Concrete vs. Cement – What’s the Difference?

What is Concrete? What is Cement?

Though a lot of people use the terms interchangeably, cement and concrete are not the same thing. Cement is the bonding agent or the “glue” that’s used in concrete.

Here’s an even easier way to think about it…

Cement is to concrete as flour is to a cake.

So what exactly is concrete made of?

Concrete is roughly comprised of the following ingredients in the approximate amounts:

  • Cement – 15%
  • Stone – 45%
  • Sand – 33%
  • Water – 8-10%
  • Admixtures or chemicals – less than 1%

Today’s modern ready mixed concrete is very similar to the concrete that the Romans used to build the Coliseum or the Aqueduct. But today’s technology has enabled us to introduce chemicals and varying gradations of aggregates and cements to achieve the desired results for various projects. For example, we might use the same ingredients in the concrete used for a skyscraper and a backyard patio, but we would proportion the ingredients differently.

Concrete may also contain other cementitous materials: GGBFS (Ground, Granulated Blast Furnace Slag), Fly Ash (a by-product of the coal industry), or even Silica Fume. Depending on the project specifications, we sometimes incorporate these products to achieve the desired level of workability, performance and life cycle costs.

View our Power Point Presentation on the Elements of Concrete

How is concrete sold?

You buy concrete by the cubic yard (27 cubic feet). A yard of concrete weighs approximately 4,000 pounds (roughly 2 tons). Concrete is the only building material delivered in one form (liquid), but utilized in another form (solid).

As the foundation that all other building materials use for support, concrete is the most widely-used building material of modern mankind. Need ready mixed concrete for your project?

Contact us and we’ll provide you with the precise composition to meet your needs.