Concrete vs. Cement: What’s the Difference?

Concrete vs Cement

Do you know the difference between concrete and cement? Can the names be used interchangeably? It turns out this is a little bit of a trick question. Cement is actually a component of concrete, and the exact application and usage of that concrete depends on the situation. Learn how Shelby Materials in Central Indiana uses our specialty ready mix concrete applications to fulfill your construction project needs. 

What is Cement? 

Cement is generally made up of limestone, clay, shells and sand. Indiana in particular is known for its limestone. These materials are combined with iron ore and then crushed at temperatures around 2,500° F to be made into cement. Cement often looks like soil, and can be applied between bricks in a building or other construction projects to adhere the materials together. 

What is Concrete?

Cement is actually an ingredient of concrete. It is the fine powder that, when mixed with water, sand, and gravel or crushed stone (fine and coarse aggregate), forms the rock-like mass known as concrete. Different materials in this mixture can create concrete with unique properties, and the water-cement ratio helps determine the strength and quality. This mixture is what you will find in our signature yellow Shelby Materials ready mix trucks you see driving to area construction sites. 

The cement and water create a chemical reaction called hydration, which hardens into the rock hard concrete that is known to carry heavy weights and withstand large amounts of pressure. The hydration process actually continues for years after it is initially used for a project, meaning that the surface or building will continue to strengthen in time. 

How does Shelby use Concrete?

The experts at Shelby Materials utilize specialty concrete mixes uniquely suited for each construction project we complete. Admixtures can be used to reduce curing time, increase workability, increase strength, or to change the material properties. All of our specialty mixes offer varying proportions in order to create the perfect concrete for your specific project. 

What is Decorative Concrete?

Shelby can provide decorative concrete for a distinctive flooring option in commercial or residential use. We can add color or stain to your concrete to create a beautiful look that is only limited by your creativity. Stamped concrete can be combined with color or polish to resemble shapes, custom drawings and even wooden decking. The sky truly is the limit when it comes to decorative concrete. 

Have additional questions? Our Shelby experts would love to work with you for your ready mix and aggregates needs. Contact us today online or at 317-782-3200.

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