Concrete vs Cement: What’s the Difference?

When building or remodeling your home or property, one of the biggest things you need to take into consideration is the material you’re going to use. And, it’s also very important to have a thorough understanding of the materials you’re using.

Two of the most popular materials used in construction are concrete and cement. Although a lot of people use the terms concrete and cement interchangeably, they are, in fact, two different materials.

Read our concrete vs. cement guide to learn all about the differences in these materials.


What is Cement?

Cement is a binding agent that’s made from a mixture of aluminum, calcium, iron, silicon, and other materials often found in limestone, clay, chalk, iron, and ore.

While there are many different kinds of cement, the most common types used in construction are Portland cement and asphalt cement. Portland cement is often used as a base ingredient for concrete, stucco, mortar, and non-specialty grout. Asphalt cement, also known as liquid asphalt or asphalt binder, is a black, sticky, and highly viscous substance.

The ingredients used to make cement are first heated to a very high temperature to form a rock-like substance that’s eventually ground into a fine powder. Once in powder form, experts mix the powder with water to create the cement that’s used to make buildings and other structures.

Cement is not as old as many people would think. It was actually invented in 1824 by an English bricklayer named Joseph Aspdin

What is Concrete?

On the other hand, concrete is a mixture of cement, water, and other aggregates. The other aggregates may be gravel, sand, or crushed stone. Cement typically compromises of 10 to 15 percent concrete mix by volume.

Through a process known as hydration, the cement and water harden and bind with the aggregates to form a rock-like mass. The hardening process goes on for years, which means that concrete becomes stronger and stronger as time passes.

The water needed to make concrete can’t be just any water. It needs to be very clean, even drinkable. The aggregate materials also need to be very clean. Any contamination of the water or organic materials can compromise the final quality of the concrete.

Concrete vs. Cement: What’s the Difference? 

So, the main difference between concrete and cement is that cement is actually a material in concrete. This is why the two terms are often confused. To use an analogy, cement is to concrete as milk is to cheese. Sure, cheese has milk in it, but it isn’t milk. In fact, it’s a whole lot better than milk.

Concrete from CC Concrete LLC is a lot more durable than cement, as it can easily last hundreds of years. Concrete often works best in larger projects, while cement works just fine for smaller jobs.

Amateur handymen use cement all the time for DIY projects such as landscape edging, kitchen countertop building, and the construction of front walkways.

Concrete vs. Cement: Which is Right for You?

Now that you know the difference between concrete vs. cement, it’s time to figure out which one is right for your project. Before using the materials, they are tested in a material testing laboratory to determine the characteristics and quality of the material. Your final project will likely turn out a lot more durable with the help of these quality materials.

For more construction tips, check back in with our blog.

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