Although the terms are often used interchangeably, concrete and cement are different construction materials with different purposes.
””Do you need cement supplier or a concrete supplier for your next project? Understanding the difference will save you, and your supplier, from a costly misunderstanding.
Cement vs. Concrete
Cement is a fine powder that makes up 10-15% of concrete’s total mass. Cement is activated with water and works to bind materials together. Cement by itself is a construction material used for laying brick walls and binding tile.
Concrete uses cement, along with sand and rocks, to form a paste that can be poured and harden into a hard, durable surface. Concrete is less expensive than cement and is used to build roads, driveways, sidewalks, foundations, bridges, and even skyscrapers.
Are you strictly binding other materials together? If so, you need cement. If you are going to be paving a driveway or building a swimming pool, you will need concrete. Most large-scale construction projects will require properly mixed concrete.
The exact measurements of the materials used in concrete vary based on the manufacturer and the purpose for which your concrete is being mixed. Typically, the following ratios are employed:
- 10-15% cement
- 15-20% water
- 60-75% aggregates (sand and rock)
There are also admixtures that your concrete supplier can add to your concrete mix to make it harder, more durable, crack resistant, more flexible, or easier to work with in extremely high or low temperatures. Ask your concrete supplier about the admixture and concrete reinforcement options available to you.
Choosing Quality Materials
Since cement is what holds the ingredients in concrete together, the quality of your cement will determine the quality of your concrete. Calcium Aluminate is the bonding agent in cement and the higher the alumina content, the purer the cement.
70-80% alumina cement is a high-purity bonding agent that results in highly controlled setting times and strength development when added to your concrete. Ask your cement supplier in Arkansas about locally sourced, high-quality cement available to you.
Aggregates make up the majority of concrete, so concrete suppliers carefully select them. Different sizes and types of aggregates are used for different building purposes.
For instance, concrete used to build roads or buildings typically uses small aggregates while concrete used for building dams is often up to six inches in diameter. Aggregates must also be clean and free from any other harmful chemicals that might interfere with the concrete batching process.
The type of water that is used when mixing concrete will also impact the outcome. Water that contains chemical or metal impurities and sediment can impact the strength of the final product, reducing your concrete’s lifespan.
Why You Need a Concrete Supplier
When cement is used by itself, it is typically in small, concentrated quantities as a binding agent. Concrete is usually used in larger quantities. Most contractors and construction crews employ a third-party concrete supplier to save money and time on procuring and handling the necessary processing and pouring equipment.
Hiring a concrete supplier rather than a cement supplier to help select, mix, and deliver your concrete can greatly simplify your next construction project in Arkansas. If you are still uncertain about which material you need, an experienced concrete supplier will be able to tell you whether concrete or cement is most appropriate for your project.
If your next construction project requires a concrete supplier in Arkansas, contact Razorback Concrete at 870.455.0700 for a free estimate.