Cement vs. Concrete vs. Mortar

Cement vs. Concrete vs. Mortar, alpha paving Mortar, concrete and cement are the names of three different products, but the terms are often used interchangeably. Since the products are intended for different purposes, it is important to understand the properties of each so that you can make the proper decision for your specific project.

Cement vs. Concrete vs. Mortar

About Cement

Cement is typically made from crushed limestone, silica sand, shells, clay or similar materials that are combined with water and other ingredients such as iron ore. For centuries, cement was used in various building projects, but by the early 20th century, cement’s lack of durability and slow setting time made it an unpopular choice for the construction of bridges and highways. Today, cement is valued primarily as a binding agent in the production of concrete and mortar. However, cement is still used occasionally for decorative features, including indoor fountains, columns and statuary.

About Mortar

Mortar is a mixture of cement, sand and water. It is used primarily to hold stones and bricks together when constructing a wall, home or business. At times, mortar is used to hold the bricks together when constructing sidewalks or patios, but since mortar can crack when subjected to cold weather, these projects typically rely on fitting the bricks together tightly. Mortar cannot stand alone, so it is not used for purposes other than to “glue” hardscape components together.

About Concrete

Concrete is a mixture of sand and cement to which gravel or another aggregate is added prior to the addition of water. Concrete is an extremely popular building material that is used for a variety of projects. Hoover Dam, the Roman Pantheon, Boston City Hall, the Coliseum in Rome, Three Gorges Dam and the Buffalo City Court Building are just a few well-known projects that have been constructed entirely or primarily from concrete. Concrete is also used extensively in the construction of bridges, highways and retaining walls. Most new homes in America are built on concrete slabs, and many of them feature concrete porches, driveways and walkways as well. Concrete is also a popular material for outdoor statuary, birdbaths, benches and picnic tables in public parks.

If installed correctly and maintained properly, concrete can have a very long life, which is one reason for the material’s popularity. In addition, because concrete is a fluid slurry, it can be poured into molds having a variety of shapes and its finish worked to provide unique or decorative elements. Concrete has excellent weight-bearing properties, but reinforcing it with materials such as rebar can improve its strength. Virtually all load-bearing concrete is reinforced to enhance strength and longevity.

Contrary to what most people assume, concrete does not rely on the evaporation of water to cure. Curing takes place during a heat-producing chemical process. Although new concrete may be sufficiently set within 72 hours, it can take as long as a month for the concrete to achieve 90 percent of its final strength; it may take years for the concrete to achieve its maximum strength.

If You Have Additional Questions, Contact Us

Alpha Paving is a leading full-service paving company providing our services to customers throughout Central Texas. Our services include the installation and repair of concrete sidewalks, ramps, parking lots and driveway as well as asphalt paving, repairs and sealcoating. We also offer parking lot striping, road construction, asphalt overlays and parking lot maintenance in Austin, Tx.  Numerous retailers, local governments, HOAs, office parks, hospitals, churches, hotels, apartment complexes, restaurants, shopping malls and airports rely on us for exceptional workmanship at competitive rates. To request a free estimate, call our office at (512) 677-9001 or use the online form to send us your information.

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