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Curing Your Concrete
There are a few different methods of curing so I will briefly mention each one, as the concepts are quite simple. The principle behind the curing of concrete is keeping the moisture that is included in the mixing process of the concrete for the duration of its initial cure, in a slab. Concrete is much stronger if it is kept from drying out or having fluctuations in the consistency of mix or water content.
Early curing was done simply with water, or layers of burlap and canvas soaked in water, and kept wet. While simple this allows variations in the moisture level that can influence the quality of the cure.
The advent of plastics manufacturing brought thin, water proof membranes into the mix, which are better at retarding the evaporation of moisture, and there by using less water in the curing process. Plastic can also be used as a vapor barrier under the concrete to prevent moistue migrating up through the slab.
There are also admixes that can be added into the concrete mix that will form a film on the surface of the slab and slow or prevent evaporation, thereby keeping more of the initial moisure in the concrete.