We all want a beautiful and stable driveway. That is why you would often find many homeowners with new concrete driveway. If you are one of these homeowners who is trying to improve the look and functionality of your driveway, you should know a few things about concrete installation.
Sadly though, concrete installation is not as easy as most people claim it is. You should understand that there is a lot of preparation needed to ensure the success of this project. One of the trickiest issues you have to deal with is wetting your new concrete driveway.
Many homeowners ask this simple question—should I wet my concrete driveway? You will discover the answer in this article.
A Closer Look at Concrete Mixture
Before we can answer the question, we need to identify what are the contents of the concrete mixture. In general, concrete is composed of binder material, aggregate, water, and other additives. Below we will tackle these components in detail:
This is made up of sand, crushed stone and gravel.
This is the cement that is added to the concrete mixture. It is the one responsible for the hardening of the mixture.
This is often used during winter as it prevents concrete from freezing before it cures.
The standard concrete mixture has the following ratio of ingredients—41% gravel or crushed stone, 26% sand, 16% water, 11% cement, and 6% air. Based on the amount of water, you can expect the concrete mixture is wet.
Understanding the Concrete Curing Process
Another factor that we should take into consideration before we answer this question is what happens during the curing process of the concrete.
Once the concrete is already in place and properly smoothed out, the curing process starts. This process is also called as strengthening process because it is in this time that the concrete’s foundation is established and strengthened and it usually takes 5 to 7 days.
Another thing that you need to know is that there are a lot of things that can affect this process, most particularly the weather and the texture of the mixture.
When the weather is too cold or hot, the concrete cure at the right rate. To remedy this, most companies add concrete more additives to the mixture to prevent it from drying or freezing out too quickly.
The next issue is the dampness of the concrete. Due to the composition of the mixture, you can expect the mixture to be very wet initially. But when it is already spread out, it will get dry fast and may lead to unstable foundation and cracking of the mixture.
To know more about the curing process, please watch this video:
Should I Wet My Concrete Driveway?
Experts claim that the mixture must remain damp for the first seven days. This is the process called moist curing, and it is done to allow the moisture to evaporate more slowly. In this way, the concrete will cure uniformly and evenly from top to bottom.
Moreover, you will be able to maintain the low temperature of the concrete and prevent it from drying when you wet your concrete driveway.
With all these facts in mind, we can say that it is a must for you to wet your concrete driveway.
What Will Happen When You Don’t Wet Your Driveway
If you fail to keep your concrete driveway damp, the concrete will not cure properly and may lose its strength. It may exhibit premature cracking which is caused by the quick hardening of the concrete, preventing the cement to combine with the aggregate in the mixture properly.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Wetting Your Concrete Driveway
To achieve a successful curing process and for you to prepare the concrete driveway for walking, here are some of the concrete wetting tips that you should know:
- Start watering the concrete in the morning.
- Many people would start watering it during the hottest parts of the day. If you do that, the unexpected dampness will shock the concrete and may cause surface crazing.
- Spray a light mist of water for at least 2 times a day.
- To keep the concrete damp, you can cover it with either burlap or a black roofing paper.
- Make sure that the concrete is only damp and not too wet as too much water in the mixture may cause the water to bleed to the concrete’s surface. As a result, scaling may occur and may cause the cement to peel off at the top.
Should I wet my concrete driveway? The answer is plain and simple. Yes, you should. A damp concrete mixture is needed for the proper curing process of the driveway. But please keep in mind that the concrete must not be too wet or too dry to prevent potential concrete problems.