Proper concrete care is just as important for its life and general properties as proper composition, laying and vibrating. That is why if you plan on carrying out independent construction work, you must remember about proper consultations with professionals, who will clearly determine the scope of care-related work to be executed.
Individual concrete care methods are distinguished depending on the season when the construction work takes place. Generally, a simple division into summer and winter work is adopted. As you can easily guess, in summer the fresh concrete has to be particularly protected against too high temperatures, while in winter – from too low temperatures, though it is not the temperatures that are the most important here, but preserving the water contained within the concrete.
In summer, concrete should be damp at least for a few days, since if it dries up too suddenly, it will not be durable and will succumb to quicker dilapidation. The dampness of a freshly laid surface can be obtained by spraying it with water a few times a day and also by using dampness arresting pads and textiles. You should remember, however, that water used for spraying cannot be too cold, since if its temperature is too low, it can create cracks in the drying concrete. Some professionals also recommend using coatings preventing evaporation, e.g. special films. The use of special preparations sprayed onto concrete, stopping the evaporating water, is gaining popularity as well. Intense wind also speeds up drying, so the drying composite should be protected against its effects as well. This can be done with the film mentioned above.
Concrete care in winter is much more difficult and requires significant amounts of knowledge and skill. The laid concrete cannot cool down too quickly and thus it has to be covered with heat protection materials and sometimes even heated with appropriate pads, hot air or infrared lamps. Of course, restraint should be shown in this case as well, since too high temperatures can accelerate the drying of composite too much, while too low temperatures – cause the water within the concrete to freeze and crack its structure open. Due to this, the great majority of professionals advise against carrying out construction work in winter, since it is then easy to make an error resulting in very low concrete layer or structure quality.