Difference between Mortar and Cement

Difference between mortar and Cement
Mortar Vs Cement

The Basic Difference between Mortar and Cement is that Mortar and cement are mixtures used in construction, but they are different. Mortar is a mixture of water, binder, and sand, while cement is a binder that is always mixed with different ingredients like water, sand, and gravel to form substances like concrete or mortar (water, cement, and sand).


Mortar is nothing more than a mixture of inorganic binders, fine aggregates and water, and some additives that allow joining construction elements such as bricks, stones, concrete blocks, among others.

It is also used to fill the spaces between the blocks and to cover walls. The most common binders are cement, cement-glue, gypsum, and lime, although, in the past lime, earth and gypsum were used. Depending on the variations in the mixture, its mechanical properties and workability vary.

Plaster mortar: Has a fast setting, but is not resistant. It cannot be used to join bricks or plasters, but it is used to fix elements that will not support loads.

Lime mortar: It is used for interior and exterior walls. It is very flexible, but it is not waterproof like cement. It dries very slowly, but the finish is good.

Cement mortar: It is very resistant, but it can crack. It is used in load-bearing walls and partitions. It is unalterable and waterproof.

Glue mortar: A mixture of cement, additives, and coarse-grained aggregates is used. Some include resins to be used outdoors. It is used to join elements.

To prepare the mortar, the binder and sand are first joined together dry, then a hole is made in the center and water is added little by little and mixed until a flexible and plastic consistency is achieved. It should be left to rest for an hour before using it.


It is a binder that is made by joining calcined and ground limestone and clay. It has the property of hardening after being in contact with water. The grinding of calcined clay and limestone rocks is known as Clinker, gypsum is added to this mixture to avoid the contraction of the mixture when setting, that is when it becomes known as cement.

In ancient times clay, plaster, and lime mortars were used to join the rocks and masonry of buildings. Cement was used for the first time in Ancient Greece, where they used the volcanic tuffs extracted from the island of Santorini, these were natural cement.

By the 1st century BC, natural cement was used in Ancient Rome that has withstood immersion in seawater for millennia, something that current Portland cement has not achieved since it only resists 60 years under those conditions. The Roman cement came from the volcanic ash obtained in Pozzuoli, near Vesuvius.

There are two types of cement, some of the clay origin and others of pozzolanic origin (volcanic or organic). The clay ones contain one part clay and four parts limestone and the pozzolanic ones are destined for ecological construction works.

Cement is resistant to high temperatures and chemical substances.

Differences between mortar and cement

  • Cement is a binder that is made up of calcined and ground clay and limestone to which gypsum is added. It is a material used in the construction of buildings.
  • The cement can be clay or pozzolanic, which has a volcanic and organic origin.
  • Masonry mortar or cement is a product obtained by mixing sand, a binder such as cement, and water. It is used to join bricks, cover walls, or glue elements.
  • Cement is resistant to high temperatures and chemical substances, it is a very fast setting.
  • A mortar will have different properties depending on the binder used, be it plaster, lime, cement, cement-glue, or a mixture of these.

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