Gray Matter


Red Cement, One of Many Cement Colors

red cementEveryone’s familiar with the traditional gray-colored cement. It’s the color of sidewalks as well as driveways, carports and patios where no further finishing has taken place. So far, I’ve seen that color as well as red and white while living in the Philippines.

I’m sure I can find all kinds of cement colors, except for black (which is a Nike/Air Jordan shoe style), if I choose to look for it. I have no need for any other colors, so I’m obviously not going to look.

Red Cement and Flooring

I’ve seen a lot of red cement used for flooring. It’s the main flooring in my mother-in-law’s house and it’s the flooring in my dirty kitchen and laundry room. The flooring in my mother-in-law’s house can easily be mistaken for tile or linoleum. It’s very smooth.

These floors aren’t made entirely of red cement. It’s simply a layer above the regular, gray cement. It’s more expensive and it doesn’t make sense to spend more money than necessary on appearance only. If it starts to look bad, adding another thin layer is easier than trying to replace it.

A red floor wax is used to keep these floors shiny and smooth. Cement has a habit of absorbing things that change its color and make it look dirty even when it isn’t. The floor wax prevents that from happening (most of the time). If the color gets smudged badly, it may be cheaper to paint it.

Other Colors

I’ve only seen white cement used once and it was at the base of one of my toilets, when the plumbing under the house was fixed. It looks good, but I can’t see where it would be used more often than what I’ll mention in a minute.

Other than what I’ve already mentioned, I haven’t seen much in colors other than the traditional gray where I live in Olongapo. I only see that color a lot because many of the houses go unpainted. Of course, most of the streets are that color because very few are paved with anything more than cement.

I’ve seen red cement bricks, mostly in the older areas of Manila. I’m sure some are being used in Olongapo as well, even if I haven’t seen or noticed them. Some stucco I’ve seen isn’t in any of the traditional colors.


I don’t understand why some things are done the way they’re done in the Philippines, but it’s something I’ve come to terms with. Houses are built with cinder blocks rebar and cement. The cement is used as mortar inside and between the blocks and as the plaster finishing on the outside of the blocks.

If a house is going to be painted in a specific color, known ahead of time, wouldn’t it make sense to use colored cement for the plastering stage? The inside walls of my house are white. Using white cement would have worked well as the base for any color, especially white. Is it that much more expensive than plain cement? Don’t consider the cost without considering the savings on paint over the years.

I’m never going to get answers to my questions, so why do I bother to ask them? If common sense was actually common then everyone would have it. Unfortunately, many people lack any sense at all.

Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in August 2015.

Author: RT Cunningham
Date: August 4, 2020 (UTC)
Categories: House and Home

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