avoid adding too much water. Additionally, there is also the issue of rainfall during the drying period. If the concrete absorbs much water while it rains, it may take longer to dry.

3. Type of concrete used

The truth is that one can use different types of concrete mix. Some dry quickly and can even allow foot traffic as soon as 3 hours after the mixture. But the result of mixtures like these is usually concrete that is otherwise lacking in durability and strength.


Is it OK if it rains after pouring concrete?

It should have little or no damage if it rains for eight hours after pouring the concrete. However, if it rains earlier, it may cause the concrete to absorb excess water, which may require a longer time to dry completely.

What is the best temperature to pour concrete?

The ideal temperature is said to be between 40 °F and 60 °F.

How can you make concrete dry faster?

The best advice is to pour the concrete on a sunny day because the concrete will dry faster in sunnier conditions.

Conclusion – How Long Does Concrete Take To Dry?

It takes 24 to 48 hours for the concrete to dry enough for foot traffic. However, it is best to refrain from moving heavy objects on it or driving heavy vehicles across it until it dries completely. How long it takes for concrete to dry completely depends on certain factors, such as weather, moisture content, or the type of concrete used.

However, the rule of thumb for allowing concrete to dry completely is ideally 28 days. If you are looking into starting a concrete project, it would be best to seek the help of a professional. This is because any mistake may result in damaged concrete and wasted efforts.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you did, you should visit our blog page for other interesting articles.

Thanks for reading.

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Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


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