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What’s The Difference Between Concrete, Cement and Mortar?

June 15, 2023 9:48 pm Published by

In any kind of construction, there are always a variety of materials at our disposal. That means that there is also a lot of opportunity to confuse similar materials. Understandably, many people ask what the difference between concrete, mortar and cement is. To anyone not in the construction trade, it’s probably not obvious, leaving some confusion about which one is the right material required for the job.

Instead of pitting ‘mortar vs cement’ or asking the difference between concrete and mortar, we thought it would be a good idea to run through all three of the most commonly confused materials in this area in more detail. By tackling each one, you can find out how it’s used, what the benefits are and what it’s actually made of.

Take a look below and, hopefully, you’ll quickly become more confident in choosing the right material for your project. If you’re still unsure and think you need the professionals, however, don’t hesitate to contact us at Bosaco and we’ll help make sure your construction work is completed to the highest standards (and with the right materials!).


What are the ingredients in concrete?

Concrete is a material that has been part of construction for centuries, and while our modern concrete may be sourced a little differently to that used by some ancient civilisations, some general principles remain the same– namely the ingredients. 

Concrete is made up of the following: water, cement, sand and aggregates. The crucial part of this, however, is that the mixture and ratio of these materials can be different to provide different qualities. You might find that the quantity of aggregates – whether that’s sand or gravel – will vary to achieve specific results, making it different to mortar.

How is concrete used?

As we briefly touched on above, concrete has been in use around the world for many centuries, helping to build everything from homes and buildings in cities, to bridges, driveways and drains. A large percentage of the infrastructure around us is created using some form of concrete.

What are the benefits of using concrete?

As a strong and sturdy material once it has set, it’s easy to see why concrete is so prevalent. The ability to support massive amounts of weight and last for decades has made it popular with almost every country on the planet. However, perhaps the most beneficial thing about concrete is how affordable it is, making it a cost-effective material.


What are the ingredients in mortar?

Mortar shares some of the same ingredients with concrete, chiefly water, cement and sand, but sometimes includes lime. However, the difference between mortar and concrete is that there are no aggregates in mortar. The mortar mix ratio makes it slightly thicker, while the lack of large aggregates makes it smoother – find out why in the next section.

How is mortar used?

Mortar is mainly used as a binding agent, holding two materials together, such as bricks and stones. For this reason, you’ll often find mortar being used in most masonry work, whether that’s building a stone wall in the garden or a brick wall for a house.

What are the benefits of using mortar?

Thanks to the mortar mix being thicker, its main benefit is that you can easily lay and position it. A trowel is all you should need to pick up and paste down your mortar because of this.

It should also be noted that mortar, given its softer composition, allows for a little bit of shifting over time. This means your structure can sustain a small amount of naturally occurring adjustment in the ground without having to rebuild or replace it.


What are the ingredients in cement?

Cement is often used interchangeably as a term for concrete, but this isn’t correct. Cement is just one ingredient of concrete and mortar, and is itself made up of oxides and either lime or calcium silicates. This dry mixture is then perfect for transporting to places where those aforementioned materials are required, with the addition of water providing the reaction thanks to its composition.

How is cement used?

Since it’s part of both concrete and mortar, cement has been widely used for construction and building purposes around the globe. Cement is also used in the creation of screed, a type of flooring cement that brings a different finish and aesthetic.

What are the benefits of using cement?

Clearly, since it’s used in both of the previous materials as a key ingredient, the main benefit that you get from cement is strength. Without cement, we simply would not have the stable and lasting landscape and infrastructure that we have today.

Choose A Local, Reliable Construction Company

When you need any type of construction work carried out in Nottingham, don’t leave things up to chance. Here at Bosaco, we’re your local construction company with years of experience in everything from landscaping to house extensions, and we know exactly which mixture of mortar and concrete is needed for each – one less thing for you to have to worry about!

Contact us today and get a free, no-obligation quote for any construction and building work you require.

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