Concrete vs Cement vs. Mortar

Concrete vs Cement vs. Mortar

The terms concrete, cement, and mortar are often used interchangeably.  So are they the same?  They most certainly are not.  So let’s look at why concrete versus cement verses mortar is so different.

Here is a brief overview.  You will see there is an overlap between all the substances which is likely what makes the terms so confusing to the general public. Ironically, cement trucks are actually concrete trucks. Who would have guessed?  At least now you will know the difference.

Concrete is a mixture of water, cement and sand just like mortar.  What makes concrete different than mortar is that it is mixed with coarse aggregates that make it strong and durable.  In concrete less water is mixed with the cement so it is a thinner consistency than its thicker counterpart mortar. Cement is the binding paste made of limestone, clay, shells and silica sand.

Concrete is very strong and durable and therefore used in the biggest toughest jobs.  Concrete builds foundations. It is used for schools, sidewalks, and many other city structures.  It is great for landscape edging, front walkways and even kitchen countertops.  It is often used for outdoor projects like molded driveways.  Concrete takes easily to any mold.

What is Cement Used For?

Cement is primarily used as a binder for concrete and mortar but also has other applications.  Cement is usually the go-to in smaller jobs such as grouting and specialized masonry.  It is most commonly used to repair cracked and crumbling concrete such as in the case of leaky basements and foundations.

Mortar’s consistency make it a better bonding element.  Mortar is primarily used to hold bricks together or stones in stone masonry. There are various types available specific to different types of applications.

So it is easy to see why one might confuse the names because one is an ingredient in the others.  But today you learned the difference.  Now every time you see a mixing truck drive by you will think there goes that concrete truck. Now you are in the know.