Difference Between Cement and Mortar (With Table)

People are not much familiar with masonry. Therefore, they often confuse between Cement and Mortar. All these are used to bind two things together or to form a flat surface. Although, without knowing the difference between these two terms. Thereby mixing and using them may result in a lumpy and messy outcome. However, these terms are synonymously taken, but they are very different materials from each other. Thus, people think that these two are the same. 

Cement vs Mortar

The difference between Cement and Mortar is that cement is used as a binding powder and also as a component of various materials such as concrete and mortar. It’s not used alone. Whereas, Mortar is also a binding material but used during building with brick, block, and stone. Moreover, their composition also differs. 

Cement is a fine binding powder usually used as a component of various materials such as concrete and mortar as well as tile grout, stucco. It works as a binding element in both concrete and mortar. Furthermore, it’s composed of limestone, clay, shells, and silica sand. When it’s combined with water, it gets harden and sets up.

Mortar is also a binding material. But, mostly used during building with brick, block, and stone. In other words, it is used as an adhesive to hold bricks, blocks, etc together. And in contrast to cement, the composition of the mortar is cement and sand. Moreover, different types are available for different applications. 

Comparison Table Between Cement and Mortar

Parameters of ComparisonCement Mortar
Composition The composition of cement is limestone, clay, shells, and silica sand. The composition of the mortar is cement and sand.
Works Cement is a binding element.Mortar is an adhesive to hold objects together.
Sub-component Cement is usually a component of many masonry materials. Cement is included in Mortar. 
Sole useCement is not used alone.  Mortar is used alone for binding two objects together.
Application Cement works as a binding element in masonry materials such as concrete and mortar. Mortar is used as an adhesive for holding up two objects together. 

What is Cement?

Cement is a binding component in various materials such as concrete and mortar. The composition of cement is limestone, clay, shells, and silica sand. Usually, it doesn’t be used alone but used as a component in various materials such as stucco, tile grout, and thin-set adhesive. When water is added to the cement, it gets activated and hardens up after a while. Also, it binds two objects together in the process. 

Various types of cement are present such as portland, masonry, or white cement. Portland cement is used for making structures to make an object. Cement is commonly used all over the world for construction purposes. Furthermore, Cement can be broadly categorized into Hydraulic and non-hydraulic cement based on the ability to set in the presence of water. 

Hydraulic cement sets in the presence of water due to the chemical reaction between dry ingredients and water, e.g, Portland. Whereas, Non-Hydraulic cement doesn’t set in the existence of water, instead sets up after drying due to the reaction with carbon dioxide.  Cement is not used alone but it does combine with other materials for further application in various things. It is used for binding bricks, blocks, and stones; as a base of the road; manufacture for bricks, tiles, pipes, and various products. The production of cement is an extensive industry as it is used widely across the world. 

What is Mortar?

Mortar is also a binding material, but it contains cement. And the composition of the mortar is cement and sand. In some cases, it also includes fine sands, water, and lime that improves its durability. Although, mortar is not strong as compared to concrete. Thus, it’s not used as a significant component in construction. Instead, it refers as an adhesive that binds bricks, block, stone and other together. 

It is sold in dry pre-mixed form in a bag that can be combined with water for use. Although, it can be made manually as well using a shovel or hoe in a wheelbarrow or mixing tub. Various types of mortar are also available designed specifically for a particular application. Due to the types of mortar, there’s a necessity to use appropriate mortar as it may crack if used improperly. It cannot stand alone like concrete.  

Different use of different types of mortar, for example, grout are used to fill gaps between tiles. But the mortar is used in the joints if there are missing blocks pieces. It contains bonding enhancers. Moreover, it is also used for repairing and renovating purposes. The application is different from cement too. Mortar is applied as a thick paste between the tiles or desired, and it gets hardened in a short time. Thereby it creates a tight seal between them to prevent air or moisture to go in between them. The most commonly used mortars are portland mortar and lime mortar. 

Main Differences Between Cement and Mortar

Cement and Mortar are very different from each other yet they’re considered as the same material. As they are usually used in masonry, they are used inaccurately. Furthermore, their composition and application are different. They are often used synonymously, yet they have their nature and composition. But, they are widely used all across the world for different purposes and different types. 

  1. Cement is made up of limestone, clay, shells, and silica sand, on the other hand, mortar is made up of cement and sand. 
  2. Cement is a binding element. In contrast, mortar is an adhesive to hold objects together. 
  3. Cement is a sub-component of many materials such as concrete and mortar, while Mortar is binding material itself that contains cement. 
  4. Cement is not used alone, while the mortar is used alone for binding two objects together. 
  5. Cement is activated by using water, thereby harden and sets up. Although Mortar is also activated by water, it sets up a little later. 

Conclusion

Both terms are used synonymously yet they are very different from each other from composition to application. They have their distinct nature and applications. In masonry, they are well-known terms but mostly used inaccurately. 

Cement is a binding component in various materials such as concrete and mortar. The composition of cement is limestone, clay, shells, and silica sand. And the mortar is also a binding material but it contains cement in it. And the composition of the mortar is cement and sand. In some cases, it also includes fine sands, water, and lime that improves its durability. Cement is used alone rather than used as a component in different materials. Whereas Mortar is solely used for constructional purposes as it is not strong enough. Cement is used for binding the materials together such as concrete and mortar, on the other hand, mortar is commonly used in filling gaps between blocks, stones, or tiles. 

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s13367-012-0004-3.pdf
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0008884673900859
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