How long does it take for concrete to harden?

The article aims to answer the question “How long does it take for concrete to harden?”. It will also discuss the conditions that affect the hardening of concrete. 

How long does it take for concrete to harden?

It usually takes 28 days for concrete to harden fully. After hardening, concrete doesn’t attain its full strength right away; it must first cure. 

Because of this, if you’ve recently poured a driveway, you should avoid parking your car on it for the time being and discover more about how long concrete takes to cure in this article.

While concrete does harden enough to walk on or build on, it never completely sets.

In place of curing, concrete is subjected to a chemical reaction. Cement is a strong, load-bearing substance that is utilized in building all over the world because of this reaction between water and cement. In theory, the concrete you lay will continue to strengthen for years because the curing process is ongoing.

It will be possible to walk on your concrete after a few days, and it will be sturdy enough to build on after a few weeks.

Concrete, in a technical sense, never ceases to cure. Concrete, on the other hand, only gets stronger over time. But, as far as we’re concerned, most commercial concrete mixtures require a 28-day curing period to achieve practical durability.

The concrete will have about three-quarters of its strength properties after 7 days, but heavy machinery or vehicles should not be driven over the surface until 28 days have passed.

24-48 hours is the typical time frame for residential mixtures like driveways. After all that time has passed, you can use it as a family car parking spot. In spite of what you may think after your first walk-around, overloading concrete before it’s fully set can wreak havoc on your efforts.

Moisture plays a major role in curing. Water molecules react chemically with cement, and this reaction can continue if moisture is retained. During the early curing process, it is critical to preserve moisture in the concrete in order for it to build strength.

However, excessive watering can weaken concrete. It’s a delicate balancing act, and consulting an expert is the best way to do it right.

What is hardening of concrete?

To make concrete, you need to mix cement, aggregate, and water into a hard mass that sets to form a hard mass that binds aggregates together and clings to the cement mass. Hydration is the chemical process by which the concrete hardens and solidifies.

Before pouring the concrete, add an accelerating chemical, such as calcium chloride. The concrete will harden much more quickly with the help of this accelerant.

When does concrete reach its strength?

Seven days of curing will yield 75% of the concrete’s final strength, which it would attain after 28 days. Compressive strength for some light and residential uses may be sufficient, but it is vital to wait the full 28 days before starting any more substantial industrial construction or driving heavy machinery or equipment on it.

Poured concrete for driveways or gardens, for example, should be firm enough to walk on after 24 to 48 hours for home mixes of lower strength. Waiting 28 days before driving your car onto it is still recommended to avoid damaging the concrete or affecting the final appearance. 

Does water content affect concrete hardening?

Yes, water does affect the hardening of concrete. Many people are curious about how much water content in concrete impacts the time it takes to set. 

As a result, the initial curing durations of new concrete or ongoing operations are definitely affected by the number of water composition and concentration in freshly mixed concrete.

The initial curing durations of new concrete or ongoing operations are definitely affected by the number of water molecules present in fresh concrete. 

To put it another way, wetter mixtures require more time to cure versus drier ones. Large volumes of water in recently poured concrete might impair the drying process as well.

Sand/gravel mixtures may be affected if soil is mixed in with the other ingredients. When exposed to repetitive cycles of freeze – thaw cycles, this can cause long-term shrinkage and creep, which can delay down initial set times.

The greater the amount of water contained in the mix, the greater the volume of paste will be created by the hydration of the cement powder. 

These vast amounts of water absorbed by concrete eventually convert into ice that freezes and expands, leading to fissures in the concrete. In order to avoid undesirable consequences, it is vital not to add too much water to the mixture after the initial mixing.

Concrete with a high water content typically takes longer to set and has lesser strength than concrete with a lower water content.

Does cold temperature affect concrete hardening?

Yes, the cold temperatures also affect the hardening process of concrete. 

The hardening process can be slowed down by frigid temperatures, as well. If you’re going to be pouring concrete in the winter, be sure you have a plan to keep the temperature below freezing for the first 24-48 hours. 

Keep the forms in place for as long as possible to make sure that heat is dispersed evenly, as will shelter and some type of insulation. 

Concrete can break if allowed to freeze or rapidly cool, therefore it’s best to hire a concrete provider to make sure yours is properly cured.

Can I test the hardening process of concrete?

Yes, you can track the drying and hardening process of your concrete. 

As far back as the 1960s, there has been a scientifically verified method for evaluating the moisture content of concrete slabs. The ASTM F2170 standard is based on this technique, which is dubbed “the relative humidity test employing in situ probes.”

The test measures the relative humidity of the air trapped in the concrete by inserting sensors at certain depths into the concrete. Sensors are installed to a depth of 40% of the slab’s thickness for slabs drying on only one side. The sensors are installed at a depth of 20% of the slab’s thickness for slabs drying on both sides.

An in situ relative humidity measurement equipment, the Wagner Meters Rapid RH® L6 corresponds exactly to the ASTM F2170 standard. Each L6 sensor is pre-calibrated and ready to use right out of the box.

After a 24-hour equilibration period, you can take moisture readings as often as you like from the sensors once they’ve been put in the slab. The L6 sensors, in contrast to reusable probes, never require recalibration.


There are a number of variables to consider when it comes to the hardening process of your concrete. You can rest assured that your chosen concrete mix will live up to your expectations for many years to come if you consult with trustworthy concrete suppliers.

Frequently asked questions (FAQS): How long does it take for concrete to harden?

What is concrete hardening?

When exposed to water, concrete cures. As the crystallisation takes place, the material hardens. Before the cement sets, the concrete is entirely pliable and then gradually hardens. 

The crystallised cement and water mixture encloses the aggregate particles and yields a dense substance as a result.

How long does it take for concrete to harden?

It usually takes between 24 and 48 hours for concrete to harden completely enough to walk or drive on. 

Concrete drying, on the other hand, is a continuous and fluid process that typically takes 28 days or more to reach its maximum useful strength. Here are some basic facts about how long it takes for concrete to dry.

Does the strength of concrete increase with age?

Age-related increases in concrete strength are possible if moisture and an appropriate temperature are present to allow the cement to hydrate. concrete with a 28-day moist cure, as measured by compressive strength. Put plasticizer into the concrete so that it can be moulded.


Reinhardt, H. W., & Grosse, C. U. (2004). Continuous monitoring of setting and hardening of mortar and concrete. Construction and building materials, 18(3), 145-154.

De Schutter, G., & Taerwe, L. (1995). Specific heat and thermal diffusivity of hardening concrete. Magazine of Concrete Research, 47(172), 203-208.