Quick Set vs. Standard Set Concrete: What’s the Difference?

Not every building project is the same. Depending on your unique individual requirements, the concrete that would work best for you one instance can change from the next. Luckily, there are specialized supplies made for the job! While the differences between quick set and standard set concrete are few, they affect the outcome of our craft dramatically.

Some basic knowledge to remember is what constitutes concrete in the first place. Many people mistakenly interchange the terms concrete and cement. The truth is, cement is simply an ingredient in concrete. Concrete is made up of water, a mixture of aggregate material, such as rocks or gravel, and cement. Cement is a bonding agent that reacts when mixed with the other two components in concrete.

The main difference between quick set and regular set concretes is the addition of more cement to quick setting options. More cement causes a stronger bond, faster. Compared to regular concrete’s 24-48 hour set time, quick set concrete gains that desired hardness in just about twenty to forty minutes. While all concretes continue the process of curing virtually forever due to the water in the air, setting time is made up of the pivotal moments where the mix reaches the point where it is generally safe to step.

With quick concrete’s reduced set time, certain building projects work best with its use. Smaller jobs that don’t require complex designs or movements are our safest bet when it comes to quick sets. Installing fence posts, for example, would be an ideal situation for us to use quick concrete, as it needs very little extra attention to set. The thing to watch out for with quick setting concrete is exactly in its name. If you have a project where we need a lot of concrete in several areas, it’s important for us to look out and ensure the workspace will not be disturbed, otherwise, we can end up with an error set in stone, fast.

Rather than go through the woes of restarting the build from the beginning, regular set concrete is a great way to go for most projects. With this concrete, we have more freedom to fix mistakes as they come up, and therefore it’s the better choice for larger builds. When we have time to check on every area with concrete applied, your project has more insurance against bubbles and uneven spreads drying too quickly.

No matter what concrete we use, a basic tip we remember is to keep every application at an optimal temperature. If you know rain or heavy winds are due in the forecast, strongly consider waiting until extreme weather passes to call on us for work. Otherwise, a happy building awaits!