What Is the Difference Between Concrete, Mortar, and Cement

The terms concrete, mortar, and cement can be somewhat confusing to those who are just beginning to build. Even people who are in the trade and work with these types of materials on a daily basis can mix up these terms, since cement is commonly used to mean concrete.


The primary difference is that cement is a fine powder binder used with concrete and mortar (it is never used alone). Cement is most commonly composed of clay, limestone, silica sand, shells, and other materials. These components are crushed and mixed with ingredients such as iron ore powder.

This is also referred to as Portland or “hydraulic” cement. This simply means that when it is combined with water, it will harden and set.


Composed of gravel, sand, and cement, concrete primarily sees its use in foundational infrastructures for buildings of all types. This dry mixture becomes flexible when it is mixed with water and it is capable of morphing into any shape or mould. The end result is hard as rock.

In many cases, businesses create these mixtures themselves. For smaller projects, Barking concrete and mortar ready mixed is also conveniently available so all you have to do is add water.


Sand and cement make up mortar’s composition. When water is introduced, the cement is activated. Where concrete stands alone, mortar finds its use in holding together hardscape components such as bricks or stones.

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