Varieties of Cement

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specifies five varieties of Portland cement.  Physically and chemically, these cements differ primarily in the use of Tricalcium aluminate (C3A) and in how fine the consistency is in the mix.  Determining the performance of your project is primarily based on site preparation,  rate of hydration, aggregate in the mix, and the ability to resist sulfate attack.  The table below displays concrete specifications.  It is always best to review with our technical team the proper preparation for your project and how to specify the correct mix of materials.

  General Features of Portland Cement






Type I

General purpose

Fairly high C3S content for good early strength development

General construction (most buildings, bridges, pavements, precast units, etc)

Type II

Moderate sulfate resistance

Low C3A content (<>

Structures exposed to soil or water containing sulfate ions

Type III

High early strength

Ground more finely, may have slightly more C3S

Rapid construction, cold weather concreting

Type IV

Low heat of hydration (slow reacting)

Low content of C3S (<50%) and="">

Massive structures such as dams.  Now rare.

Type V

High sulfate resistance

Very low C3A content (<>

Structures exposed to high levels of sulfate ions


White color

No C4AF, low MgO

Decorative (otherwise has properties similar to Type I)

The differences between these cement types are rather subtle. All five types contain about 75 wt% calcium silicate minerals, and the properties of mature concretes made with all five are quite similar. Thus, these five types are often described by the term “Ordinary Portland Cement” or OPC.
The best thing to do is ask in advance about your project or let us direct you to a qualified contractor that will be capable in handling the design and construction of your project. The wrong mix, temperatures and site preparation can lead to a disaster that could range from being unsightly to dangerous.
See Our Services
Call Us Today to put your mind at rest!
Modern Concrete
(810) 767-6250