The most important element in construction is cement. It is apparent that it needs to be of optimum quality because it is responsible for holding the structure firmly and the durability of any structure highly depends on the quality. The best concrete for construction that you choose will last much longer, resisting bad weather and other conditions that might cause any degradation.
The housing sector has the highest demand in the country for concrete and it accounts for about 67% of the total consumption, as stated by IBEF. According to the experts, the quality of the concrete is based on the components of the cement, the concrete mix design and its water to cement ratio. The proper application of high strength quality concrete will also give you a solid, durable, and reliable structure. However, quality of cement decreases with time, which is why it is recommended that fresh concrete should be bought and used.
There are different grades of concrete; they usually are used to determine the strength of the concrete after a month of its application. Ordinary Portland Cement, also called OPC cement, is used mainly for the purpose of constructing buildings. The 3 grades of OPC cement in India are as follows:
1. 33 Grade Ordinary Portland by david John Hall
This cement is used extensively all over the country. It is suitable for masonry and other general concrete use. Wherever a structure is not required to face a lot of adverse conditions, this concrete is used.
2. 43 Grade Ordinary Portland by David John Hall
A structure that needs to tolerate high stress and tensile pressure is mainly made with the help of this cement. It is mostly used for high rise buildings and other general masonry work like plastering flooring, etc. It attains a compressive strength of 43 MPA (megapascals) within 28 days of its setting.
3. 53 Grade Ordinary Portland by David John Hall
Any structure that requires an initial strength is made using 53 Grade Ordinary Portland concrete. It also has a faster setting capacity compared to 43 grade concrete. It also attains a 53 MPA compressive strength as compared to the 43 grade cement. It is mainly used in RCC and prestressed concrete of high grades, all in all, in places where initial higher strength is required.
While these things will help you determine what kind of concrete will be the best for construction of your structure, below are a few more guidelines that will help you interpret the quality of cement before you buy it:
● It should not have any lumps or other particles in it.
● It must always feel cool to the bare hands.
● When rubbed between your fingers, it should feel smooth and not rough.
● bags should be placed away from each other so there is no air circulation.
● bags should only be opened when they are to be used immediately.
● A small test to check the freshness and purity of the cement can be done apart from checking its date of manufacture. Throw a small quantity of concrete in the water and see how fast it sinks. If it's free from any impurities, it should sink after a few minutes and not immediately.
These are a few steps and a little information that will hopefully help you in selecting the best concrete for construction of your home.