In many situations, a Houston concrete parking lot is the best choice, especially if heavy trucks will have access to the lot. Understandably, when people are deciding whether to choose concrete for their new parking lot, one thing they commonly want to know is how long it will take the concrete to cure. Technically, this is not the right question to ask. What they really want to know is how long it will be before they can put their new parking lot into service, and that involves the drying time rather than the curing time.
What Is the Difference Between Curing and Drying for a Houston Concrete Parking Lot?
Concrete cures through a chemical reaction, while drying is an evaporative process that exhausts excess water in the mix. Curing is the process that basically turns the mix into concrete, and, depending on the mix and other factors, curing can take about a month for every inch of slab thickness. However, this does not mean that you will not be able to use your concrete parking lot in Houston for several months. Typically, you can begin allowing foot traffic a day or two after your concrete parking lot installation. Depending on your particular parking lot construction, your local concrete company may advise you to keep vehicles from accessing your new parking lot for one week. If the weather is not conducive, however, your concrete parking lot company may recommend waiting longer than a week.
What Factors Affect the Drying Time of a Houston Concrete Parking Lot?
Because the concrete curing process is chemical in nature, concrete will always cure. However, the drying process can be affected by the weather, the mix design, and the steps taken during the concrete parking lot installation.
1. When a liquid evaporates, its molecules escape into the air above the source, which, in this case, is the pavement. If the air is too saturated to accept any more molecules, evaporation is slowed or stalled. Therefore, concrete parking lot contractors prefer days on which the relative humidity is as low as possible. Furthermore, a concrete parking lot company must also consider the temperature. Warm temperatures make it easier for the molecules of water in the mix to escape, speeding up the drying time.
2. There are numerous ways to design the mix for a Houston concrete parking lot. It is important to keep water and cement in their proper proportions. Too much water will increase drying time. Increasing the cement can reduce the drying time, but it can increase the risk of shrinkage cracks. Substituting synthetic aggregates for lightweight aggregates can also help expedite drying; lightweight aggregates tend to be highly absorbent, but synthetic aggregates are not absorbent.
3. Whenever possible, concrete parking lot contractors should not seal the concrete or use curing agents to avoid increasing the drying time. Care should be taken to avoid excessive troweling or finishing of the slab as this can result in blocked pores that will slow evaporation, increasing the drying time. Prior to pouring the slabs, your local concrete company may install vapor barriers to minimize the seepage of groundwater through the concrete.
Marathon Solutions Group can assist you with your concrete ramp, concrete sidewalks, concrete ADA features, concrete curbs, and concrete parking lot installation. We also offer a wide range of other services, including pavement repair, parking lot striping, bollard installation, marking removal, asphalt paving, thermoplastic markings, parking lot signs, asphalt sealcoating, asphalt resurfacing, parking lot maintenance, and asphalt crack repairs. We have an exemplary reputation that is based on our consistent delivery of exceptionally high-quality work and extraordinary customer service. If you are interested in requesting a free quote, call 800-879-1147, fill out our online form, or email Sales@Marathon-Solutions.com.