Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community (
-   Tools, Tips and Techniques (
-   -   Curing Concrete and Masonry (

Xabia Jim 03-13-2008 12:27 AM

Curing Concrete and Masonry
I'm a stong believer in keeping your concrete and masonry projects damp to allow it to "cure" and make sure it does not dry (:eek: crack :eek: ). The other thing to remember is cement curing is an exothermic process giving off heat so you don't want to add heat too early to any oven/fireplace/chimney project.......and waiting to begin your curing fires is so hard to do:D

Here are two interesting excerpts from Wickipedia (and note the last line where it mentions that concrete is still curing and strengthening after over 70 years!) :

Curing is the process of keeping concrete under a specific environmental condition until hydration is relatively complete. Because the cement used in concrete requires time to fully hydrate before it acquires strength and hardness, concrete must be cured once it has been placed.

Good curing is typically considered to use a moist environment which promotes hydration, since increased hydration lowers permeability and increases strength, resulting in a higher quality material. Allowing the concrete surface to dry out excessively can result in tensile stresses, which the still-hydrating interior cannot withstand, causing the concrete to crack. Also, the amount of heat generated by the chemical process of hydration can be problematic for very large placements.

Allowing the concrete to freeze in cold climates before the curing is complete will interrupt the hydration process, reducing the concrete strength and leading to scaling and other damage or failure.

The effects of curing are primarily a function of specimen geometry, the permeability of the concrete, curing length, and curing history.

The second excerpt is about the Hoover Dam Project:

The first concrete was placed into the dam on June 6, 1933..... Since concrete heats up and contracts as it cures, uneven cooling and contraction of the concrete posed a serious problem....... The concrete is still curing and gaining in strength as time goes on.

It's really quite an interesting project.....

Hoover Dam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


So while the waiting iis hard, the longer you can put off your first fires, the better it is for your oven/fireplace/chimney.....IMHO

Acoma 03-13-2008 09:44 AM

Re: Curing Concrete and Masonry
This does not mean we hurt ourselves by going the standard 7 days for curing? What then is your impression of the new and old curing standards?

Xabia Jim 03-13-2008 09:59 AM

Re: Curing Concrete and Masonry
Acoma, mine is a general statement and can never wait too long but you can start too early on curing.

I cannot dispute the 7 day guideline but I'd take it as the minimum.

Conditions are very different in different parts of the country. Humidity, temperature.....

I'd defer the number of days to those who've done more with actual ovens and fireplaces than I have. I've done lots of masonry but only some woodstove floors/walls and my oven project.

Xabia Jim 03-13-2008 10:01 AM

Re: Curing Concrete and Masonry
Acoma, I don't know specifically what the actual "old and new" curing standards are but you know for sure I'd go for the longer period!:)

edschmidt 03-13-2008 08:56 PM

Re: Curing Concrete and Masonry
The curing strategy I have been most fastinated with lately is steam curing. AAC concrete is placed in an autoclave where steam/heat is added. After 4 hours they claim the same strength as a 28 day cure. If there was a way to heat the oven in the 250 range while maintaining the moisture I would think the results would be similar. Although you would still have to then slowly bring to temp to remove the moisture to avoid steam pockets.

Acoma 03-13-2008 09:23 PM

Re: Curing Concrete and Masonry
Very interesting info Eddy.

Xabia Jim 03-13-2008 11:57 PM

Re: Curing Concrete and Masonry
I've heard the strongest concrete is that poured under water.....

steaming....sounds like the Paella cure method;)

John Fahle 03-14-2008 09:41 AM

Re: Curing Concrete and Masonry

Originally Posted by edschmidt (Post 26484)
If there was a way to heat the oven in the 250 range while maintaining the moisture I would think the results would be similar.

The easy thing to forget, I guess, is that wood isn't the only way to heat a wfo. Stick a hot plate in there, and rig it to a thermostat sitting up high in the dome. You'd just have to make sure that the hotplate cord's electrical insulation could withstand 250F, but that's not very hot.

james 03-14-2008 09:57 AM

Re: Curing Concrete and Masonry

Originally Posted by Xabia Jim (Post 26501)
I've heard the strongest concrete is that poured under water.....

That reminds me of the Roman pozzolan concrete that sets under water. Smart guys those Romans.

Here's a quote from a web site on the construction of the Pantheon.

"These [foundation] rings are made of pozzolan concrete consisting of travertine pieces in layers held together by a mortar of lime and pozzolan. This will be discussed later in this work. Interestingly enough, the Jutland Society's investigation showed the foundation material had become "rock hard,"11 a case we might expect when we study the chemistry of pozzolanic reaction under these conditions."

And this from Wikipedia.

"The Roman port at Cosa was built of Pozzolana that was poured underwater, apparently using a long tube to carefully lay it up without allowing sea water to mix with it. The three piers are still visible today, with the underwater portions in generally excellent condition after 2100 years."


gjbingham 03-14-2008 09:20 PM

Re: Curing Concrete and Masonry
Now that sounds like a revolution in oven curing. Sounds like it would be easy too. A tarp outside to hold in the water vapor, A 5 gallon pail of water inside the dome with a 250ish degree heat source - say for a day or two. Longer than the 4 hours you imply - what the heck. You lugged 35 lbs of water across the yard and hoisted it into the oven. Might as well let it work a while. :)
I think we need input from a structural or chemical engineer.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:23 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
2006/10 Forno Bravo, LLC