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Building a house is one of the most important decisions that most people will make in their lives. That’s why it’s only natural for them to become a bit vigilant when it comes to choosing construction materials. Because the rigidity and the longevity of a building largely depend on the materials used in the construction. In order to choose the right material for your house, it is important to have some knowledge about them. To that end, we have started a series called building construction material. In each part of the series, we will discuss different types of construction material, their properties and other important things. Having that said, today we will be discussing everything about cement in building construction.

Before buying cement

Cement mixer
Always buy cement from authorized seller or reseller

In construction, cement is used to create composite materials like reinforced concrete and to bind other building materials such as rebar, brick, tile and sometimes wood. Since the longevity and rigidity of a structure depend a lot on the quality of cement, it is advised to always purchase cement from an authorized seller. The price may be on the higher side but will ensure a great build. That way you don’t have to worry about their quality. However, there are some tests that you can do including strength test, solidification test, soundness test, chemical presence test, and compressive and tensile strength test to ensure the quality of the cement.

Benefits of quality cement

Cement in building construction plays the most crucial part. It holds the structure together. Quality cement ensures durability and prevents cracks caused by temperature variation. But other than protecting the structural integrity, cement also prevents the iron frame from rusting. It provides a beautiful and smooth finishing to the exterior as well. Better quality cement is also less harmful to the environment.

Types of cement

Cement on a trowel
There are different types cement for different types of construction needs

There are many types of cement. However, these are the 4 types of cement that are commonly used in Bangladesh.

1. Portland cement
2. White cement
3. Fly ash cement
4. Blast Furnace Slag Cement

Now, during construction, you have to be careful about a lot of things and may need to take certain precautions for each type of cement.

Portland cement

Portland cement
Portland cement is one of the most widely used cement for small-medium size construction

This cement was widely used for constructing buildings and other structures up until recently. The reason why the use of portland cement has decreased over time is because of its adverse impact on heavy construction. When mixed with water, this type of cement produces a lot of heat, and heat doesn’t go well with construction. Excessive heat can crack heavy structures and ultimately cause permanent damage. This is why portland cement is only used in small to medium size constructions.

White cement

White cement
White cement is primarily used for beautification

White cement in building construction is used mostly for beautification. From installing tile on a concrete floor to giving the exterior of a building a fear face finishing, white cement is the staple construction material. Clinker is the primary element of white cement but more refined than the generally found ones. This makes it more expensive than most types of cement. Concrete composite made of white cement is usually stronger than other types of cement. And this is why white cement is also used for heavy construction such as underwater construction.

Fly ash cement

Clinker is the main ingredient for most types of cement but it has one significant drawback. Since clinker is made out of limestone, it produces a lot of heat when comes in contact with water which is not ideal for large and heavy construction. In order to tackle this problem, fly ash from coal-fired power plants is used. This reduces the use of clinker in cement. Fly ash cement produces very little heat during casting, thus reducing the tendency to crack after solidification. This cement is mostly used in heavy construction.

Blast Furnace Slag Cement

There are a lot of elements that have been used to tackle the heat issue in cement. One such element is the slug, a by-product left over when steel is separated from the ore. It generates less heat and is more efficient than ordinary Portland cement in salty climates. This cement is used in heavy construction, saltwater construction, underground and underwater construction.

How to store the cement

Bangs of Cement
Store it in a stack and keep away from water

During building construction storing all the raw materials is one of the most important and needs to be taken care of properly. It is even more important when it comes to cement in building construction. Cement bags should be stored in a stack in a dry and well-ventilated place. No more than ten bags should be stacked on top of each other and there should be enough space between the two adjacent stacks. Better to store it on top of a wooden surface or a high surface so that it doesn’t come in contact with water. Especially during the monsoon. Take extra precautions while transporting cement from one place to another. Use industrial polythene sheets to cover the cement bags. That way it won’t get wet even if it rains.

You can replace the fittings or change the paint easily but you can’t rebuild a house whenever you want. That is why it is important to have proper knowledge of your construction material before you opt for construction.

So, what type of cement are you using in your house? Let us know in the comments section below.

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