Concrete vs Cement: What is the Difference?

Concrete vs cement — while the two are very similar materials, there are some important differences you need to know. We break down the major differences between the two as well as how you can ensure your concrete is strong.

How is concrete made?

In order to make concrete, you need to combine aggregates and paste. Both aggregates and paste are made from multiple materials. Aggregate is a mixture of sand and rock, and paste is a mixture of cement and water. By combining these materials, you can create a mixture–concrete–that’s pourable but will harden into a strong solid.

How is cement made?

If you want to make cement, you’ll need a kiln. In the kiln, you must combine ground limestone, clay and sand. Once this mixture is fully combined and has been heated to the correct temperature, it’s removed from the kiln and left to cool. Then it’s ground into a fine powder and ready to be mixed into concrete!

Concrete vs cement: the final breakdown

At the end of the day, the issue of concrete vs cement comes down to this: concrete is a mixture and cement is an ingredient in that mixture. You can have cement without having concrete, but it’s impossible to have concrete without cement!

Using cement to create strong concrete

So maybe it’s not about concrete vs cement, but how the two combined can create something better. Using high quality cement can help create stronger concrete. When the two work together, that’s when you get the best results. However, the strength of your concrete can vary depending on how it’s mixed. When you mix the paste and aggregates, the initial result will always be the strongest form of concrete.

But when you mix off-site, you need to add more water to the mixture once you arrive at the site. Adding more water can upset the balance of materials in the concrete and lead to “watered down” weak concrete. That’s why we always recommend mixing concrete on-site by using ready-mix concrete and a volumetric mixer. This way, you know you’re getting strong concrete.

Need concrete?

We’ve got you covered. Elston Materials has all the concrete you’ll need. At the end of the day, it’s not concrete vs cement, but how we can use concrete to create the best cement available. By providing volumetric mixers, mixing on-site, and using ready-mix concrete that is pre-measured to have the best ratio of aggregates to paste, we can guarantee you’ll be using strong, durable concrete. You can call 773-235-3100 to order concrete or browse products on our website here.

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Cassie Vu