Purchasing the right cement is one of the most crucial decisions before starting the journey of building your dream home. Cement comprises more than 15% of the total cost of construction. Hence, analyzing and verifying cement types and brands will help you make the best decision for your home. It is also a lifetime opportunity for many. As a result, you should avoid leaving any room for error.The task of choosing the best cement for your home is not an easy one. Bangladesh has different climatic conditions depending on the region. For instance, the climate of Chittagong is different from the climatic conditions of Dhaka. So, various factors are considered when choosing cement in each region. Furthermore, there are different types of cement available. Not to mention the wide variety of cement brands currently prevails in the Bangladeshi cement market.This article will try to answer all the questions that might pop into your mind before starting your building construction. As cement is one of the essential building materials that provide longevity to the structure, any misguidance or wrong decision can cost you considerable money and construction quality.
Different Types of Cement
It is easy to get confused with the types of cement you can find in the market. There are more than 19 types of cement available for purchase. Among the various types of cement, two significant types are frequently used in house construction. These areOrdinary Portland Cement andPortland Pozzolana Cement.Ordinary Portland Cement or OPC is the most common type of cement you can find. It is used in general construction work. There are three categories of OPC. These are distinct from each other based on their final strength. Hence, it is essential to note which grade of cement you plan to use in the construction.Portland Pozzolana Cement or PPC is a cheaper alternative to OPC. However, it provides better durability to the structure. Many engineers prefer PPC over the conventional use of OPC in modern construction.Apart from the discussed categories, manufacturers are now producing special cement that caters to the specific requirements in building construction. Furthermore, the quality of soil and the surrounding environment can impact the quality of your home. Hence, using cement that can prevent the effect of hazardous elements on the surroundings can ensure the longevity of your home. Therefore, no single type of cement can fulfill the requirements of your building. Finding the best cement is a difficult task that requires adequate research and testing of the location.
Which is the Best Cement for Your Home?
A building consists of several distinct sections. You cannot use only a single type of cement to do all the work. The construction of a building can be broken down into two major parts.
Structural Work: RCC and Masonry Work
Finishing: Plaster and Additional Finishing
The structural work demands high strength of cement. The compressive load determines the strength of cement it can sustain. It would be best to use the highest strength category cement in all types of structural work to ensure your building can last for centuries and is protected from natural calamities like earthquakes or strong winds. The structural work in a building includes structures made of masonry and RCC frame structures like columns, beams, and slabs made of concrete. OPC-53 grade provides the highest strength in any category of cement. So, it is recommended that you opt for OPC-53 grade cement in all types of structural and load-bearing work.On the other hand, PPC is also a great type of cement for building construction. The addition of pozzolanic material increases its durability and strength. PPC is also considered a greener alternative to OPC due to its manufacturing process. PPC is relatively cheaper than OPC. It is suggested that you opt for PPC for regular construction works. It is strongly recommended for masonry, plaster, and tiling functions as initial strength is not a significant performance factor in such scenarios.However, PPC and OPC are being used alternatively in modern construction. PPC quality has increased significantly in recent years, and its less impact on the environment has encouraged many property owners to opt for it.For different sections of a building, you might consider the following types of cement:Foundation: The foundation of your building will carry the construction load. Hence, it needs to be strong and durable. You can use OPC-53 grade or good quality PPC cement to construct it. PPC is recommended as it hydrates slowly and gives high final strength compared to other alternatives.Lintel: Both PPC and OPC-53 grades can be used to construct lintels in your building.Roof: OPC-53 grade cement is best for constructing roofs on your building. It provides the high necessary strength. Furthermore, OPC has a shorter setting time compared to PPC. So, the scaffolding can be removed earlier if OPC-53 grade is used, which can increase the construction pace.Apart from the structural work, a building requires plastering, tiling, masonry works, non-RCC structures, pathways, etc. High early strength is not required in these sections as the RCC works. Hence, OPC-43 grade cement can be used in such construction. Alternatively, PPC can also be used, which is more suitable for these works. PPC has the edge over OPC for non-structural masonry applications as it has a slower rate of heat hydration. Due to this factor, PPC is prone to fewer cracks and has reduced shrinkage. PCC also provides better workability and finishing. So, it is an excellent choice for plastering work as fly ash-based cement is spherical in shape and finer in size.Source: Material TreeHere is a list of special-case scenarios where you might require other types of cement for construction:
If you plan to build your home where the soil is more acidic or is prone to acid attacks, acid resistance cement is a better alternative.
