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Concrete vs. Cement: What Are the Differences?

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concrete vs. cement

Many times, the terms concrete and cement are used interchangeably. However, concrete and cement are not synonymous, as cement is actually a component of concrete. Read on to learn more about the clear differences between concrete and cement.

Fundamentals of Concrete

Concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregates and water. The aggregates used in this mixture include sand, stone, or gravel and they must be graded and clean, otherwise they could negatively affect the strength of the concrete.

Concrete is a durable building material that uses cement as a part of the mixture. When water is added to the cement and aggregates, the cement is activated, hydrates, and acts as a binding agent.

Quality concrete should have specific aspects that set it apart. The mix must be:

  • Workable enough to be placed and consolidated properly
  • Resistant to freezing, thawing, and deicing chemicals when cured
  • Capable of developing strength

Fundamentals of Cement

The main difference between concrete and cement is that cement is a binder made of iron, aluminum, silicon, calcium, and other substances from limestone, shells, chalk, clay, iron, and silica sand. After blending these ingredients, they are then kiln fired and a clinker is produced and then crushed into a power. This powder combined with water turns into a paste.

The cement paste, when merged with sand and coarse aggregate, will make a concrete mix that will go through a hydration process we refer to as curing – strength development. Cement isn’t designed to be used on its own, but it is used as a binder by acting as “glue” and hardening other construction materials.

Concrete vs. Cement: Facts to Determine the Differences

While the terms are often used interchangeably, cement and concrete are not the same thing. Here are some important facts to determine the difference between concrete and cement.

1. Concrete is best for larger projects, while cement is more often used for small jobs

Concrete is used in building pavements, schools, bridges, sidewalks, and many other structures. The material is also used in landscaping, kitchen countertops, and walkways. For smaller applications where the coarse aggregate is too large, fine aggregate is used with the cement and water – we call this product a mortar. If we make this mortar more pliable or fluid we call it a grout.

2. Concrete is used for driveways

Typically, driveways are made of concrete. Since concrete contains cement, both materials will then be present, but you would never use solely cement. Driveways can also use asphalt, brick, and concrete pavers as their construction material.

Concrete Repair from UNIQUE Paving Materials

Now that we’ve discussed concrete vs. cement, it is important to receive the best concrete repair materials so you can preserve your pavement. UNIQUE Paving Materials is the premier choice for all repair needs.

Our line of concrete repair materials includes:

Learn More About Concrete vs. Cement by Contacting Us Today!

Want to learn more about the differences between concrete and cement and receive more concrete repair information? UNIQUE Paving Materials has the information and solutions you need. Contact us today to learn more or to get started on your road repair needs!