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Difference Between Cement, Mortar & Concrete

What Is The Difference Between Cement, Mortar & Concrete?

If you want to fix a wall or floor, what would you use? cement, mortar or concrete? this is the type of confusion many people face when they are asked about it. It may seem like the same thing but In fact, cement, mortar & concrete each are very different building materials and they have very different uses.

Difference Between Cement, Mortar & Concrete


Cement is a binder that is not used alone but as a binding material to hold up together other ingredients in mortar & concrete. It is made up of limestone, calcium, silicon, iron, and aluminum, among other ingredients. The mixture of these ingredients are heated up to 2700° F. The product resembles marbles in shape. These marble shaped mixtures are crushed into fine powder.

The final form of cement is a fine powder. When water mixes with the cement, it reacts with it and hardens.


Mortar is building material that is made from the mixing of Cement, Water & sand together to form a thick mixture. It is used as a glue to bind building material together such as bricks & blocks etc.

The water in the mixture hardens the cement and holds it together with sand to form a thick mixture.


Concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregate (gravel & sand) & water. The water is used for triggering the reaction between cement and gravel to make it solid.

It is much thinner than mortar. It cannot be used as a bonding material between bricks or blocks. The cement used in concrete is in fairly low ratio. Most of the mixture is made up of aggregate up to 60 – 80%. The proportion of these ingredients determine the quality and the time it takes to harden the concrete.

Concrete is a building material used for foundations, slabs, beams & patios. It is often times reinforced with steel rebar to reinforce the building’s structural integrity.

Differences Between Cement, Mortar & Concrete

Cement Mortar Concrete
It is fine powder made from silica, calcium, iron, etc It is a mixture of cement, water & sand. It is a mixture of cement, water & gravel.
It is binding material i.e. it is not used alone but in other materials such as mortar & concrete It is a bonding material & used as a glue between brick & block. It is not used alone It is a complete building material and used in the construction of foundations, walls, beams & slabs etc.
It is in a dry powder form. Wet mortar is thicker as compared to concrete It is thinner as compared to mortar
It hardens when mixed with water. When it hardens it is softer & less strong as compared to concrete. It is more durable and strong as compared to mortar
The water to cement ratio is higher as compared to cement that is why it’s used as glue in buildings. Its water to cement ratio is lower as compared to the former.
It has to be replaced after 25-50 years so not perfect for structures High durability and strong traits of concretes makes it suitable for a structure such as beams, fireplaces, walls etc.

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