Cement. It’s a wonderful substance and is the building block for almost every modern building. Cement is also the best friend of concrete contractors everywhere. On its own, it has no power – but when combined with other materials and elements it becomes the most useful weapon in a concrete contractor’s arsenal. But it is a common mistake to confuse cement with concrete and mortar and that’s why today we’ll be going through the difference between these three and exploring a little bit about each of them.
What is cement?
As we touched on just before, cement is a building block. It is a binding agent that can make other materials – such as mortar and concrete – when combined with water and other ingredients. Cement itself is actually manufactured using elements such as silicon, calcium, iron and aluminium and chemically combining them together.
Things like limestone, silica sand, clay and shells are also added into the mix and the mixture is superheated to just under 1500°Celsius. There are different types of cement, such as hydraulic cement – which is any type of cement that sets and hardens fast after it has been mixed with water.
What is concrete?
Concrete is a construction material that has many industrial applications. It can be used for concrete slabs, foundations for walls, for steps and many more similar things. Concrete is created by mixing cement in with either sand, gravel or other similar fine aggregates. This combination does nothing until you add water to it, which is what makes it cause the cement to bind together with the other ingredients.
Concrete is a highly versatile material because as it can be fashioned into virtually any shape you want using a mould or other similar tools. You can even have furnishings that are made entirely out of concrete for both outdoor and indoor settings. You can actually purchase pre-made concrete mix where all you have to do is add the water – as everything else is already included in the mix.
A common creation that concrete is used for is the concrete slab. Concrete slabs are commonly used as the foundation for homes and buildings and are separated into three types of slab foundations – slab-on-ground, suspended slab and precast slab.
Concrete can also be customised a few different ways to suit your own personal style. For example, you can have your driveway coloured by adding certain pigments to the mix. Some colours work better with certain types of concrete and you can also play around and match it to the rest of your home if you like.
You can also try exposed aggregate concrete for your backyard or driveway – which involves different types of aggregates being partially exposed in the finished product. As well as being highly customisable it also offers a slip-proof surface – making it practical as well as stylish.
What is mortar?
Mortar is similar to concrete – in that it is a masonry material composed of cement and fine sands – except mortar is not nearly as strong as concrete is. The reason for this is because mortar is used as a binding agent to glue brick and other masonry products together. More water is used in the mixture when producing mortar – giving it its binding properties.
There are different types of mortar that you can use – each of which is better suited for different applications and have their own unique features. Lime mortar, for example, is where cement is substituted for lime and then combined with sand. Whereas, gauged mortar utilises both lime and cement with sand.
What’s the difference?
The difference between these three is that cement is just an ingredient whereas concrete and mortar are actual finished products that require cement in order to be produced. Whilst concrete can be moulded into shapes and used to shape structures, mortar is used to keep these structures together – acting as a glue.
Are you looking for concrete contractors?
Mixing cement to make concrete and mortar can be a daunting task if you haven’t had any experience, so it’s best to call professional concrete contractors like the ones at Prestige Concrete Services. We specialise commercial, residential and local government concreting projects. Our fully qualified concrete contractors have had over 20 years of experience and are highly professional.