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How Long Does Concrete Take To Set?

Get Yourself A Perfect Slab.


Standard concrete (or full-strength concrete) has a setting time of approximately 24 to 48 hours. However, the truth is that concrete never really sets and is constantly hardening a little more each day.  

The way wet concrete hardens is a function of the cement particles reacting with the water that it is mixed with; as the cement bonds with the water molecules, the concrete hardens.

There are always tiny moisture bubbles in the concrete, so even after achieving what is commonly thought of as “full strength,” the concrete will continue getting slightly harder.

How Long Should You Wait Before You Can Walk Or Drive On Newly Laid Concrete?

The real question is not how long does concrete take to set, but how long does the curing process take for the concrete to be ready for whatever your purposes are for the concrete?

For example, how long after laying a concrete slab will it be before you can walk on it without leaving footprints, drive or park your car without sinking into the concrete?

Approximately 24 to 48 Hours To Walk On

In the majority of cases, the concrete drying time is a surprisingly short amount of time. Standard concrete (or full-strength concrete) has a setting time of approximately 24 to 48 hours, depending on the surroundings in which it is set and should be solid enough to walk on without sinking into or leaving footprints.

In 28 days, Your Concrete Will Be Fully Hardened

After about seven days, the concrete should be at least 70 per cent of its full strength. So you should be able to drive on it without damaging it, although you may want to hold off on driving heavy machinery or trucks across it.

At 28 days, you can expect the concrete to be fully hardened.

However, Concrete Will Continue Curing Or Setting For Years.

It takes about a month after installation for a concrete slab to reach its optimum strength; however, it will continue to harden and develop as time goes on.

However, while the concrete continues to solidify, it doesn’t necessarily benefit its structure, as it essentially becomes unnecessary.

This Is Because Of The Cement Particles?

When you combine water and cement with aggregates to create concrete, the individual cement particles begin mixing with the water to form a bond. This then makes the concrete mix stronger, and it will continue to harden as long there is moisture present – although this process does take time and is much slower.

Some Of The Things That Can Effect The Setting Time Of Concrete

One of the most critical factors to address in the concrete curing process is moisture’s role. Concrete needs just the right amount of moisture in order to set to its maximum strength.

If you have too much moisture, then the concrete will set way too fast, resulting in poor overall structural integrity and strength, Whereas too little will make the concrete much harder to work into place.

Understanding Mixing And Fast Setting

Understanding how to mix concrete is essential for you to get the most out of it. Concrete contractors like the team at Skyco Group will often use accelerants in freshly mixed concrete.

This helps to speed up the setting time on a job where the concrete mix must be used as soon as possible, for example, on a concrete surface like a concrete driveway or concrete floor.

Although the accelerants will reduce the strength of the concrete on completion, the disparity in strength overall is not noticeable and is unlikely to affect its structural integrity.

When It Comes To Laying Concrete, Talk To The Professionals

Whether your concreting project might be big or small, the skilled team here at SKYCO Group understands just how important your outdoor space is in your everyday life.

10 Years of Experience

As a company, we here at SKYCO Group strive to achieve our utmost best when providing you with our quality concreting services.

With over 10 years of experience, you can rest easy knowing our friendly expert tradespeople will take you through every step to ensure we deliver a quality concreting project.

A Lifetime Guarantee

To learn more about the full range of indoor and outdoor concreting services we offer throughout Melbourne and the lifetime guarantee we offer on all our workmanship. You can call us on 03 9993 7188 or email We’re available six days a week from 7.00 am until 6.00 pm.


Here at SKYCO Group, we often get asked all sorts of questions about concrete and concreting which we’re more than happy to answer. Here are just some of the questions we get asked, along with a few tips on some of the best ways to speed up the setting time for concrete.

What Does Curing Concrete Mean?

Curing is one of the most critical steps in constructing a concrete slab, as proper curing will significantly increase the strength of concrete and its durability.

Concrete hardens due to hydration: in other words, when there is a chemical reaction between cement and water. However, hydration will only occur if water is available and the temperature of the concrete stays within a reasonable range.

So it’s essential during the concrete curing period – typically five to seven days that concrete is kept moist.

Can A Concrete Blanket Help To Speed Up The Concrete Setting Time?

Concrete blankets are very successful in helping to speed up the concrete curing and setting time for freshly laid concrete. They do this by maintaining a constant heat of hydration in the early stages of the concrete curing process.

Concrete blankets are ideal for protecting the concrete from colder or freezing temperatures, relieving the threat of thawing, which can significantly impact the structural integrity of the concrete.

These blankets work on all types of fresh concrete jobs, particularly cold weather concreting. They are incredibly portable, so you can easily take them to every job, whether an indoor or outdoor project like a concrete driveway.

Are there Any Other Ways To Help The Concrete Drying Time?

There are a whole host of other ways in which you can speed up the pace at which newly poured concrete dries, and you could try any of these;

The Correct Water To Mix Ratio

Ensure your water mix ratio is correct, as this is essential for achieving a much faster and more realistic time for the concrete to dry. Having too much water will result in poor performance and strength, whereas too little will make it difficult for the concrete to cure completely.

Never Cover Or Seal The Concrete

Make sure that you don’t cover or seal the surface on the concrete, as this typically causes the pores to become blocked. When this happens, the moisture takes much longer to evaporate, which results in longer concrete drying times.

Keep A Constant Air Temperature

If your concrete job is inside, always keep all windows, doors and openings shut and have the ventilation and air conditioning on with the air temperature at a constant level. Alternatively, you can use electric dehumidifiers to eliminate moisture from the air. Both will help in the concrete drying times.

Author : SEO Pir2

Published Date : September, 13 2022

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