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Finishing & Curing of Concrete: Methods


such as slabs and pavements require proper finishing to produce dense surfaces that will remain maintenance-free. Sequence of steps must be carefully coordinated with the setting and hardening of the concrete mixture.

Screeding bringing concrete to correct height Floating pushing coarse aggregate below surface Troweling bringing bleed water to surface and sealing Brooming providing nonskid texture

The process of cutting off excess concrete to bring the top surface of a slab to proper grade. With a sawing motion a straight edge is moved across the surface with a surplus of concrete against the front face of the straight edge to fill the low areas.

Darby (Bull Float) is used immediately after screeding to firmly embed large aggregates and to remove any remaining high and low spots. Screeding and Floating must be completed before any excess bleed water accumulates on the surface because this is one of the main causes of surface defects such as dusting in concrete slabs.

Placing and Finishing Concrete

To embed aggregate particles

just beneath the surface To remove slight imperfections, humps, and voids To compact the mortar at the surface in preparation for additional finishing operations.

Floating is an operation carried out with flat wood or metal blades with the purpose of embedding the aggregate, compacting the surface, and removing any remaining imperfections. Floating tend to bring paste to the surface, so floating too early or too long can weaken the surface.

Edging densifies and compacts concrete next to forms where floating is less effective
Required along all edge forms,

isolation and construction joints in floors and exterior slabs Cut concrete away from forms to a depth of 25 mm with a pointed mason trowel Edging may be required after each subsequent finishing operation for interior slabs

1. Creates smooth, hard, dense

surface 2. Exterior concrete should not be over-troweled because:

it can lead to a loss of entrained

air caused by overworking the surface troweled surfaces can be slippery when wet.

Trowling should not be done on a surface that has not been floated

Brooming is done if skid resistance is required, by brooming with a rake or a steel-wire broom before the concrete has fully hardened.

Laitance is associated to the external manifestation of

bleeding. It is caused by the tendency of water to rise carrying fine particles and depositing them in the form of a scum at the concrete surface. It contains a large w/c ratio and it is porous, soft and weak. When a floor slab or a pavement develops laitance the concrete will be soft and prone to dusting. The hydration products in the porous cement paste of the laitance layer will easily carbonate in air. Laitance should be removed by brushing and washing or by sand blasting before new concrete is placed.

Pattern and Textures Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Colored Finishes
Stains, Paints and Clear Coatings

Placing and Finishing Concrete

Concrete that has been specified, batched,

mixed, placed, and finished "letter-perfect" can still be a failure if improperly or inadequately cured. Curing is usually the last step in a concrete project and, unfortunately, is often neglected even by professionals.

Curing of a placed and finished concrete is done for maintaining a satisfactory moisture and temperature in concrete for some defined period after placing and finishing, to allow the complete hydration of the cement.

Curing has a major influence on the properties of hardened

concrete such as durability, strength, water-tightness, wear resistance, volume stability, and resistance to freezing and thawing. It leads to: More strength and abrasion resistance More watertigtness Less volumetric changes; more volume stability. More resistance to freezing and thawing and deicer salts. More durability
A seven-day (or longer) curing time is recommended.

Following are various methods commonly used for concrete curing:

Water Curing: (1) Immersion, (2) Ponding, (3) Spraying or

Fogging and (4) Wet Covering Membrane Curing Application of Heat

Selection of Method
The best curing method depends on: cost, application equipment required, materials available, size and shape of the concrete surface. Begin the curing as soon as the concrete has hardened sufficiently to avoid erosion or other damage to the freshly finished surface. This is usually within one to two hours after placement and-finishing.

1. Best method of curing as it satisfies all the requirements of curing namely promotion of hydration, elimination of shrinkage and absorption of heat of hydration 2. Precast elements are generally immersed in curing tanks.

3. Pavements, slabs are generally cured by making ponds.

4. Columns, walls are generally sprayed with water

5. Surfaces are sometimes covered by wet gunny bags, hessian cloth, jute matting, saw dust etc.

1. Beneficial where acute shortage of water. 2. In Membrane curing the concrete surface is

covered with membrane which will effectively seal off the evaporation of water. 3. Membrane curing is done by applying sealing compounds. 4. Bituminous compounds, polyethylene or polyester film, waterproof paper, rubber compounds etc. 5. To achieve best results, membrane is applied after one or two days of actual water curing.

1. Development of strength of concrete is a function of not only time but also that of temperature. 2. Subjecting the concrete to higher temperature and maintaining the required wetness can be achieved

by subjecting the concrete to steam curing.

1. Concrete is vulnerable to damage for only short time. 2. Handling of Concrete is quicker. 3. Less space shall be sufficient in casting yard. 4. Structure can be put on to service at a much early time. 5. Savings in Formwork.

1. Steam curing at ordinary pressure.

2. Steam Curing at high pressure.

3. Curing by infra-red radiation. 4. Electrical Curing