3 Differences Between Concrete and Mortar

Concrete and mortar are both used for building projects, so many people think that the two are interchangeable. However, they differ when it comes to strength and durability. This changes what they should both be used for. In general, concrete is stronger and more durable so it’s commonly used for structural projects while mortar is better as a bonding agent. Here are some of the differences that will help you determine if you need a concrete or mortar mix.

Water-to-Cement Ratio

The water-to-cement ratio determines how strong and durable the mix is. The lower the ratio, the stronger and more durable it is. Concrete has a lower water-to-cement ratio than mortar so it can be used in more ways. It can be reinforced with steel to support a structure or supported by the ground to create steps or sidewalks. Mortar has a higher water-to-cement ratio so it’s usually used as an adhesive or bonding agent rather than as a building material. This is an important thing to know when determining how you will use one of these mixes.


The consistency of a material is the percentage of water to make it a paste. A thinner consistency will allow you to make the product into different shapes and sizes while a thicker consistency is better for bonding hard objects. Cement has a thinner consistency which makes it better for forming walkways. Mortar has a thicker consistency which makes it much better for bonding objects together, such as bricks and tiles.

Common Uses

Due to their differing water-to-cement ratios and consistencies, concrete and mortar are used for different purposes. Concrete has the ability to be reinforced with steel for building construction. However, it’s most commonly used for the construction of steps, sidewalks, driveways, and posts. Mortar is unable to be used to construct walkways but is great for bonding objects together. This might include bricks, blocks, stones, pillars, and walls.

Concrete and mortar mix are quite different and are used for different purposes. If you’re planning a home project, you need to know which one is the right one to use. Basically, if you’re building a driveway or walkway without any other material, concrete is the right choice. If you plan on attaching bricks, stones, or tiles together to create a wall or walkway, you’ll want to use mortar to connect them rather than concrete. This will ensure that you end up with your ideal result.

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