Concrete Cure Time: How Long Does Concrete Take To Dry and Set?

Find out how long it takes for concrete to dry for you to be able to walk and drive on it and learn how you can aid the curing process for the best results.

How Long Does It Take For Concrete To Dry?

Concrete curing is a continuous process. That’s why concrete drying time depends on the type of concrete you’re using and your purpose. It takes 1-2 days for concrete to dry enough to allow simple walking or driving.

However, more fundamental construction works require more than 28 days of drying. Read on to find out all about the important factors that impact the time for concrete to cure.

The Difference Between Concrete Curing And Drying

Concrete curing and drying are two fundamentally different processes but are often erroneously used interchangeably. After pouring, concrete will continue to harden for quite a while, and it can take months for it to set completely. On the other hand, curing is accomplished within 28 days, depending on the type of concrete you’re using.

Concrete Drying Time

By concrete drying time, people usually mean the degree of dryness that allows the concrete surface to be covered by resilient flooring material, like adhesives in flooring types. It’s important for the concrete surface not to be overly moist or excessively dry because it will interfere with adhesives and flooring. The drying of concrete differs from the conventional type of drying we imagine. It involves evaporation of the excess water from the concrete. So, the answer to the question “How fast does concrete dry?” is months and even years in some instances. However, 28 days are usually enough for most cases.

Concrete Curing Time

Concrete curing doesn’t match the conventional notion of the curing process that many people have. Concrete curing is about maintaining the proper time, concrete cure temperature, and moisture condition of concrete for it to develop its desired properties. That means you’d want to hold moisture in the concrete to allow it to be available for hydration of the cement particles

The optimum ambient concrete curing temperature is around 70°F (21°C). If the temperature is below 50°F (10°C), you need to introduce special anti-frost components into the composition. Otherwise, the concrete will not achieve the desired curing level. At the same time, the humidity on its surface should be at least 90%, which is achieved by watering and covering the block with plastic wrap or roofing material. The best temperature for concrete to set will allow you to gain 70% curing during the first 5-7 days after pouring the formwork. 100% is achieved in 2-4 weeks.

Concrete Cure Time Chart

The data contained in the concrete curing time chart should serve as a guide for the self-arrangement of concrete or reinforced concrete structures. But the application of data should take place in close practical relation to the actual construction conditions.

Concrete cure time in days

Air temperature °F





Concrete curing %



































How Long Does Concrete Sealer Take to Dry?

A concrete sealer prevents the penetration of moisture, dust, and corrosive gasses into cracks and seams. It’s a viscous or pasty substance isolating joints of concrete parts, expansion joints, holes, adjoining structures made of other materials, cracks, and other defects.

When choosing a sealant for concrete, consider the type of joint and the operating conditions of concrete structures. If you’re sealing joints between concrete and a metal, plastic, or wood structure, ensure that the sealant will not damage the material. There is no universal answer to “How long does it take for concrete sealer to dry?” because the concrete sealer drying time depends on its type.

Types of concrete sealers

Sealers can be single-, two- or three-component. In the first case, a sealer polymerizes by reacting with the moisture contained in the air. For the rest, you need to prepare a mixture with a base and a special hardener before use.

Sealing compounds are packed in tubes, cartridges, or buckets. You can use a manual or pneumatic construction gun to fill the seams and individual cracks. A spatula or brush is preferred for lots of minor damages or to protect the whole surface.

    • Polyurethane sealer

Polyurethane sealer provides durable sealing of joints (up to 40 years when used indoors). The layer is very resilient and rarely wears off or turns black over time. It’s pretty costly, but the benefits make up for it. In this case, the concrete sealer drying time is 12-24 hours.

    • Silicone sealer

Silicone sealer requires priming the surface; otherwise, it won’t provide good adhesion. This sealer grants seam elasticity and resistance to weathering. However, you can’t apply paint over a silicone layer. This concrete sealer drying time depends on the subtype and varies from 8-48 hours.

    • Bituminous sealer

The main feature of the bituminous sealer is increased moisture resistance. This sealant is suitable for sealing joints and cracks on the plinth, foundation, and roof. But it cannot be painted. Concrete sealer drying time for this type is 14-21 days.

    • Rubber & bituminous rubber sealer

Rubber & bituminous rubber sealers are characterized by high elasticity, good adhesion, suitability for painting, and better protection against high humidity and rust. The negative side is that work cannot be carried out at low temperatures. Concrete sealer drying time for rubber & bituminous rubber sealers is around 14-21 days.

    • Acrylic sealer

It’s not recommended to use acrylic sealer outside. Its main advantages include but aren’t limited to low price, environmental safety, ease of application, and vapor permeability (a low likelihood of mold). However, if you’re looking for improved durability, opt for moisture-resistant options. Concrete sealer drying time of acrylic sealer is only 12 hours.

How Long Does Quickset Concrete Take To Dry?

Quickset concrete boasts an accelerated hydration process due to its composition and production features, which reduces the curing time for concrete and the complete cycle of the mixture hardening. This type of concrete is used in situations where it’s impossible or impractical to wait 28 days for the concrete to cure. It allows you to reduce the time to complete the work and avoid downtime.

Nevertheless, quick-drying concrete is unlikely to ever displace conventional compositions from the market. Quickset products are produced with expensive equipment from high-quality raw materials (both factors increase the final cost). Besides, the quickset-drying concrete requires specific pouring technology skills. Quick set concrete cure time depends on the manufacturer. If the regular concrete takes 28 days to cure, the quickset one needs 2-3 days.

