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How Long Does It Take For Quikrete To Dry?

Quikrete makes a variety of concrete products that are sold in premixed bags of varying weights with strengths as high as 5000 psi. They also make specialized concrete with additional attributes like quick setting or crack resistant. And then there’s the specialty mixes that are designed for a specific purpose like building a shower floor or a kitchen countertop. Concrete is basically just a mixture of 3 main ingredients. Sand, cement and aggregate stone. When you mix these 3 ingredients together, in a specific ratio, with water, the concrete hardens. Additional ingredients can be included in the mix which add features like more strength, color, flexibility or a decreased set time. How long it takes Quikrete to dry has a lot to do with the mix your using, the weather and how thick the pour is.

Knowing how fast your concrete mix will set, dry, and cure is a very important part of using concrete.

A typical 80 pound bag of 4000 psi Quickrete Concrete Mix will be dry strong enough to support weight in around 24-48 hours. This varies based on weather conditions and how thick the concrete is. In general, it takes concrete a full 28 days to fully dry and cure.

Quikrete makes a variety of batches but in this article we’ll mainly be discussing their fast drying mix. If your using another batch, check the bag’s directions for dry times.

Moisture In Quikrete

Concrete is made up of sand, cement and aggregate stone that get mixed together to form a dry mix. It’s not until water is added that it becomes hardened concrete. Most people believe that concrete completely dries and then hardens, but that’s not the case. While concrete is typically very dry, it’s also a porous material that holds some amount of moisture inside.

When water is added to the dry concrete mixture, a chemical reaction occurs which strengthens the concrete. This is called curing. Over time, concrete continues to cure and dry out. During this chemical reaction, water gets left behind inside the concrete’s porous structure. In general it takes 28 days for concrete to cure and dry out.

When masons talk about concrete being fully dry they’re typically referring to the curing process. Outdoor concrete will never be completely dry. If it rains or there’s ground water, some of that moisture will be absorbed by the concrete. For example, they may say it takes 28 days for your patio to fully dry, what they’re referring to is curing dryness.

On the other hand, if you have a patio that’s done curing and it rains, that’s a different form of drying.

How long it takes Quikrete to dry depends on what type of drying your referring to. If it’s curing, that’s about 28 days. But if it’s water absorption from being outside, that will vary based on all sorts of factors like heat and humidity.

Quikrete Drying

There are a few terms you should understand that have a lot to do with concrete and drying. They’re common phrases that are sometime misunderstood and used improperly. And they all have a lot to do with how long it takes Quikrete to dry.

Setting

When people ask how long it takes Quikrete to dry they may actually be asking how long it takes for Quikrete to set.

Setting is when concrete has dried, and hardened, to the point where it’s solid and can’t be worked anymore. Once concrete has set up, you won’t be able to trowel, shape or broom the finish anymore. And typically it’s safe to walk on. How long a concrete mixture takes to set depends on how much water was used in the mixture, what ingredients and ratios were used in the mix, and the weather.

In most cases, curing starts after the concrete has fully set.

Curing

Curing is the process where concrete hardens and dries over time. A chemical reaction occurs inside concrete when you mix it with water and allow it to dry. This process can take as long as 28 days to fully complete. Concrete grows stronger the longer it is allowed to cure. When a mason or builder asks how long it takes Quikrete to dry, he may be referring to curing. This is because you need concrete to be fully dried, or cured, before you can put too much weight on it. For example, if a builder pours a sidewalk, it’ll be safe to walk on in a day or two. But if your building a bridge, the concrete has to fully cure before you put 50 tons on top of it.

Various curing methods focus on keeping water in the concrete for as long as possible. Slowing down the process makes a stronger concrete.

It’s important to note that using too much water in your concrete mix is a bad thing. Excess water weakens concrete, makes it brittle and prone to cracks. To create super strong concrete you need the bare minimum amount of water and a long curing process.

Eventually the curing process is over and the concrete “dries”. Dried concrete will be much harder than it was in the beginning if it’s been mixed properly and allowed to dry slowly.

After 24-48 hours, Quikrete is hard and dry enough to hold some weight. You should be able to walk on it without damaging the concrete. After 7 days, the concrete reaches about 2500 psi. But if you want full strength Quikrete, which is over 4,000 psi, you should allow concrete to cure for 28 days to reach it’s full potential.

