Despite the prevalence of the materials, many people are not clear on the difference between concrete, cement and mortar. As leading concrete suppliers for Greater London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northants, we thought we would shed some light on the uses and benefits of each material, as well as what they’re made of.
Some people use these terms as interchangeable descriptions for common materials, but with our handy guide, we’ll hopefully clear up the confusion.
It’s not totally clear how long our modern concrete has been around, but the basic principle of concrete has been around for centuries. Ancient civilisations used a version of concrete to build cities and develop the world.
The uses of concrete
Concrete is used across the globe in construction projects, from the building of bridges and roads above the ground to drains and foundations below it. Without concrete, we’d be hard-pressed to get quite as much infrastructure built as we do today.
The benefits of concrete
The benefits of concrete are numerous. It’s a strong, durable substance with a relatively low cost, making it ideal for large structures which need to support heavy loads. Concrete can last for decades with the right care. It’s light enough to transport and easy to pour into place when in liquid form.
What is concrete made of?
Concrete is made of varying quantities of the following: water, aggregates and cement. The mix can be tailored to meet the needs of an individual project with the adjustment of quantities and the addition of other materials to provide specialist qualities.
The binding ingredient for concrete, cement is often used as the interchangeable name for concrete. While cement is a part of the mixture, it is incorrect terminology in place of concrete as, by itself, it would not be useable as a material in construction.
The uses of cement
Cement is traditionally used as part of concrete, predominantly in construction, however, it was used in the 20th Century to immobilise radioactive waste materials.
The benefits of cement
Cement, being a core ingredient of concrete, has the same benefits as concrete. But as a material in its own right, the strength it offers to the mixture has to be the main benefit
What is cement made of?
Standard cement is a mix of oxides and lime or calcium silicates which help to facilitate a reaction when mixed with water and aggregates to create what we know as cement. For cement which hardens simply through contact with the open air, there is a slightly different chemical make-up.
Another material which often gets confused with concrete and cement, mortar is part of this family but is much thicker due to the components used.
The uses of mortar
Mortar is used mainly with brickwork, binding the bricks together but providing a softer finish than concrete or cement alone. This is so that there is just enough give in the material for when brickwork and structures shift slightly over time.
The benefits of mortar
Mortar is thicker, which means it’s easier to control and put into place. Whether creating a new structure or repairing and replacing existing mortar, it can be laid with a trowel and doesn’t require pumping. The soft finish, as mentioned above, means it can sustain slight shifts over time without needing to replace the structure.
What is mortar made of?
Similar to concrete, mortar requires cement, water, fine sands and a limestone additive. Different strengths are available and will better suit different work and different buildings.
Here at EasyMix Concrete, we take the hassle out of choosing the right concrete for your project. Our professional team has the knowledge to recommend the most suitable mix for your needs and can help arrange delivery at a time to suit you. So whether you need concrete for foundations, footings or floors, we’ll be happy to help you with quality products and excellent service – contact us today.