The terms concrete and cement are usually used interchangeably, but most people don’t understand that they are two different materials. While concrete is a mixture of paste, aggregates, and gravel, cement comprises a certain percentage of concrete. It is advisable to consult an expert contractor, to understand the difference between the two as you launch your project.

What is Cement

Cement is commonly used as a binding agent in most construction projects, where it is used to stick different construction materials together. There are many cement companies, with Portland cement and Asphalt cement being the most dominant manufacturers in the country. Cement can either be in the form of a powder mixed with water or in paste form, also referred to as mortar which hardens and binds on whatever it comes to contact with.
The ingredients used in cement include sand, limestone, bauxite, and iron ore. It can also include chalk, shells, Mari, shale, slate, and slag. All these components are mixed and heated in a manufacturing plant to form a substance known as a clinker. The clinker is a rock-hard substance ground down into powder form, which can be mixed with water to form a paste.

What is Concrete

On the other hand, concrete is a construction material that uses cement as one of its components. Concrete has four main components: stone, cement, water, and sand. However, if you want the concrete mixture to be stronger, reducing the amount of water you add is advisable. The purpose of adding water is to activate the binding capabilities of the cement, which binds together the aggregates. Larger aggregates are stronger compared to fine aggregates for enhanced structural integrity.

Qualities of Good Concrete

Good concrete should have several specific qualities that set it apart and the ability to be workable to be consolidated properly. When the concrete is too dry, it becomes difficult to get in place, making construction difficult. Once the concrete hardens, certain specifications need to be met for it to be considered high quality.

Concrete should not be affected by thawing, freezing, and deicing chemicals. If you are looking for the best concrete for your construction project, you should ensure that it is water-tight and strong enough to withstand wear. Although all the above are vital considerations, the mix design of the concrete is also something that should be taken into account since it determines the quality of the concrete and its impact on the construction.

Concrete Mix Design

Concrete mix design is the method used to come up with optimized concrete. Five main components are required when coming up with a concrete design: strength, workability, durability, appearance, and density. These are the factors that make concrete popular building material, as it forms the core of a vast majority of buildings, sidewalks and impacts key aspects of our construction projects.

Concrete is versatile and can be poured into any shape that the contractors want, without the need to cut, bend, shape, or weld. There are many reasons why architects appreciate concrete, but the most common reasons include the energy and versatility it brings to every construction project.

Meet Lance Davis


Lance Davis is a third generation Concrete Contractor with over 10+ years experience in concrete repair and slabjacking. His company Davis & Sons Concrete has proudly served all of North Central Illinois, Rockford and the outer suburbs - and he would love to hear from you!

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