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Today, concrete happens to be the top material among major and frequently used construction materials for residential and commercial uses. You may even use it for small home projects. So, then, where does the concept of cement start, and where does the idea of concrete begin? Read on for a detailed breakdown of cement vs concrete.
You can also discover more about the differences between cement, concrete, and mortar, cement types, and concrete types. This article takes the time to discuss how concrete and cement are used today, how to produce cement and high-quality concrete mixtures, and reasons to hire an expert concreter.
Cement vs Concrete: What's the Difference?
It is common for many people to confuse concrete and cement for the same thing. However, there are differences between them. You need one of them to get the other, as cement is an actual ingredient of concrete.
What is concrete?
Concrete comprises an aggregate of sand and gravel or crushed stone and a paste. This paste is composed of cement and water. Concrete is well known for its frequent use as a building material for all sorts of buildings and facilities. You can use them for a wide range of projects.
Cement Vs concrete Vs mortar
Here is a simple description of cement vs concrete vs mortar that makes it easy not to lump them all together.
When cement is mixed with water, it is called cement paste. Cement is a binding agent component of concrete and mortar. It can even bind other building materials.
On the other hand, mortar is composed of cement mixed with fine sand and water. Lime is also added to increase durability. In other words, mortar comprises cement, lime, and fine sands. It can help bind bricks, blocks, and stones.
Adding larger aggregates of stones or gravel to cement and sand leads to the production of concrete. This explains some of the massive differences between cement and concrete. The nature of its components makes concrete stronger as it gets older.
Portland Cement and Concrete
Portland cement is a generic term that is used for cement. It acts as a binding agent in concrete. First, the cement is mixed with water, and that reaction causes it to harden and bind with the ingredients. The resulting hard mass that you get is concrete. In other words, the four essential ingredients in concrete are cement, stone, sand, and water.
Depending on your project, you may decide to use a specific water-to-cement ratio. An online concrete calculator can also help you estimate the required volume and weight of concrete for the intended project area.
Portland limestone cement is regarded as blended cement because they have less clinker. They ultimately help reduce the environmental impact of cement and concrete due to CO2 emissions.
On a side note, you can refer to the Portland Cement Association for reliable information on cement and concrete. For instance, the correct terms for cement sidewalks and cement mixers are concrete sidewalks and concrete mixers.
Types of Portland cement
The Portland Cement Association specifies up to 8 types of Portland cement including the following:
- Type I is general-purpose cement.
- Type II (MH) cement is meant for structures in soil or water with moderate sulphate concentrations.
- Type II cement is reasonably sulphate resistant. They produce moderate heat during curing.
- Type III cement provides high strength in its early stage (typically in a week or less).
- Type IV cement moderates heat produced by hydration used for immense concrete structures like dams.
- Type V cement can resist chemical attacks by high sulphates in soil and water.
- Types IA, IIA, I (MH) A and IIIA cement are used to produce air-entrained concrete.
- In addition, blended hydraulic cement can be made by combining several types of fine materials. These materials can include Portland cement and one or more limestone, slag cement, or pozzolans (ash or silica fume).
Types of cement
Here are the general types of cement and their uses:
- General Purpose (GP) is meant for general use. People use them for various types of building and construction work.
- General Purpose Blend (GB) can also be for general use, but they have lower early strength gain rates than GP.
- High Early Strength (HE) is especially suited for repairs and cold environments.
- Low Heat (LH) typically offers moderate resistance to specific forms of chemical attacks.
Types of concrete
Concrete types vary in terms of aggregates and binders used. This leads to varying levels of strength, chemical resistance, thermal resistance, and density of concrete mixtures.
The basic types of concrete include the following:
- Cement concrete
- Reinforced cement concrete
- Lime concrete
- Other variants resulting from the level of readiness for use
How are Concrete and Cement Used Today?
Interestingly, the cement industry has the most significant concrete market share and is expected to exceed $600 billion in revenue by 2025. Concrete and cement are often used to create concrete slabs, patios, and pavements. Other DIY uses for ready-mix concrete mixtures include concrete planter boxes and concrete fencing posts.
Production of cement
- It all begins with the quarrying of the sedimentary rock called limestone.
- Quarried limestone is mixed with a silica-based material such as fly ash or slag.
- The mixture is heated up in a kiln to 1,482 degrees Celsius (or 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature.
- The output is called clinker.
- You can then grind this clinker down to a really fine powder.
- Some additives are added to finally get cement.
How to Use Concrete Mixes
Ready-made concrete mixes come in bags composed of cement, sand, and gravel. This composition makes concrete making easy as you only need to add water. Concrete mixes are ideal for small projects such as building small concrete pads.
How to produce high-quality concrete mixtures
Strength is only one of the components of an optimised concrete mixed design. So, you should think beyond just the strength of cement or concrete.
The other components that indicate the high quality of concrete include durability, workability, density, and appearance. You can tweak these components to get a concrete mix designed for a specific application.
- Concrete strength depends on the concrete mixture's cement and water ratio.
- You can choose a more resistant cement type with sealings and coatings to increase durability. You can also use a low water-to-cement ratio.
- You should consider concrete workability so the concrete can be placed with little effort.
- Likewise, you can ensure that the concrete density complements its strength and durability.
- Finally, you should factor in the appearance, especially if you are making decorative concrete applications.
Reasons to Hire Expert Concreters
Knowing the differences between cement and concrete, the types of cement and concrete, or how to use concrete mixes and produce high-quality concrete mixtures is excellent information to have. However, there are good reasons and benefits of hiring a professional concreter to do your cement or concrete job, as listed below:
- They have the expertise to do excellent concreting work. For example, their architects know to use insulating concrete forms for homes instead of wood frames.
- Their expert team will take the proper precautions for effective work. For example, they will always use very clean aggregate materials.
- You can rely on them for small projects where fluidity is essential. This includes making concrete planters.
- You can call them for those special projects such as the design of concrete garden edging.
Hire a Professional Concrete Company
You can relax and kick back your heels while a professional company handles all your concrete or cement work. They can help you with big projects such as installing or maintaining school athletic complexes, community centres, or tennis courts.
Or you can invite them to restore and repair your concrete sidewalks, curbs, and gutters. Similarly, they can perform preventative maintenance services such as asphalt installation, seal coating, striping, paving, crack filling, and patching.