We encounter concrete and mortar daily, but we often do not know the key differences between these similar building materials. In both concrete and mortar, you will find cement as the essential binding agent. We have briefly outlined cement, and then we have created an easy guide to the key differences between concrete and mortar. When you need powerful and affordable concrete mixers for your concrete project, B&S Commercial Power has you covered.
Cement is the key ingredient in both concrete and mortar. Cement is a fine, grey powder that acts as a binding agent. Cement is made most commonly from limestone, but you can also find cement made from silica sand, clay, shells, and blast furnace slag. The most widely used cement is Portland cement.
Portland cement is produced from mined limestone. The limestone and other materials are heated in a cement kiln to a calcining temperature to produce cement clinker. The cement clinker is then combined with other materials, usually gypsum, and ground into a fine powder in a cement mill until the product that you purchase in brown paper bags from the hardware store is formed.
Concrete is a strong material made from a mixture of cement, coarse aggregates, fine aggregates, and water. Concrete is a highly strong material that can withstand heavy loads and is durable against weather conditions and fire. The affordability of cement and aggregates makes concrete an extremely budget-friendly building material. Once you have correctly cured your concrete, it requires low maintenance to keep it strong and durable.
The coarse aggregates used in concrete play an important role in the strength and durability of the hardened concrete. Course aggregates, which are aggregates of 5mm-9.5mm in size, are available in different sizes and have varying qualities. The coarse aggregates that you choose for your concrete project depend on the desired strength, function of the concrete, and the overall aesthetic of the hardened concrete.
Uses for Concrete:
Concrete has been in use for centuries and is one of the most widely used materials in the world. Concrete is highly versatile and is most popularly used in the construction industry. In concrete construction, you will usually find concrete that has been additionally reinforced with steel for added strength and durability. We have briefly listed 5 of the most common uses for concrete.
Buildings: From homes to shopping centres to sky-rise apartments, concrete is widely used in the construction of buildings. Reinforced concrete can be used for the walls, floors, and ceiling slabs in any building. Concrete is the optimal building material choice over other building materials such as wood or steel.
Foundations: Before you can build any type of building, you need a solid foundation. Concrete is the most popular choice for foundations due to its ability to carry heavy loads. Freshly mixed concrete is fluid, which means it can be easily moulded into any desired foundation shape.
Dam Walls: South Africa is home to numerous dams where you will find concrete dam walls. The affordability and strength of concrete make it an obvious choice for holding exceptional volumes of water. The versatility of concrete allows dam engineers to design the dam wall in the most suitable style for the terrain and water volume.
Roads, Driveways, and Pavements: The strength, durability, and low maintenance of concrete make it an ideal material for roads, driveways, and pavements. Concrete roads are more expensive than asphalt roads, but are preferred for roads that require heavy load-bearing abilities, such as roads that often have trucks using them.
DIY Projects: Concrete has stepped outside of the construction industry and has become a favourite material for those who love DIY projects. Concrete can be used to make pots, pavers for landscaping, kitchen countertops, and more. Creativity and concrete are a perfect pair.
You can mix concrete by hand or with a concrete mixer. Mixing concrete by hand is suitable when you only need small quantities of concrete but will be time-consuming and laborious for larger concrete projects. If you are creating a large concrete surface, we recommend investing in a concrete mixer.
To mix concrete by hand, you will need a wheelbarrow, cement, coarse and fine aggregates, water, and a shovel. Place the dry ingredients into the wheelbarrow and mix until fully combined. Pour the correct quantity of water into the and mix until combined.
How you mix the concrete by hand is important. Place the shovel underneath the concrete mixture, fold it back on itself, and chop the mixture with the shovel. Repeat this technique until completely combined.
Mixing concrete in a concrete mixer is effortless. Simply place your cement, coarse aggregates, fine aggregates into the mixer and switch it on to allow it to mix. Once your dry ingredients are combined, add the required water quantity, and allow the concrete mixer to provide you with homogeneously mixed concrete.
To become strong and durable, concrete needs to be cured. The curing process ensures that the concrete does not lose too much water too quickly, which can lead to shrinkage, cracks, failures, and reduced strength. Curing is an essential step that cannot be skipped or rushed.
There are various curing methods suited to your specific concrete project and your desired strength and durability. These methods include water curing, sheet curing, electrical curing, and more. Depending on the method you have chosen, there will be specific steps you will need to take to cure the concrete.
