Soil Stabilization: Cementitious Materials Shortage

Soil Stabilization

Soil stabilization changes soil’s physical properties by adding long-term strength and weight-bearing capacity. Soil bases for roads, parking lots, etc. use chemicals, lime-based products, cement, and other bonding agents to create permanent soil stabilization. For example, because of its locale’s soil composition, one company uses an ionic clay coil stabilizer.

The concrete process begins with the manufacturing plants that reduce limestone to a rock-like substance called clinker. The clinker is mixed with gypsum and then ground to become the fine powder we know as cement.

Scarcities of cement, fly ash, and lime are jeopardizing soil stabilization processes. Most cement goes into concrete production, and some construction materials managers are saying they are limited to specific, smaller allotments of cement.

You don’t want to be pouring concrete in Michigan in January. January is when you order cement for spring and summer projects. The high demand for cement last winter is one of the reasons we’re seeing shortages this summer.

Cement is not the same as concrete, but concrete must have cement, and that’s the problem. Richard Thorn, president and CEO of Associated General Contractors of Utah, said, “Cement is the flour needed to bake the cake.”

Other explanations for the shortages are:

  • Interruptions and slowdowns in manufacturing, transportation, distribution, or all three
  • Midwestern rail capacities impacted by oil shortages
  • Trucking supply regulations changed in some states; fewer trucks available

“You can’t just order concrete today and think you’ll get it next week,” said John Sorrell, president of Alabama Concrete Industries Association.

What you can order today and get this week is presorted construction information for business development. Every week, we provide updated data for the U.S. region in which you’re interested. You can download it as a CSV (comma-separated values) file that will plug into a spreadsheet or your own CRM (customer relationship management) software. You can print a hardcopy.

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