Hydrophobic cement can be used in cold and frost-forming weather conditions.
Rapid hardening cement can be used in colder weather conditions, enabling early removal of forms and providing speed in construction.
You can use colored cement for floor finishes or decorative purposes.
If you plan to build a swimming pool on your rooftop, you can opt for waterproof cement. Water reservoirs or tanks are also made using this cement.
For construction near seashore areas like Cox’s Bazar, PSC must be used rather than PPC and OPC due to their excellent corrosion resistance properties.
If you opt for fast-paced construction work, choosing OPC over PPC will significantly benefit you as it has a shorter setting time.
It becomes clear that you can build your house using OPC or PPC. However, using OPC and PPC where they suit best will significantly increase the durability and longevity of your building. It will also help you to optimize your expenditure. Here is a list of some of the benefits of using OPC and PPC:
OPC has a much faster setting time compared to PPC. So, using OPC will save you a lot of time.
Curing is an essential step in construction work. It is the process of maintaining adequate moisture within an acceptable temperature range in order to aid cement hydration at early ages. The curing period of OPC is less than PPC. As a result, curing costs can be reduced if OPC is used.
OPC has a good sulfate resistance capability. OPC might provide a better solution if you plan to build your house near acidic soil.
PPC is an eco-friendly alternative to OPC. The manufacturing process of PPC creates less impact on the environment. So, many environmentally conscious individuals are opting for PPC.
PPC has a fine grain structure, making it an outstanding choice for all types of finishing works and plastering.
PPC can prevent micro-cracks better than OPC.
The inclusion of Pozzolanic materials makes PPC significantly cheaper to produce. As a result, your construction cost can be reduced if you opt for PPC.
PPC has an excellent resistance capability to sulfate attacks.
Importance of Choosing the Right Cement
Construction of your house is a complex combination of multiple projects running simultaneously. So, ensuring a high standard of work becomes a challenging task. If you knowhow to choose cement for your construction work, the challenge wanes down. Moreover, choosing the right cement is essential to protect your building against all-natural calamities.It is essential to stay alert during the construction process. Primarily, ensure the right grade of cement is used in RCC works. If a lower strength category like 33-grade OPC is used, the integrity of the building will be highly compromised. Besides, you might require frequent repair works on your building. It is also essential to check cement quality to ensure durability and longevity.
Knowing the differences between each cement category makes it easy to understand what you require in building your home. You cannot use a single cement type to fulfill all your requirements. But a combination of different types of cement will increase your structure’s work efficiency and durability. In conclusion, modern practices allow the use of both OPC and PPC. The significant difference between the two types is the difference in setting time. OPC might be your best option if you want a fast-paced construction.On the other hand, PPC offers a more extended setting period but achieves a higher final strength and durability. Residential construction done with PPC is more durable than with OPC. Finally, make sure you purchase cement from a reputed brand that follows international standards in its manufacturing process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use white cement for construction work?
Ans: No. White cement does not gain the required compressive strength for general construction work.
Can I use OPC-53 grade for plastering?
Ans: Technically, you can use it, but it is not recommended. Use PPC for plastering.
Which cement is better: 43-grade OPC or 53-grade OPC?
Ans: OPC 53-grade has better quality, strength, and less setting time than 33 and 43-grade cement.
Is OPC better than PPC?
Ans: Both types of cement are suitable for general-purpose construction work.
Which brand is best for house construction?
Ans: Purchasing from a reputed cement manufacturer will deliver you the best result.