Even though you probably don’t think twice about it, chances are you’ve used the words “concrete” and “cement” interchangeably in the past. However, there’s a reason why you don’t call those big trucks with the big rotating cylinders “concrete trucks.” While you would be right in assuming that concrete and cement are related, you may be surprised to know there is a difference.
What is cement?
Cement is a substance of which the sole purpose is to bind other substances/objects together. For example, if you mix cement with water, you can make mortar. Mortar is the material used when laying bricks down to make structures–hence the common term, brick and mortar.
What is concrete?
Cement, when mixed with water, sand, gravel and other aggregates, forms concrete. This brings up the point that concrete and cement are not one and the same. While cement is actually present in concrete, it is possible to use cement for other uses other than what you may use concrete for. The same cannot be said about concrete; if you’re using concrete, you are also using cement.
Why is this information useful?
Understanding the difference between concrete and cement is important for a couple reasons. For example, it is worth noting that the most expensive ingredient in concrete is actually cement. So, cheaper concrete sometimes means less cement used in the mixture. Does this mean that concrete with less cement is less effective? Not necessarily; a good minimum amount of cement in a concrete mix could be as low as 10-15% of the mixture.
However, if you plan on buying a less expensive concrete, make sure you understand the difference in quality. Sometimes paying that extra bit of money for quality product can help assure that you buy product that uses a good mixture of aggregates and cement, thus preventing structural problems and further issues. For most the peace of mind is worth the assurance alone.
Using Concrete for Future Project
No, the Hoover Dam is not made of cement. For that matter, neither is the Pantheon. The Willis Tower isn’t either. These are all made of sturdy concrete. While it may be good to know the difference between concrete and cement so you don’t embarrass yourself in a social environment, it’s also important for practical reasons, especially if you’re considering using cement or concrete for any future projects.
At Davis Concrete, we have more than 60 years of experience supplying concrete to everyone from residential homeowners to some of the biggest government contracts in Florida. Serving Clearwater, Tampa, Bradenton, and Lakeland.