Hydraulic Cement: Uses and Other Basics

Hydraulic Cement: Uses and Other Basics

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If you are planning on building anything that is structural in nature, you need to bind together various pieces of masonry, or you need to make some repairs in masonry, then one thing that you may very well need is hydraulic cement. Now, this  is a pretty special building material, and although you might have heard of it before, you might not know what it is used for.

Let’s figure out what hydraulic cement is, what it’s used, and what its advantages and disadvantages are.

What Is Hydraulic Cement?

In case you don’t know exactly what hydraulic cement is, this is a special type of cement with the main defining characteristic, which is the fact that it has the ability to cure when wet. This goes to the point where it can even cure when totally submerged under water.

For this reason, hydraulic cement is often used for buildings and structures that are often exposed to high levels of humidity and water, and especially for those structures that are often in contact with water.

Besides your normal substances found in cement, four other main components include alite, belite, celite, and brownmillerite. The first of those two ingredients allow for great hardness and strength when cured, and the latter two of those ingredients help to keep the hydraulic cement in its liquid state before it is used.

Advantages of Hydraulic Cement

Now that we know exactly what hydraulic cement is, let’s figure out what its main advantages are and what it is useful for.

#1: Easy to DIY

One of the main advantages that you get with hydraulic cement is the fact that it is very easy to use on your own. You can buy bags of hydraulic cement in various sizes and then mix it by yourself with nothing but a little bit of water. Application with normal cement and mortar working tools is also extremely easy. You generally just have to mix and apply as needed, which definitely isn’t too difficult.

#2: Ideal for Repairs

What can also be said about hydraulic cement is the fact that it is ideal to use for a variety of repairs. If you see that there is loose mortar in between bricks or small cracks in the foundation of your home, then a bit of hydraulic cement can be used to fill them. With that being said, do beware that hydraulic cement isn’t really structurally sound, so there is a limit to the types of repairs that you can do with this type of cement.

Of course, hydraulic cement does have many other uses, but as far as home repairs go, working on chimneys, manholes, basement walls, swimming pools, foundations, and drainage systems, hydraulic cement can come in quite handy.

#3: Fast Setting Time

When it comes to building new structures and performing repairs, one of the biggest advantages that you get with hydraulic cement is the fact that it has an extremely fast setting time. Hydraulic cement will set in hard and within about three minutes after being mixed with water, which means that repairs can be performed extremely quickly. It’s a good repair material to use if you only have a limited amount of time to work with.

#4: Budget-Friendliness

If you need to perform small- or medium-sized repairs on your home, especially in masonry, then hydraulic cement is an extremely cost-effective solution to go with. It’s much cheaper to use a bit of hydraulic cement to make repairs than it is to jackhammer out whole sections of masonry and to replace them.

#5: Controllable Setting Time

One of the coolest aspects of hydraulic cement is the fact that you can, in fact, control the setting time of it, because adding cold water to it will slow down the setting time, whereas adding hot water to it will greatly speed up the setting time. This adjustability or customizability is a big advantage that many people definitely appreciate.

#6: Good Thickness

What can also be said about hydraulic cement is that it is very easy to use thanks to the fact that it is fairly thick, so it does work for vertical applications. You can apply it for vertical applications, and it won’t immediately run down. It sets fast enough so that it is relatively unaffected by gravity.

#7: Being Waterproof

Of course, one of the biggest advantages that you get with hydraulic cement is the fact that it is waterproof, which is of course why it is often used for applications that involve constant contact with water, such as for manholes, drainage systems, and swimming pools. You can even repair a leaky pipe with hydraulic cement without even stopping the leak.

#8: Corrosion Resistance

Yet another advantage that you get with hydraulic cement is of course the fact that it is resistant to corrosion and rusting.

#9: Workable Once Cured

The other advantage that you get with hydraulic cement is the fact that you can actually paint over it once cured.

Disadvantages of Hydraulic Cement

Just like anything else out there, while hydraulic cement does have many advantages, it also has certain disadvantages.

#1: Susceptibility to Cold

One of the biggest disadvantages that you get with hydraulic cement is the fact that it does not work on frozen surfaces and that it does not cure properly when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is set to drop drastically within 48 hours of application, then you should avoid using hydraulic cement.

#2: Limited Working Time

Although being able to set and harden within just a few minutes is an advantage, in some cases, the fact of the matter is that you do have to work very quickly with hydraulic cement once mixed. If you don’t work quickly enough, it will begin to set and harden in your container.

#3: Not Structural in Nature

Although this type of cement is useful for making repairs, it’s really not very structural in nature, which is why cement alone, in general, is never used for structural purposes. Cement is used to make concrete, and that is what is then used to build structures.

#4: Doesn’t Bond Concrete

On that same note, if you happen to be fixing cracks in concrete, hydraulic cement is not the best option to go with because it doesn’t bond concrete together very well.

#5: Health Concerns

Also, keep in mind that hydraulic cement is poisonous to breathe in and you should avoid contact with your eyes or skin. Inhaling the silica contained in hydraulic cement may cause lung issues.

5+ Hydraulic Cement Uses

Hydraulic cement can indeed be used for a wide variety of applications, so let’s take a quick look at what each of these is.

#1: Pools

Hydraulic cement is often used in the construction and repair of swimming pools due to its waterproof nature.

#2: Drainage

Drainage systems are often made with masonry, but they do also break down, which means that waterproof hydraulic cement is the best choice for repairs.

#3: Foundations

Hydraulic cement is an ideal option to go with both for building and repairing foundations due to the fact that it can seal cracks and keep things watertight.

#4: Chimneys

Although chimneys may sometimes be built with mortar, they do also often incorporate hydraulic cement into their build due to its waterproof nature. Chimneys are of course exposed to the elements, which means that hydraulic cement is an ideal choice to go with.

…and More

Hydraulic cement can also be used for many other applications including the following:

  • Fountain building
  • Various marine applications
  • Sealing concrete around masonry
  • Repairing and building manholes
  • For sealing and repairing basement walls

How Does Hydraulic Cement Compare to Other Materials?

To learn more about this material, see how it compares with:


As you can see, hydraulic cement is definitely quite a useful and user-friendly building and repair material. Although it may not be all that structurally sound, it does still have a variety of advantages and useful applications.