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What is the difference between cement and concrete and why should we care?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 14, 2020

In this episode we have the Crack Daddy, Adam Tracy, telling us the difference between cement and concrete.

It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Daddy, Adam Tracy. This podcasts provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: What is the difference between cement and concrete?

Narrator: Adam, I have to admit that your father-in-law, The Crackman Rich, had a good laugh in my expense a few years back with my pronunciation of “cement”. I guess the accent is one of the big differences between northerners and southerners, am I right?

Adam: That would be correct, in fact I had a smile come across my face when I heard you say it as well.

Narrator: So I guess maybe another big difference is that I always thought that “cement” or cement and concrete were basically the same thing, but I’m guessing they’re not?  

Adam: They’re not and in fact it’s a very common misused term. You’ll see people say “Oh there goes the cement truck running down the road.” or “Watch out for the cement sidewalk, there might be a bump in it.” But cement is not concrete, and concrete is not cement, they’re two very different things. 

Narrator: Alright, well why don’t you tell us what the differences are.

Adam: Absolutely. So, cement is really the glue that holds concrete together. So, cement is a limestone based product, most commonly people would call as Portland cement, it’s one of the most commonly used construction materials in the world. And what the Portland cement or hydraulic cement is it’s the glue that holds concrete. Now, what is concrete? Concrete is a mixture of the cement, and aggregate, and water. The aggregate are going to be small and large stones which give the concrete structural strength to it. So the glue holds the stones together and the water activates the cement to pack this glue actually holds everything together.

So, a lot of times when people will say, “So we’ll just put some cement in there.” Well, cement is the glue and the concrete is the finished product with all the different things that are in there. So a lot of times we’ll use hydraulic cement in crack repairs to help use the injection material work its way to the outside. But the hydraulic cement’s purpose is really just to hold the material in, it doesn’t actually repair the wall which is a concrete wall. So a lot of times people would go down the hardware store and they’ll get hydraulic cement because they think it’s a water-stopping solution. And while it does cover up a crack or a hole, it does not actually provide a long-term solution because there’s no flexibilities in cement, it’s actually rigid once it cures and think of it like a hard glue, because that’s exactly what it is. And then when the walls move, they won’t move within it so it opens up again over time, just like if you were to take a piece of paper and have a hard piece of glue that has cured on it and started crinkling it up, it would crinkle with it just the same as the wall does. So we have there, it’s a big difference between cement and concrete and while the words are used interchangeably, they do mean very differently. 

Narrator: Well, I guess you learn something new every day. Well, thank you Adam for telling us the difference between cement and concrete. I’ll work on my pronunciation.  

Narrator: Thanks Adam for telling us everything we need to know about concrete footings. If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation repair and waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich or Adam at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email them at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for watching and keep that basement dry.


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