What's the Difference Between Cement, Concrete, and Mortar?

Any man worth his salt should know the difference between cement, concrete, and mortar. I am not that man. They’re all just gray sludge to me. But This Old House explains the difference between the three in a very easy to understand way.

Cement is a fine powder that hardens when mixed with water and is used in many building mixes. Concrete is a mix of cement, sand, and coarse stone. When wet, it’s pretty thin. Mortar is a mix of cement, sand, and limestone and it’s much thicker than concrete. Mortar is used to hold things like bricks and stones together.

I’m probably going to forget all that and just ask the guy who works at Home Depot the next (first) time I need cement, concrete, or mortar but hey, the more you know.


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Cement is what you use on mobsters in the 40's when you needed to provide a man-made reef in the east river.