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Many radiant heat systems are embedded within concrete. Yet, when doing a thermal mass installation, to avoid cracks and shifting, the curing process and conditions need to be favorable. With a basic understanding of concrete, you will clearly understand what it needs to cure properly.
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To stop concrete from cracking, the first thing to understand about concrete is that it reacts to moisture. The moisture within it creates a chemical reaction that hardens the concrete.
Many people believe that once concrete appears lighter in color, with a hard surface that it is dry, but in reality concrete takes at least seven days to cure and several weeks to completely dry.
For concrete to become strong and for the surface to wear well, curing concrete needs moisture. Concrete needs to dry out at a slow continuous pace; otherwise shrinking and cracking will likely occur.
The strength of concrete when accurately cured is about 80 to 100 per cent higher than concrete, that hasnt been cured at all. To increase concretes strength this curing process should be stable and continuous. If concrete becomes too wet or too dry, cracks will certainly develop, resulting in future flooring problems.
Which means that if you are curing concrete on a hot sunny day, the chemicals within concrete will stop reacting once sufficient moisture is gone leaving it in a weakened state. Therefore concrete should be protected from damaging effects such as wind, sun and inconsistent weather.
The ideal temperature for hydration is 23