In most cases, concrete made from standard gray portland cement will do the job nicely. However, if you’re dealing with high-end architecture and projects where colors need to be the same from one batch to the next, then you’re going to want to turn to white-cement concrete as part of the solution. When gray cement is manufactured, it’s carefully controlled for performance characteristics, but color is NOT and can vary significantly. On the other hand, when white cement is made the color is also carefully monitored. White and gray cement have essentially the same properties, except for when it comes to color – the color comes from the raw materials and the manufacturing process. Metal oxides, primarily iron and manganese, influence the whiteness and undertone of the material, and to eliminate the gray color, manufacturers select raw materials that are naturally low in iron and manganese.
People choose white cement because every color option becomes available and it provides consistent, high-quality results. The colors are more vibrant and bold with a white base, and contribute to a sharper contrast among the variations of colors and tones. People will even utilize white cement to make a gray product. They could make that product with gray cement, but they won’t get the flexibility and/or consistency of matching a specific shade.
The main disadvantage of white cement is that it’s more expensive than gray. In our region of the world, the cost of white cement itself is basically double that of gray, which equates roughly to an extra $45 per yard of concrete. The extra care that is required, such as storing it in a separate silo or always having clean equipment, can also be viewed as a disadvantage, but the premium results one achieves cannot be denied.