Mortar is a bonding material made from cement, fine aggregates, and water. Lime is also usually added to mortar to increase its strength qualities. Mortar is stronger than cement on its own because of the added fine aggregates, but not as strong as cured concrete. Mortar has higher flexibility than concrete as it can expand and contract in temperature differences with lower risks of cracking.
Uses for Mortar:
Mortar is not used alone but rather acts as a binding agent for other building materials. The water-to-cement ratio in mortar is lower than in concrete, resulting in a thicker, paste-like substance that easily binds bricks, stones, and concrete blocks together in the construction of buildings. Mortar will be layered between each brick, stone, or block and will bind these materials securely together when it cures.
You can also get thin-set mortar that can be used to attach stone or ceramic tiles to floors or walls. Thin-set mortar is typically used when the surface is made from concrete. Thin-set mortar is preferable for tile attachment as you only need a thin layer of thin-set mortar while still achieving a strong bond between the tile and the concrete surface.
You can either create your mortar mix with a ratio of cement, lime, and fine aggregates, or you can purchase a pre-mixed mortar that you simply need to add water to. For projects at home, we recommend purchasing the pre-mixed mortar as it will have the correct quantities of cement, lime, and sand for a strong and flexible mortar. Mortar is usually mixed by hand, and we have listed what you will need below.
- Personal protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and a face mask.
Mixing mortar by hand is simple. Place the pre-mixed mortar into the wheelbarrow. The consistency of mortar is essential, so you need to be wary of how much water you initially add. Start by adding around 1 cup of water to the mortar powder and mix with the shovel, and keep adding water until the desired paste-like consistency is achieved. The technique you use to mix the mortar is the same as the technique you would use to mix concrete.
After you have placed the mortar in between the bricks, stones, or concrete blocks, you will need to allow the mortar to set. Because the mortar is comprised of cement, you will need to allow it to cure to harden and become strong. After 24 hours, the mortar should be dry to the touch and after 48 hours the mortar should be fully cured.
To adequately cure the mortar, you need to prevent the water from evaporating too quickly. This can be done by hanging a plastic sheet over the brick, stone, or concrete block wall to trap the moisture inside and protect the mortar from dry winds. A common trick is to wet the bricks or stones before you lay them with the mortar to keep it from drying out too quickly. Alternatively, you can sprinkle the surface of the mortar with a fine water spray to enable adequate curing.
Cement and Concrete Mixers at B&S Commercial Power:
At B&S Commercial Power, you will find a wide range of concrete mixers. Our concrete mixers are an imported range from Baumax. Baumax crafts high-performance concrete mixers that are perfectly suited to both residential and commercial use.
Whether you are needing concrete for a foundation or a DIY project, a concrete mixer makes it quick and effortless to get perfectly mixed concrete for a project. At B&S Commercial Power, you will find a range of drum sizes to mix the exact quantity of concrete you require for your project. We have briefly listed our available concrete mixers so that you can easily find the concrete mixer you need.
- Baumax BS500L Concrete Mixer fitted with Baumax RX200 2:1 Engine.
- Baumax 400L Concrete Mixer fitted with Baumax RX200 2:1 Engine.
- Baumax BS360L Concrete Mixer fitted with Baumax RX200 2:1 Engine.
Not only are Baumax concrete mixers extremely efficient at creating homogenously mixed concrete, but they are also safe to use. Each of the Baumax concrete mixers comes with a ring gear cover and an enclosed engine cabin. These features ensure that when you use your concrete mixer you are safe from any hazards.
With B&S Commercial Power, you get the quality and power of Baumax concrete mixers at an affordable rate. We offer budget-friendly solutions for your power tool needs so that you can always afford the best tools for your project. Keep an eye on our online store for specials on our concrete mixers.
About B&S Commercial Power:
B&S Commercial Power is a proud supplier of locally manufactured and imported power tools. Alongside our concrete mixers, you will find an unbeaten range of power tools perfectly suited to your project needs. We are always eager to provide a solution to your power tool requirements for your forestry, agricultural, construction, or residential projects.
You can find the B&S Commercial Store in Brackenfell, Cape Town. Our client base is not only found in Cape Town, but rather we have supplied power tools to happy clients all over Southern Africa. We take every step to ensure that you can benefit from the quality, affordability, and high performance of the power tools at B&S Commercial Power.
Know the difference between concrete and mortar with our useful guide and find the concrete mixers you need at B&S Commercial Power.