The words concrete and cement are often used interchangeably in reference to speaking about concrete surfaces. Did you know, however, that cement and concrete are actually two different things?

Cement is just one component of what makes up actual concrete. So there is really no such thing as a cement driveway or sidewalk. Unless you are a concrete professional or general contractor in Ohio, however, the difference is likely unknown and no one will notice your mistake.

What is Cement?

Concrete is made up of a mixture of aggregates and paste. The aggregates consist of sand, gravel, or crushed stone. The pasta consists of water and portland cement. Portland cement is not a brand name but a specific form of cement that is used in almost all concrete mixtures.

Cement makes up 15% of a concrete mixture. The rest of a concrete mixture is typically 60-70% aggregates and 15-20% water. Air bubbles can take up the final 5-8% of a concrete mixture’s volume.

How Does it Work?

The key to achieving strong, durable concrete rests on the careful proportioning and mixing of the ingredients. When done properly the concrete mixture will have the desired workability for the fresh concrete to be poured and molded into any shape or form.

Water is what makes Portland cement’s chemistry activate to create the pasta necessary to bind together the aggregates of concrete. This chemical reaction is called hydration.

The quality of this water and cement paste will determine the strength and durability of the concrete. The water-cement ratio is the weight of the mixing water divided by the weight of the cement. High-quality concrete is produced by lowering the water-cement ratio as much as possible without sacrificing the workability of fresh concrete. Generally, using less water produces a higher quality concrete provided the concrete is properly placed, consolidated, and cured

Working With a Flooring General Contractor in Ohio

As we said before, as an average joe your need to know the difference between concrete and cement is probably minimal. As a flooring general contractor, however, it is imperative to know the difference and understand the chemistry behind how cement works for concrete.

When selecting a flooring general contractor, choosing one that has this knowledge will likely result in a better concrete product. For you, this means your concrete will last longer with greater strength and durability.

At Select Flooring Systems, we have a team of knowledgeable flooring general contractors with years of experience mixing, pouring, and finishing high-quality concrete. Next time you have a concrete project, give us a call to have it done right.