It generally takes 24-48 hours for Quikrete to dry. In this article, we’ll examine some nuances and some of the factors to consider when determining actual dry time.
Generally, Quikrete is ready when it feels solid but not too hard or brittle, which usually occurs in 24-48 hours.
Factors Affecting Quikrete Drying Time
Quikrete drying times vary depending on the type of Quikrete mix , as well as whether you are using Quikrete LA (low-amount), or Quikrete XL (high-amount).
Quik Concrete is a composite material made of aggregate (sand and rock), and a binder (cement). When water is added to the mixture, the binder is activated. Around this time, the mixture “sludges up.” At this point, the clock is ticking, and the concrete is drying, so you’ll have a limited time to mix, pour, and shape it.
Here, we should pause to examine the differences between two key terms that can confuse if not understood – setting and curing.
What’s the Difference between Setting and Curing?
Quikrete is a form of concrete. Like all concrete, it is a composite material made of aggregate (sand and rock), and a binder (cement). Concrete must set and then cure. “Setting” is a term that refers to the period after Quikrete has been mixed, during which it becomes a semi-liquid sludge.
Drying or “curing” is the term that refers to the process whereby Quikrete hardens into a solid mass. More on that later.
How Does the Variety of Quikrete Affect the Dry Time?
Quikrete LA sets faster. The time it needs to be safe for foot traffic is just 12 hours long. Quikcrete XL’s quick set allows you only 15 minutes of working time before it starts setting, so you must work with this product quickly.
Quikrete Quickset takes around 45 minutes to set. Quikrete 5000 psi sets in a similar time frame. That said, it is only ready for foot traffic after 24 hours, and for vehicles after 48 hours. Quikrete High Performance dries within 36 hours.
As a general rule, 48 hours is sufficient for all varieties.
What Is Curing?
Curing refers to the total removal of all moisture from concrete. When water gets added to the concrete mix, it starts to set and then cure. Quikrete needs a few days of curing before it will reach its full strength, and it should be kept in an area with plenty of ventilation during this time.
If Quikrete is not given enough drying time (over-cured), or if too much water is added (under-cured), it can fail to reach its full strength. Curing takes much longer than setting because moisture in the environment will always be present.
When masons say that Quikrete may take four weeks to cure, they are referring to the completion of this drying process.
What Other Factors Should Be Considered?
The thickness of Quikcrete is a massive factor in determining how long it will take for it to dry. If Quikrete has been poured too thickly, or if you have used it on a particularly cold day, then it will take longer to dry.
Quikrete is usually at its best when poured in thin layers and allowed adequate drying time between each layer.
Air humidity can also affect Quikrete’s drying time. Quikrete Quickset, for example, will dry faster if the air is hot and dry, whereas Quikset set in cold, moist conditions can take up to seven days longer.
Quikrete Quickset is best for indoor use, but you can use Quikset both indoors and out.
Is There Anything That Will Speed Up Curing?
Frequent misting with water hastens Quikcrete’s setting time, but slows the hardening process. Quikrete cures best in warm, dry conditions (70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), so masons usually set Quikrete on hot summer days when the sun can help to speed things up.
How Does Quikrete Compare with Other Concrete Products?
Concrete mixes are made by mixing aggregate (sand) with cement. The ratio of sand to cement determines how Quikrete will set and how Quikset dries.
Quikrete is unique in that it also includes an aggregate (sand) with the Quikset. In contrast, you can mix other products like Sakret to a doughy consistency for easy application. However, it hardens quickly as a free-flowing liquid without any sand or stone.
Quikset can be used as a patching material for damaged concrete. Sakret will not bond to old concrete, but Quikrete Quickset and Quikcrete will bond well with existing structures.