Cement vs. Concrete

While cement and concrete are often used to describe the same things, like a driveway or a sidewalk, each word carries a different meaning. Disseminating cement vs. concrete may seem confusing without prior knowledge, but the difference between concrete and cement is quite simple:

  • Cement is an ingredient used to create concrete.
  • Concrete is the material created through a mixture of cement, water, and aggregate.

In this post, our goal is to make sure you have a clear understanding of what each term means and what separates them from one another. Read on to learn more about the differences between cement and concrete.

What is Cement?

Cement should not be looked at as a surface, but rather an ingredient used to create a surface, as mentioned above. Cement is part of a mixture used to create concrete. It makes up roughly 15% of the mixture used to create concrete, combined with water and other aggregates like rocks and sand. In this mixture, cement’s utility is to bind the aggregate together like a paste to form concrete.

The type of cement most commonly used for commercial and residential purposes is called Portland cement. Portland cement is also used to form grout, mortar, and stucco. Cement is one of the most widely used materials in the world.

What is Concrete?

Concrete is the final product of the mixture of cement, water, and aggregate. Installation of the concrete mixture is time-sensitive, as the mixture binds very quickly to form concrete, which is why you often see trucks transporting concrete still mixing it.

For example, when Portland cement is mixed with water and laid down to form a driveway, it only takes a few hours to set. Once this driveway is set, it will take a few weeks to fully harden. Concrete is one of the most common surfaces used for driveways and sidewalks as well as for the construction of homes and commercial buildings. Concrete, by design, is made to withstand exposure to the elements and strengthen itself over time.

Maintaining Concrete Surfaces

While concrete is made to stand the test of time, there is still a risk that structural damage can occur if it is not properly maintained. The best way to make sure your concrete remains structurally sound is to apply a penetrating sealer that strengthens it from within. Additionally, having your concrete washed regularly is always recommended to make sure that surface contaminants are kept at bay.

At Perfect Power Wash, we have spent the past twenty years helping customers clean and protect their concrete surfaces. For more information, read about our concrete wash and seal process.

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