3 Types of Cement Additive and Which Is the Right One for Your Garden

At its core, cement is made from a mixture of aggregate and water that creates a strong end material. However, while base-level cement is a good material in its own right, there's one key way to make it even better: additives. A cement additive is an ingredient added to cement mixtures during manufacturing to add extra properties or effects. Some of these properties include enhanced strength, increased durability and improved appearance depending on your needs. 

If you're thinking of bringing cement into your garden landscaping and want to make use of an additive, here are three to ask your building supplies company about. 

1. Fire clay

Fire clay is a cement additive used to improve the fire resistance of concrete. When it comes to gardens, fire clay makes a great additive for barbecue bricks as well as open-air pathways and patios in areas that are susceptible to high heat, drought and resulting fires. Fire clay can be added directly to the concrete mixture before pouring or applied as an additional fireproofing layer after the main concrete has cured. However, it's good to note that heat resistance also makes it somewhat brittle, so it may not be the best choice for gardens that see a lot of active and intense footfall. 

2. Oxides

If you want to really take your landscape design to the next level, oxide is the additive you're looking for. Used for decorative purposes, oxide is an additive that ads colour to concrete. While it's most commonly found in red and black, you can buy oxide in wide varieties of colours to suit any style you've been dreaming up. Oxide needs to be added to concrete while it's being mixed, but it can be used for all sorts of purposes, from paving stones to fountains. 

3. Plasticiser

Last but not least, plasticiser is an additive used to increase the smoothness, adhesion, flexibility and strength of your concrete, making it a great catch-all option when you're not sure which additive to choose. It typically comes in a clear or translucent colour tone, so it's compatible with many oxide additives, too. If you live in an area where temperatures fluctuate greatly, plasticiser is a great way to protect your concrete from the effects of thermal expansion and contraction. It's also ideal for decorative concrete fixtures for two reasons. First, it gives them a smoother surface. Second, it makes the concrete more easily workable for intricate designs.

To learn more, contact a company that provides building supplies.