Finishing

Finishing concrete refers to the work you do after it’s been poured. Shaping the concrete, smoothing it, adding texture, stamping, colors and other details are all ways to finish concrete.

How long it takes Quikrete to dry is an important part of finishing concrete. Once the concrete sets, your chance to finish it is over.

Finishing Quikrete should be done while the concrete is setting because it’s still soft enough to be shaped. But how long it takes for Quikrete to dry effects the type of finishing you can do.

  • When Quikrete first starts to dry and is still a semi solid you can stamp it, shape it, smooth it and add surface colors and textures.
  • When Quikrete has dried to the point where water droplets start to form on the surface, it’s almost too hard to finish. This is when touches like a broom finish should be done.

Understanding how long it takes Quikrete to dry and set up are important when working with concrete because they help you finish it properly.

In general, you’ve only got about an hour or two with a standard concrete mix to finish it once it’s been poured. With a Quikrete fast setting mix, you’ve got a lot less. These set up in 25-40 minutes so you’ll have to work much faster.

Fast Setting Quikrete

Quikrete offers a fast setting concrete mix that drys and hardens in 25-40 minutes as opposed to 24-48 hours.

To make concrete set that fast extra ingredients are added into the concrete mix. I don’t know exactly what they are because Quikrete doesn’t list them on the label but I can tell you they definitely work.

A concrete that sets up this fast is great for some projects like setting a fence post or making a small repair. But it’s not great for large patios or anything that needs finishing. With such a short amount of dry time, it’s really hard to do all your finish work.I’ve seen plenty of concrete projects ruined because they weren’t finishing properly before they set up.

A longer set time can be an advantage for some projects and disadvantage for others. In general, I recommend regular concrete if the job needs finish work, and fast setting Quikrete if it doesn’t. Repair work that’s time sensitive is the exception.

20 to 40 minutes may seem like plenty of time, but it’s not when you’ve got a large area to finish.

Weather Conditions & Humidity

How long Quikrete takes to dry has a lot to do with weather conditions and humidity.

High humidity causes concrete to dry slower because of all the moisture in the air. Low humidity does just the opposite. Without moisture in the air your concrete will dry much quicker.

Air temperature and sun both have a big impact on Quikrete’s dry time. Direct sunlight and heat both make Quikrete dry faster.

Make sure you adjust your timing based on the conditions your working in because some finish work is time sensitive. For example, the broom finish is done last, just before the concrete hardens up. You’ll know it’s time when you see droplets forming on the concrete’s surface. In hot dry weather this happens much faster. But in cool humid weather you’ve got a lot more time to work with.

Temperature has a big impact on Quikrete’s dry time too. In general, the hotter the air temperature the faster the curing/drying process is. The colder the air temperature, the slower the curing/drying process is.

Make sure you consider the weather, temperature and humidity when figuring out your Quikrete’s dry time. You’ll need enough time to not only pour but also trowel, broom, shape, edge, color and finish all the concrete.

Summary: How Long Does It Take For Quikrete To Dry?

Quikrete makes a variety of concrete products that are sold in premixed bags of varying weights with strengths as high as 5000 psi. They also make specialized concrete with additional attributes like quick setting or crack resistant. And then there’s the specialty mixes that are designed for a specific purpose like building a shower floor or a kitchen countertop. Concrete is basically just a mixture of 3 main ingredients. Sand, cement and aggregate stone. When you mix these 3 ingredients together, in a specific ratio, with water, the concrete hardens. Additional ingredients can be included in the mix which add features like more strength, color, flexibility or a decreased set time. How long it takes Quikrete to dry has a lot to do with the mix your using, the weather and how thick the pour is.

Knowing how fast your concrete mix will set, dry, and cure is a very important part of using concrete.

A typical 80 pound bag of 4000 psi Quickrete Concrete Mix will be dry strong enough to support weight in around 24-48 hours. This varies based on weather conditions and how thick the concrete is. In general, it takes concrete a full 28 days to fully dry and cure.

Quikrete makes a variety of batches. In this article we mainly discussed their quick drying formula. If your using another batch, check the bag for more accurate dry times.

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

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