How Long Does Cement Take To Dry?

Lots of beginners in the construction field and those homeowners who choose to work with concrete themselves often wonder, “how long does it take for cement to dry?” The drying time of concrete depends on the cement used in the concrete mixture.

    • How Long for PVC Cement to Dry?

PVC cement is mostly a chemical solvent that fuses PVC pipes by melting connection points. After it, the PVC cement evaporates. Since its solvents are volatile, pipe assembling should be done right after applying cement. So, to answer “How long does it take for PVC cement to dry?” – PVC cement usually takes around 2 hours to dry.

    • How Long Does Rubber Cement Take to Dry?

Rubber cement is a rubber-based product dissolved in special substances. The cement retains its elasticity as it hardens. Therefore, it can be used to fix materials with different textures. So while answering “How long does it take cement to dry?” you have to remember that the concrete drying time depends on the applying method. Cold bonding takes 1-3 days to completely dry. Hot bonding involves heating the surface with the applied adhesive, then connecting parts. The rubber cement dry time can be reduced to 3 hours.

    • How Long Does It Take For Quick Cement To Dry?

Quick cement is a vital part of quickset concrete. The main point is to lower the curing time as much as possible. So if you’re wondering, “How long does quick dry cement take to dry?” – quick-dry cement takes up to 3 days to reach 100% curing condition. The lower the concrete curing time – the higher price of the cement.

Factors in Concrete Curing Time

To find out how long does concrete take to cure, you should take into account several conditions that affect the cure time for concrete.


The key factors in determining how long for concrete to cure are the environment and the period of the year when the construction work takes place. It includes indicators of street temperature and humidity.

The time for concrete to cure in summer heavily varies from the curing concrete in cold weather. The lower the temperature – the longer concrete does take to cure. The specifics of the concrete cure time under favorable conditions go as follows:

1-3 days – no more than 30%

7-14 – 60-80%

28 – 100%

If you want to make the foundation mortar quick-curing, you need to introduce special additives into its composition.


Another crucial factor in the concrete cure time is ramming. The better this step is carried out, the better the reaction of water with astringent components will be. It’s accomplished by vibration equipment in the industrial production of concrete solutions.

A dense screed doesn’t tolerate cutting and drilling after ramming. Therefore, it’s necessary to use diamond drills for such work. A common tip will be quickly incapacitated.


Concrete composition is one of the key factors determining how long does it take concrete to dry. Thus, if it contains a large number of porous additives, such as slag and expanded clay, water will linger in the solution for a long time. The liquid will evaporate faster if the mixture contains sand or gravel.

You can dilute the concrete compound with additional components to reduce the intensity of moisture evaporation and increase the strength. It can be bentonite or soap composition. This step impacts how long for concrete to dry. The introduction of such additives increases the overall cost of the work but prevents the problem of premature drying of the solution.

How To Make Concrete Dry And Cure Faster?

One of the most important factors in modern construction is work speed. You can increase the cure time for concrete by these three main methods:

    • Specialized concrete
    • Heating
    • Special additives acceleration curing

Although the answer to “How to make concrete dry faster” is pretty straightforward, there are some aspects to consider. The most effective way to increase concrete’s setting and curing speed is to use finely ground cement. However, coarse cement has a longer shelf life, and therefore most cement plants mainly produce it. You can use special mechanical devices, like mixers, to prepare finely ground cement directly at the construction site. Cement obtained this way allows ignoring accelerating additives and heating of concrete.

High temperature is used to accelerate the production of concrete structures in factories. Steaming reinforced concrete beams, piles, foundation blocks, and simple beams significantly reduces the production cycle time. The optimal temperature for concrete to cure allows you to achieve the best indicators of strength and volumetric moisture content of finished structures.

Applying these two methods requires additional mechanization of the work process and financial costs, which are often unavailable for small and medium-sized companies. How to dry concrete faster without expensive equipment? You should use special additives mixed into the cement mortar to speed up the cure time for concrete (especially in winter). Iron, calcium chloride, soda, potash, sodium sulfate, and others can be used as such additives.

How Do You Know When The Concrete Is Dry And Set?

The easiest way to check if the concrete is dry and set enough requires a hammer (weighing up to 500g) and a chisel. Place the chisel on the concrete and tap lightly on top of it with a hammer until it bounces off. Further visual analysis will show how strong the foundation is. The larger the notch diameter, the weaker the structure.

Hole up to 10 mm – bad

Hole up to 5 mm – acceptable

No marks – great

It would be best to leave the verification of the bulky multi-story buildings’ bases to specialists who conduct an ultrasound examination with the application of modern devices. The examination will show whether the concrete has dried evenly and has possible voids and damp areas inside.

    • How long should concrete cure before removing forms?

With proper adherence to the optimal conditions, 100% curing can be expected in about 28 days.

    • How long does concrete take to dry to walk on?

It takes 1-3 days for concrete to be cured enough to endure the weight of a human.

    • How long should concrete cure before driving on it?

Concrete set time must be no less than 3 days to avoid damaging it by driving.

    • How long should concrete cure before putting weight on it?

It depends on the planned weight and the type of used concrete. You should also consider all the recommendations mentioned above to ensure the concrete is properly cured.

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