Concrete is a very versatile material that is in a wide use today. And one of the areas of application where this material is highly requested is roadworks.
But it’s not only sidewalks that are made of concrete! Patios, yards, and different commercial areas also use this material to poor the flooring that will be smooth and even.
However, if you have already asked a contractor to come and pour your concrete, or if your local sidewalks have been recently poured anew, you might be wondering how much time you should wait until it hardens enough so that you could walk on it again.
How long does it take concrete to harden before you can walk on it? Today you will finally find the answer!
We will tell you how fast concrete dries and hardens, and also, you will find out what happens if you walk on freshly poured concrete floor or sidewalk after a few hours, after twenty four hours, after a week, and after one month.
In addition, you will learn more about the concrete curing time and also, we will try to find out how soon you can walk on concrete that has recently been painted. So stay with us and read on. We have prepared a lot of useful information for you today!
How Long Does It Take Before You Can Walk On a Sidewalk After New Concrete Was Applied?
After new concrete has been poured, a required amount of time usually has to pass until it will be possible to walk on it safely without being afraid of damaging the surface.
However, nobody likes to wait, right?
So quite many people tend to wonder how soon they can start walking on freshly poured concrete, especially if it has been poured in their patio or inner yard.
And of course, if we are talking about any commercial buildings like warehouses, knowing how fast concrete dries is important since it allows the workers to calculate how soon they will start using the area again!
All right, you may say, how long should concrete harden before you can walk on it? See, once a contractor pours your concrete, you will be surely eager to get the area open again for foot traffic.
It is important, though, to protect the new concrete while it is still curing. Remember: the better you care for it now in these beginning stages, the longer it will last and the better it will look for years to come.
In general, concrete becomes more or less dry after a few hours already after it is poured. However, don’t get too anxious! It still requires way more time to be able to cure properly.
It is important to remember that the longer concrete sits, the stronger it gets. This material can cure after only a few hours as we have already said, becoming strong enough to bear the weight of a human being.
But it doesn’t actually dry for up to a month, especially if it is used in hot and humid climates. Also, you should keep in mind that concrete doesn’t reach its full strength until it is totally dry.
This is why you need to continue to protect it during this time. While you will most likely not notice the difference on the surface, if you speed up the drying process, you could end up damaging the interior integrity of the concrete!
As a result, it can reduce its life expectancy of about fifty years which means that you will be either repairing or even replacing your concrete much sooner than it was initially expected!
However, there is a piece of good news, too!
Protecting your freshly poured concrete does not actually mean that you will have to keep all foot traffic off it for a whole month! In fact, the waiting time is much shorter than that, though you may need to take a few precautions in the meantime.
To provide you with more information on that subject, let’s see how fast concrete dries and cures after it has been poured.
After Painting a Concrete Floor, How Long Will It Take Before You Can Walk On It?
Normally, we do not paint concrete. However, it depends on you and if you want your concrete floor to be of a certain color, you will have to paint it, of course. But in this case, how long does it take for freshly painted concrete to dry before you can walk on it?
Well, first of all, if you are planning to paint or stain your concrete, you should take into consideration that first of all, you have to let it completely dry and cure.
Which means that any painting or staining works must be done no earlier than a month after your concrete has been poured!
As for painting it, once concrete is covered with paint, give it two or three days (depending on weather and climate in your area) to fully dry.
This time is usually enough for the paint to dry and cure thus becoming durable and resistant enough for you to place furniture or other objects on painted concrete, as well as walk on it.
Related: How Long Does Driveway Paint Last?
Concrete Drying Time
As we have already mentioned above, freshly poured concrete dries relatively fast. After a few hours, you can already try and walk on it a bit.
However, to achieve better results and to avoid damaging the surface, we recommend you check out what happens if you walk on concrete at different drying stages.
Related: How to Make Paint Dry Fast?
What Can Happen If You Walk On Concrete After a Few Hours?
New concrete will start to cure immediately and after just a few hours it will be hard enough to support some weight already. That is actually why you can often see concrete workers standing on new concrete shortly after pouring it.
This allows them to finish the concrete and apply sealants or decorations.
However, you need to keep in mind that the concrete is still in a fragile state at this point! That is because while the surface may look and feel dry, it still remains wet below the surface.
Such concrete can still be marked if you are not careful. The average person should not walk on the concrete at this point.
What About Concrete After Twenty-Four Hours?
