Although the terms concrete and cement are often used interchangeably, they are actually two different materials. Knowing the difference between the two can help you better understand these primary building tools, and it can even help you decide which is best to use in your specific situation.

What is cement?

You can use cement to bind various building materials together. It consists of a fine grey powder mixed with water and other substances to form the concrete. It’s an essential building material in both residential and commercial construction work.

There are different types of cement. One example is Portland cement, which is a type of cement, not a brand name. It’s a primary ingredient of concrete, using a closely controlled combination of calcium, silicon, aluminum, iron, and other components to create a strong mixture.

What is concrete?

Concrete is composed of three raw ingredients:

  • water
  • aggregate
  • cement

Cement, typically in powder form, becomes a binding agent when mixed with water and aggregate. The less water that you add to the mixture, the stronger the concrete will be. The mixture is then poured and finally hardens into the durable material called concrete.

Which one should I use?

That depends. Concrete works better in larger projects. Cement, on the other hand, is often used in smaller projects. Concrete is used to build structures like bridges, sidewalks, schools, and other large structures, whereas cement is generally used to bind building materials such as brick and stone. Concrete, as mentioned above, is also used to make concrete.

Cement and concrete are both used in construction work, and they are both durable. However, they are not the same thing. Concrete is much more durable, although it does contain cement. All of these binding agents help create the right mixture to make structures last longer and stay strong.