Many different materials are required when constructing a building, including steel, bricks, etc. But the thing that binds them together is cement. It is one of the most important materials during the construction of buildings, and also one of the most frequently used. The quality of the cement that you choose will end up determining how long-lasting and sturdy your building will be. So it is of the utmost importance that you perform a cement quality test before choosing what brand of cement you want to use in your home.
Cement Quality Test
Cement quality tests are generally performed inside laboratories. But labs for such testing can be hard to come by, especially in rural or suburban areas. There’s no need to worry, as there are some simple tests that you can perform on-site to check the quality of cement. Let’s look at how you can perform a cement quality test on-site before construction.
The first thing that you need to check when doing a cement quality test is to check the packing or production date. It is best to make use of the cement within 90 days of production or packing because the strength of cement decreases with time.
Cement is light grey in color, with a greenish shade. This color should be uniform throughout the whole bag. If the color is different from that, then it is an indication of excess lime or clay.
The presence of lumps indicate that moisture has entered the bag and the cement has already set. If you find any bag with big or small lumps of cement, it should be discarded or rejected.
When you take cement in your hand and rub it, the feeling of cement against your hand should be smooth. If you feel roughness, there’s a chance that the cement has been tampered with by adding sand. This isn’t something you want, as it decreases the strength of the cement.
If you put your hand into a bag of cement, it should be cool to the touch. This shows that the hydration of cement has not taken place yet and it is ready to be mixed.
Cement is not supposed to have an earthy smell. If it does, there’s a chance that a lot of clay and sand has been used for cement adulteration. This will result in decreased cement strength, and consequently lowering the overall structural integrity of your building.
First, take some cement and mix it with water. After that, place the mixture on glass and then completely submerge it in water for one whole day (24 hours). The cement paste should be completely set and have no cracks. Cracks would indicate that the cement has been adulterated.
If you put dry, unmixed cement in water, the cement should float for some time before sinking.
You should first make a block of cement by mixing it with water. It should be sized 25mm × 25mm × 200mm (1”×1”×8”). After setting, the block should be completely submerged in water for three days and then taken out. It should then be able to support weights of upto 15 kg without failure, otherwise the cement quality should be questioned.
If you’re in need of a quick cement quality test and do not have proper access to laboratories, the points mentioned above can be of great help. Do not skimp when it comes to cement, as it is the most important material in determining the structural integrity of any building. If you have any questions or queries regarding cement and construction, let us know in the comments below.