Cement vs. Concrete: Understanding the Difference

Don’t start a concrete project until you know the difference between cement and concrete mix.

People often say ‘cement’ and ‘concrete’ interchangeably, but these words have different meanings. Here’s what you should know about cement vs. concrete.


A pile of cement, in powder form, appears with a seamless white background. It will be added to concrete mix later.
Cement is just one ingredient in concrete mix. (DepositPhotos)

What is Cement?

First, cement is not concrete — it’s just one ingredient of concrete. That’s the most important thing to know because many reputable sources confuse the two.

In fact, the dictionary currently lists concrete as another word for cement, and that couldn’t be more wrong!

Cement is a powder that contains all kinds of ingredients you’ll never need to identify — but if you’re wondering, they’re alumina, iron oxide, lime, magnesium oxide and silica.

These ingredients are burned in a kiln and then pulverized to create cement. The end product is just one ingredient of concrete and mortar (along with stucco, thin-set adhesive and tile grout).

The fact is, a project containing only cement wouldn’t last long. That’s because cement is never used alone — it’s always mixed with other ingredients.

But that doesn’t mean cement isn’t a valuable ingredient! A typical bag of concrete mix contains about 15 percent cement,

Read More