After this period of time, you can safely walk on your new concrete in fact. This is the minimum amount of time you should wait for the concrete to harden.
However, if there has been a lot of rain recently or you have done decorative stamping in the concrete, you should wait longer.
Normal foot traffic should be fine on standard concrete at this point, but you still need to be very cautious about damaging the surface. This is why you should restrict the following items on the new concrete as much as you can:
- Pets. Dog claws can scratch the surface of the concrete. While it won’t interfere with the integrity of the concrete, it will mar the look of it.
- Skateboards, bikes, and strollers. The smaller wheels on these items concentrate their weight on a small area. That can leave grooves in the concrete as they move over the surface.
Be sure to avoid any kind of twisting motion or dragging anything on the surface, too! This includes trash cans or plant containers as well. This motion can create marks on the concrete that aren’t easy to fix.
After a Week
When seven days pass, you can basically stop worrying about your concrete driveway or patio.
Most forms of traffic are allowed at this point since they can’t damage the surface anymore. It is even allowed for the vehicles to drive on that concrete after a week!
However, large vehicles (e.g. trucks or semis) must wait a bit longer since they are still way too heavy for the concrete.
Besides, even at this point, your new concrete is still drying under the surface even though you can’t see it from outside.
What Will Happen After a Month?
After thirty days, new concrete will fully cure and dry. At this point, it has reached its maximum strength.
If you’ve taken good care of your new concrete up to this point, you can expect it to last for about 50 years before you’ll need to think about replacing it again.
How Fast Does Concrete Cure?
When it comes to curing or concrete, there is no one exact answer. See, there is, of course, the estimated period of time which is needed for new concrete to harden and cure properly.
Usually, this time frame is about twenty-eight days or nearly a month. This amount of time is enough for the material to be usable for all sorts of traffic, even for heavy vehicles like trucks!
However, when it comes to curing, you must always take a few factors into consideration.
Those factors are the weather and climate of the area. See, if you pour new concrete in the area with dry and warm climate and sunny weather, chances are that it will dry and cure even faster than usual.
On the other hand, when being applied in areas with high levels of moisture or with lots of rainy days, your new concrete will surely need more time for curing!
Is It Possible to Speed Up the Drying Time For Concrete?
This question bothers many homeowners who plan to pour new concrete on their paths, driveways, or patios.
Is it possible to make this material dry faster? Well, it may seem pointless for the first time since we already know that concrete will be ok to walk on after twenty-four hours already!
Of course, the foot traffic will have to be limited, but still, you will be able to use the surface for walking on it. So what is the point in rushing the process?
However, we are humans and waiting even for twenty-four hours might be unbearable for some of us.
In addition, if new concrete was poured in a busy commercial or industrial area, it might be reasonable to want to speed up the drying process. Anyway, no matter the reason, the question remains.
While this is understandable, be cautious about speeding up the drying time.
You may end up doing more damage to the concrete than you realize. Concrete is best when it is allowed to dry slowly over time.
This increases its structural integrity. A slower drying process makes the concrete stronger and reduces the chances that it will suffer from large cracks later on.
In fact, it is recommended that you keep the concrete wet or covered for the first week to slow down the drying process. Contractors refer to this as “moist curing.”
However, if you still want to start walking on your new concrete, there are some things that help speed up the process. For example, the best thing that can be done is that you talk to an experienced contractor.
The professional will surely advise you on different concrete mixes that will dry and cure faster!
Is There Concrete That Cures Fast?
Surprisingly, there is! This type of concrete is called fast-setting concrete and is designed to harden faster than most other types. How much faster it sets can vary from brand to brand.
Some of these concrete types can set hard in as little as twenty to forty minutes. While this may sound great for projects, it is still important to realize that some projects cannot use this type of concrete.
This is why, prior to buying a bag of concrete that hardens quickly, you should always ask a sales associate if they would recommend this type of concrete for the project you are up to. If they say no, do not buy that concrete. Stick to the older stuff instead.
Potentially, yes, it’s dangerous since you can slip and twist your ankle, for example. If it’s still fresh, wash it off immediately with water. If it’s dried or you feel burning sensation on your skin, call 911.
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐ Is it dangerous to step in wet concrete?
⭐ What if concrete gets onto your skin?
Potentially, yes, it’s dangerous since you can slip and twist your ankle, for example.
If it’s still fresh, wash it off immediately with water. If it’s dried or you feel burning sensation on your skin, call 911.