Using the right cement crucial in construction
In a typhoon-battered country like the Philippines, any kind of structure must be built upon a strong, solid foundation.
Owners of buildings and houses alike should thus be on the lookout not only for the most elaborate designs or most reputable architects and contractors, when starting construction of such structures. It has also become imperative to take utmost care in choosing that one material that can be crucial in ensuring the strength and integrity of these structures—cement.
“Cement is used to help build the foundation, floor and walls of your house, so it’s important for you to be aware [of] your options,” noted Minoru Espartero, marketing manager of Holcim Philippines Inc.
Holcim Philippines is the local unit of Swiss construction materials giant Holcim Ltd., one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as downstream activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt.
“By doing this, you are not only assured about the quality of materials but you can also realize substantial savings,” Espartero said.
While most people engage in elaborate preparations in building their dream homes, not all would pay attention to the kind of cement that will be used during construction.
Most people, according to Espartero, are unaware of the various cement types made available for specific applications. Picking the right ones ensures not only better product performance but cost efficiency as well.
For instance, Espartero said consumers must use general purpose cement for structural applications as this is formulated to develop strength to bear loads and ideal for floor slabs, columns and beams.
For nonstructural applications, masonry cement would be ideal since this product is designed for nonstructural use such as hollow block laying and filling and wall plastering.
Espartero explained: “Holcim produces both products. We call our general purpose cement Holcim Excel and our masonry cement Wallright. But we believe that our products perform better due to the mineral additives we have mixed. Concrete made with Excel develops higher early strength, which shorten construction time. It is also more workable eliminating the need for repairs and rework.”
“Wallright, meanwhile, was designed so it will be easier to spread and have bond strength of 200 percent compared to general purpose cement. It was formulated so it comes out with a smoother and whiter finish, making it ideal for plastering,” he added.
Espartero pointed out that many would mistakenly use general purpose cement for all construction needs, which is costlier and unnecessary. Thus, a better knowledge of cement will allow one to use the right products and help save on costs at the same time.
“You can use general purpose cement for your home construction needs, but that will turn out to be more expensive. Remember, if the cement is just going to be used for plastering and hollow block laying, you don’t need it to develop load-bearing strength so masonry cement is the appropriate cement to use,” he noted.
As an example, Espartero explained that you would need 100 bags of general purpose cement to build a one-story house. But if you use a combination of Excel and Wallright, you only need 50 and 40 bags, respectively.
“This is because Wallright is designed so you can add more sand to it and produce more mortar for hollow-block filling and plastering of walls. Aside from this, Wallright is cheaper by P5 to P10 per bag. All in, using this combination translates to savings of P25 per bag,” he explained.
Espartero added that hollow block makers can yield up to 10 more blocks by using Excel instead of the other cement available in the market.
“Your house is a big investment, and it is only natural that you would want it to last a long time. Picking the right construction materials, especially cement, can help you achieve this, because it would help guarantee the strength and durability of your house,” Espartero concluded.