Concrete vs. Mortar vs. Cement: Everything You Need to Know

Concrete vs. Mortar vs. Cement: Everything You Need to Know

According to one study, North America is the largest consumer of cement in the developed world.

Whether you’re working as a contractor or working on some home improvement projects of your own, you’ll probably deal with cement, mortar, or concrete at some point.

But what’s the difference? We’ll break down everything on concrete vs mortar vs cement here for you!

Concrete

You’ve probably heard everyone use concrete and cement interchangeably, but they’re actually two different things. The difference between cement and concrete is that cement is something that makes up concrete.

Sand, gravel, cement, and other fine particles make up the composition of concrete. Once you add water to it and start mixing it with the dry powder, it becomes a liquid form.

When it’s in this state, you can mold it into any type of shape you want. Once you use it on your project, you can let it dry. As it dries, it’ll become incredibly hard, which is what adds the strength to your project.

People use concrete to build the foundation for most buildings and walls. It’s also used to build patios. Concrete is strong, but many people reinforce it with metal to make sure that it doesn’t break down.

If you’re going to be working on a small project, you can normally buy bags of concrete that are ready for you to just add water and mix. For bigger projects, you’ll have to buy a bag of pure cement and mix it with sand and gravel in order to get cement. You can also order a large delivery of concrete if you need it.

Pros

In a time where natural resources are becoming more and more scarce, concrete is actually safe to use for the environment.

Concrete is environmentally friendly because it uses natural resources that are in large supply. Compared to other construction materials, it doesn’t take as much of the materials to make either.

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Cons

However, some of the cons of concrete include that it may not be as strong as other binding materials you could use for your construction project.

It’s also incredibly heavy to carry, even though it’s not as strong as other materials.

Regardless of these cons, it’s still one of the more popular binding items out there.

Mortar

At first, mortar seems a lot like concrete. In fact, it has a lot of the same ingredients that concrete uses. However, it has a chemical composition that is more like fine sand or limestone. Because of this, it’s easier to mold.

It’s important that mortar is malleable because builders will use it to bind blocks together, using it as the ultimate super glue. Sometimes other block-like materials can be used as well.

However, even though it’s powerful to bind bricks together, it’s not as strong as concrete. It can’t be used as the only building material for a building, but it can be used in small areas.

If you’re going to be using mortar for a project for your home, you can normally buy some pre-mixed powder, add water, and start using it!

Pros

The mortar is a pretty strong binding agent, which will ensure that your bricks stay glued together and won’t slide apart once the mortar has dried.

This adds stability and strength to your project.

The mortar also spreads smoothly onto whatever surface you’re applying it to. It can help to smooth out any uneven points on the bricks. If you didn’t have that mortar, the bricks could break when rubbing against each other.

Cons

If you aren’t used to handling mortar and applying it, you might not want to do it on your own.

It can be very difficult to apply, and sometimes it will even slip off the surface and get all over the floor. Make sure you have some practice using it before you try and apply it to your actual project.

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It’s also not as environmentally friendly as other binding agents because the distributors have to carry the cement and sand over long distances in order to make it.

Cement

Lastly, cement is something that is used in both concrete and mortar. Cement is never really used in construction projects on its own; it’s usually mixed in with either mortar or concrete.

Shells, clay, sand, and limestone make up cement. The limestone is the most important ingredient, but they’re all crushed together and combined with other items. Once it’s heated and mixed, it’s packaged and sent to be used to make either concrete or mortar.

Pros

One of the best advantages of cement is that it has amazing plasticity before it’s coagulated.

This means that you can easily mold it into whatever shape or structure that you want.

Cons

However, some of the cons of cement are that it’s not the strongest binding agent. This means that you can’t use it for tension strength; you’ll need to find something else.

It also shrinks very easily. Because of this, over time, it can crack, rib, or create honeycombs in the pattern which can be damaging to the project.

Learn More About Concrete vs Mortar vs Cement

These are only a few of the differences between concrete vs mortar vs cement, but it really comes down to what you need for your project.

We know that it can be overwhelming to do any large projects or home improvements, but you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure that you explore our website to find more articles just like this one!

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