Like many people, you might be thinking about doing a few repairs or upgrades to your home. Perhaps your driveway needs a bit of patching or you are thinking of adding a nice little back yard deck. When it comes to buying the material, which do you choose? Concrete or cement?
For the average person, both may seem to be the same. The words are often used interchangeably when we talk about it, so is there any real difference between the two?
There certainly is a difference and if you want the job done right, you should know which one works better for the job you have in mind.
What is the Difference Between Concrete and Cement?
Perhaps the reason these two types of building material seem the same is that one of the main ingredients in concrete IS cement! It sounds unlikely, but it’s true.
When cement is mixed with water, it makes a smooth paste that we all know as cement. However, when we add a substance called aggregates, which can be gravel, rocks and sand, plain cement becomes concrete.
Cement is an amazing agent that binds things together like crazy, but cement by itself tends to crack fairly easily. This isn’t to say that cement is without value. For small projects, such as small repairs in sidewalks or landscape edging, making cool looking planters, even making a masonry backyard barbie, cement will work perfectly.
Concrete, on the other hand, is one of the strongest materials known to man when it comes to construction. Typical things that are made with concrete include bridges, sidewalks and buildings, to name a few.
Another aspect of this is that you will find many different varieties of concrete. This is because, like shoes, not all concrete is created equal. You wouldn’t expect ballet shoes to hold up to the rigours of a mining job, so it makes sense that the concrete you would use to set a fence post in the ground would be different than the type you would use for a driveway that will need to hold the weight of heavy-duty trucks.
So, is Concrete Better than Cement?
In many cases, the answer is yes. This isn’t always the case, however. Let’s think of cement as milk and concrete as ice cream. Now, ice cream is absolutely tastier, more filling and more versatile than milk, but would you really want to put ice cream on your cereal?
Both cement and concrete have their places when it comes to building or repairs. It will all depend on what your project involves.
The Bottom Line
In a nutshell, cement is a part of concrete. Cement is great for small jobs and concrete should be used for larger projects. There are different types of concrete, so be sure to use the correct type of concrete for the project you have in mind.
If you are unsure which you should use, concrete or cement, or if you aren’t sure which type of concrete would work best, do some research online or ask a professional.
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