Buying cement for your construction project? Be sure to inspect these qualitites!
Building a house is a significant life milestone and a major life purchase. You should not compromise on it by using low quality materials. The quality of cement plays a huge role in determining the quality of your house.
You should make sure that the cement you are purchasing is of the best quality. To ensure that the cement is of the best quality, you can inspect various quality markers of cement.
If you look out for the following markers when buying cement, the odds of buying low quality cement is significantly reduced.
Name of the Brand
When buying cement, you should always buy from a reputable brand. These may be noticeably more expensive than other local cements, but they guarantee a level of quality other local cement brands cannot. You should also see if the packaging has indicated the brand correctly to avoid purchasing fraudulent cement.
Trademark and Logo
All cement brands have their own logo. The logo is usually printed on the top of the packaging of the cement. To avoid fraudulent marketing, you should double check the cement brand logo.
Nepal Standard (NS) mark
Cement cannot be sold within Nepal without obtaining the NS mark from Nepal Bureau of Standards and metrology. The bureau tests the cement for quality before issuing the NS mark, says Nikhil Agrawal from Shivam Cement.
If the NS mark is missing from the packaging of the cement, you should not buy it. You should avoid purchasing cement without the NS mark to ensure quality in construction.
Cement that does not meet quality standards can cause problems during construction and weaken the building.
Grades of cement available in Nepal
Cement is usually produced in three grades: 33 grade, 43 grade, and 53 grade. All three grades of cement usually set within 28 days. Each grade of cement has its own uses. 33 grade is normal OPC cement.
According to Agrawal, to ensure that construction goes over smoothly, you should use the grade of cement that is most suited for the type of construction.
43 grade cement sees grater use in construction of houses and medium sized buildings. High rise buildings, towers, dams, and other large construction projects use 53 grade cement. That does not mean 43 grade cement is not suitable for construction of large structures.
Still, 53 grade cement is seeing increased use in large construction projects.
And while 43 grade cement is usually used in construction of houses, it does not mean that 33 grade or 53 grade cement is not used in these types of construction.
Types of cement
Different types of cement are being sold in Nepal. The type of cement used in construction depends on the nature of construction, circumstances, weather conditions, etc. The type of cement is usually indicated on the packaging.
Three types of cement are manufactured in Nepal: Ordinary Protland Cement (OPC), Portland Slag Cement (PSC), and White Cement, says Agrawal. Usually, OPC and PCC cement is used in the construction of houses.
OPC cement is usually used in the foundation of the house and load bearing structures, says Agrawal. PPC cement is usually used to build up walls, plasters, etc. You should ask the engineer what type of cement you should use in the construction of your house and make purchase decisions accordingly.
Is OPC or PPC cement suitable for house construction?
Both OPC and PPC cement have their own qualities. They’re both usually needed when building a house. Because of the relatively higher concentration of clinker, OPC cement usually sets much quicker than PPC cement. Because of this quality, OPC is widely used in reinforcing beams, pillars, etc.
‘If you are working on load bearing structures, OPC cement mixture is used’, says Agrawal. ‘PPC cement is used in plasters.’
PPC cement takes relatively longer to set than OPC cement. Because of this, OPC cement is also known as fast setting cement.
Agrawal says, ‘It does not necessarily mean that PPC cement is unsuitable for reinforcement work. It’s still used for those.’ OPC cement must be kept cool while it is setting because higher temperatures can cause the cement to fracture.
The engineer will have decided the ratio of cement, water, rocks, sand, chemical additives, etc. that needs to be used to improve the structural strength during the design phase.
Weight of cement
Cement is usually packaged and sold in bags of 50KG. To make sure that the weight is correct, you need to see if the weight is also written on the packaging. White cement is usually sold in packages of 1KG, 10KG, 25KG, or 50KG.
Address of manufacturer
You might need to know the address of the manufacturer. If the cement is defective, you will want to know the address of manufacturer to send your complaints and other queries to.
The integrity of the packaging
While transporting cement, many laborers use hooks to move the cement around. Although this makes transporting easy, this will also rupture the packaging. Because the cement is now exposed to moisture, this significantly degrades the quality of the cement. When buying cement, you should see if the packaging is not ruptured and avoid buying ones whose packaging is not intact.
Cement slowly degrades in quality over time if it is not used. Cement that has exceeded three months from manufacturing date is not suitable for construction. To avoid purchasing cement that has expired, you should always look at the date of manufacturing on the packaging.
How the cement has been stored also determines its quality. Cement that is stored in a cool and dry place can be used up to three months from the date of manufacturing.
To ensure that you are not paying a markup on your purchase, you should check the price indicated on the packaging. You should not pay more than the MRP.
Stitching on the packaging
Resellers could open the repackage old cement mixed with impurities and sell it as new. To avoid buying old impure cement, you should look at the stitching on the packaging. You can easily tell apart the packages that have been tampered with from the packages that have not been tampered with.
Authorized dealer / supplier
Whenever you can, you should always buy from an authorized dealer that is closest to you. This ensures that you do not buy old or fraudulent cement. Authorized dealers also make it very easy to lodge a complaint about the quality of cement that you received.
Inspect the contents
If the cement is not stored correctly or is exposed to moisture, it can set inside the package. When buying cement, you should press the packaging and pinch all four corners. The cement should feel powdery. If the cement feels like pellets, you should not buy that package.