It is another essential material used in house construction and all kind of constructions. From foundations till completion of the house, it is required at various stages. It is of two types, Grey cement and White cement. White cement is rarely used throughout construction for works like tile grouting and during paint works. However grey cement is most widely used in works like masonry, plaster, concrete, tiling etc. It is a binding material and is made up of materials like limestone, clay, slag, iron ore etc. Grey cement is further classified in two types:
SRC (Sulphate Resistant cement)
Sulphate resistant is a special type of cement, which is rich in iron oxide content such that it restricts the amount of tricalcium aluminate to produce the quality of resisting sulphate. This type is mostly used in constructions that are in direct contact to soil e.g. Basements and foundations. Since the clay soil has a rich content of sulphate salts, hence it is beneficial to use SRC in concretes that are exposed to soil and at the risk of deterioration due to sulphate attack.
OPC (Ordinary Portland cement)
It is the most commonly available and used type for mortar and concrete.
Famous brands available in Pakistan are:
- Maple leaf
Cement is dispatched from factories in form of bags with each bag weighing 50 kg. Since it is the most widely used material in construction, hence forgery is very common. Copy and lookalike of original brands are also sold in open market and it becomes difficult for a layman to differentiate between the genuine and fake material. While constructing your house, make sure to purchase it from a reputable dealer. Avoid street wandering agents. Purchase at market rate, if a seller gives you discount which seems abnormal as compared to standard practice in the market then there is a high chance of forgery.
Purchase strictly according to the requirement. Cement stored for a longer period of time on site can become defective. When offloaded on site, it must be fresh, as its strength weakens with time. When touched the bags should give a heated feeling. There should be no lumps and compact masses formed in the cement.
Quality check on site
Fake and defective cement can be hazardous for your house. Though it is not possible to completely inspect the quality on site as proper quality check is carried out in laboratories, however there are certain field tests that can be carried out to check if the cement is genuine or not.
Check the bag of the cement. Genuine brands have certain mementos on their bags. If there is any doubt, search for the respective brand’s bag on their official website and compare it with the one you are getting on your site.
Take a small quantity of it and rub between your fingers, it should give you a smooth feeling while rubbing. Any rough feeling will indicate presence of sand content.
It should have a uniform grey color.
When thrown in small quantity in a bucket of water, particles should sink and must not float.