Concrete: Cured or Dried?

Concrete: Cured or Dried?

Recently I posted an article in regards to finishing a concrete slab-on-grade. I admit to knowing slightly more about concrete than I do about plumbing. Muy poquito – one of the few Spanish terms I can actually pronounce (and have used all too frequently when visiting South America).

For those of you who missed my previous article ( I made reference to concrete drying out. I was corrected, as one reader felt I should have used ‘cured’ rather than ‘dried’.

Being fairly ignorant and having relied upon wisdoms (and terminologies) from actual professional concrete finishers, I broke out Google and went on a search. seemed to be a likely prospect for correct language and here is what I found:

“The terms curing and drying are frequently used interchangeably with regard to the moisture condition of new concrete slabs. The following definitions clarify these terms.


Curing of concrete is defined as providing adequate moisture, temperature, and time to allow the concrete to achieve the desired properties for its intended use. This would mean maintaining a relative humidity in the concrete of greater than 80 percent, a temperature greater than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and for a time typically ranging from three to 14 days depending on the specific application. When these recommendations are properly specified and performed in the field, the final properties of the concrete mixture will be achieved.


Drying of concrete is defined as providing the proper conditions to allow the concrete to achieve a moisture condition appropriate for its intended use. The moisture condition of a concrete slab is of significant importance for the application of moisture sensitive floor finishes such as vinyl composition tile, linoleum, wood flooring, and non-breathable coating like epoxy. The moisture condition is specified as a maximum relative humidity by percent or a vapor transmission rate in lb/1000 ft2/24 hr. A typical value specified for relative humidity may be less than 75 to 80 percent to assure the successful application of the flooring materials, while a commonly specified value for vapor transmission rate may be 3 lb/1000 ft2/24 hr.”

Personally I can live with these terms being used interchangeably, just don’t try to do it with cement and concrete (read why here:

One thought on “Concrete: Cured or Dried?

  1. When referring to the process of the concrete going from its plastic (wet) state to its hardened state, the correct term is curing. To get hard, concrete undergoes a chemical reaction (hydration) where the water and the cement in the concrete mix react together and form tricalcium silicate and dicalcium silicate. This process is called curing.

    Drying means that water is somehow (typically through evaporation) removed from the mix (think drying your clothes). Drying is not a chemical reaction, it is simply a reduction in moisture content. If plastic (wet) concrete were to dry (water removed) without curing, you would be left with cement and aggregate – similar to the bags of concrete (quikrete) you can buy at home centers.

    These terms should not be used interchangeably anymore than cement and concrete should be.


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