How To Cure Concrete
Cure & Clean
There are two things you have to maintain when curing cement A) temperature and B) humidity.
A) The process of cement products curing is a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction all but stops when the temperature drops below about 50f degrees.You need to watch the weather or do your project indoors if it’s too cold outside.
B) The slower cement cures the stronger it becomes, it will even cure underwater. We want to make an effort to keep it from drying out to fast. If it dries before it cures it can make the cement weak or even ruin it.
1) Cover the entire project with thin plastic. Weigh down the edges with some leftover mortar to keep humidity in and drying winds out.
2) In the first 24 hours give it an initial mist after around 10 hours or so being careful not to over wet the surface causing the water to run.
3) After 24 hours you need to clean out the base before it cures to hard.
Have a helper hold the column while you chisel out the excess mortar.
Scrape right down to the wire and clean it all out.
4) At this time, if your project dried to quickly from hot weather or whatever. Simply cut (scrape) the crack out with a margin trowel. It may look like a natural crack in the rock at this point and you could leave it. Otherwise just mix up a handful of mud and work it into the crack.
5) Using a soft paintbrush or a spray bottle wet the entire surface and re-cover with plastic.
6) Keep your project covered for three days. Mist it at least once a day, a few times a day if it's convenient.
7) After three days of damp cure time, go ahead and uncover your project so it can dry out. Once the damp green mortar is a dry white color, it's ready to stain.
8) Before staining your light, cut the 3/4" pipe off just a little above the top of the light. Try to cut it level somewhere around 3/8" or so.
9) Clean up the pipe end and touch it up for level with a razor knife.