The Difference Between Cement and Concrete

by | Mar 26, 2018

There is a misconception that concrete and cement are interchangeable terms for the same substance, but that could not be farther from the truth. We use both every day, in our houses, roads, and workplaces, but their differences are hardly ever considered.

Simply put, cement is an ingredient of concrete and makes up around 10 to 15 percent of the concrete mix. If you need concrete for your business or home, be sure to know exactly what you’re buying in order to get the highest quality product available.


History of Cement

Cement was first made in the 1800s in England and was known as portland cement because of its similarities to rocks found on the island of Portland close to England. Joseph Aspdin experimented with different mixtures before producing what we know of cement today: a combination of limestone, clay, shells, and sand. These ingredients are all crushed together and heated into a fine powdery substance.

Today, cement is mainly used as a binding substance in concrete. When mixed with water, is sets and hardens creating solid and firm concrete. Water activates the cement and binds the sand and stone fragments together to form the concrete paste that hardens over time.


How Concrete is Used

The binding of water and cement in concrete makes it uniquely able to be molded into whatever shape or form desired. This must be done as soon as its mixed together because over time, concrete begins to harden. In fact, concrete continually hardens overtime even years after it’s made. This is why it’s one of the most widely used products in building houses, roads, and high-rises.

At Knight’s Companies, one of our specialties is our Precast division that focuses on a full line of sanitary and storm drainage structures.

Check out Knight’s Precast to learn more and see some recent projects that we’ve molded together.


Mixing Concrete

There are two main ways of mixing concrete for big construction jobs: Ready Mix and Site Batched concrete. Some companies mix their product on site, which means they keep the water and cement components separate until they are used at the site. Site batch mixing can take some time as the formulas and measurements have to be exact to produce a quality result. You’ll also have to spend time waiting for the concrete to set before you use it.

Ready mixed concrete, however, is much faster and efficient on job sites. Mixed at the concrete company’s plant rather than the job site, this product is delivered ready to go and can actually be distributed to multiple construction sites. Site Batched concrete must be mixed separately at each individual site.

Mixing at the job site can have its issues. Mainly, you’ll have to deal with all of the raw materials on their own and there’s a higher likelihood of contamination or environmental concerns that could arise. This can also compromise the strength and durability of the concrete and lead it to set incorrectly.


Knight’s Redi-Mix focuses on commercial, residential or utility use concrete that is environmentally conscious and carefully mixed for each project in our South Carolina batching plants.

To learn more about how we make our concrete or to place an order with us, contact Knight’s Companies today.

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