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Can you mix mortar and concrete? (Answered)

Can you mix mortar and concrete? (Answered)

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If you have a building project, it is essential to have a good understanding of some terms. Concrete and mortar will often be used during the project, and some people tend to confuse the two.

Concrete and mortar are used in building projects. Their composition and strength vary, so one should not try to interchange or make a substitute for the other. Depending on your building project needs, you can select a mortar or concrete mix for a stronger and more durable structure.

Most people can attest that the use of concrete and mortar go hand in hand. To get more insights about concrete and mortar, this article will cover their differences and also how each of them is used.

What is the difference between mortar and concrete?

Mortar and concrete are fundamental materials in construction works. They have similar properties, such as both containing Portland cement, water, and sand, and this can be confusing to some people. To have a better understanding of the distinctive characteristics of concrete and mortar, read on.


Both concrete and mortar feature the same ingredients, such as water, cement, and sand. Concrete, however, has an additional element that is aggregate which can be fine or coarse. This makes the concrete mix suitable for structural applications. Mortar mix, on the other hand, is suitable for bonding bricks.


Concrete is a mix of cement, sand, and water and also features other materials like gravel/ rock chippings making it strong and durable. Mortar, on the other hand, is composed of water, sand, and cement, thus not strong enough to be used as a sole building material. When concrete is cured, it is very strong, and that’s why it is a preferred choice in the construction of buildings, dams, and bridges, to mention a few.

Water-to-cement ratio

Mortar has a very high water to cement ratio, making a dough-like substance that acts as a bonding agent. On the other hand, concrete is thin, but once it has dried, it is very strong and durable.

Despite the project that you are undertaking, you will need either concrete or mortar for a durable structure.

What are the uses of mortar?

Mortar is a crucial element in the construction industry. Mortar acts as a binding agent to hold bricks, concrete blocks, stone, and other masonry materials in a strong bond. Mortar is significant in construction for masonry works, plastering, and pointing.

Below are some of the major roles of mortar in construction works.

  • Acts as a bonding agent while layering bricks.
  • Provides maximum strength to the structure.
  • It helps in filling up gaps in bricks.
  • Act as a medium for uniformly distributing the forces through the structure.

A good quality mortar has the following characteristics:

  • It should be easy to work with-when mortar that is fresh; it should spread easily with a trowel.
  • High-quality mortar should have incredible water retention- if water is lost, then the quality of the motor will be greatly reduced.

What is concrete used for?

Concrete is a very popular building material worldwide. It is a vital building material that is used in construction works such as residential and commercial buildings, dams, bridges, and sewer lines, to name a few. Its strength, durability, and resistance to weather factors make it the most preferred building material.

If you have a building project underway or are interested in learning more about concrete, these are some of the significant uses of concrete.

Structural applications

Concrete is the most fundamental building material in construction works. Whether it is residential/ commercial buildings, concrete reinforces the structure making it strong and durable.


You are likely to see concrete driveways in our neighborhood as most people will go for concrete rather than asphalt, which usually wears out with time.


Whether it is a high rise or low rise, building a strong and durable foundation is necessary. Concrete offers maximum carrying capacity for such buildings, and its lifespan is impressive.

Concrete Bridges

Due to their durability, strength, and weather resistance, concrete bridges are the best alternatives. Different types of concretes, such as pre-stressed, post-stressed, and self-compacted concrete, are vital in the construction of bridges.

Underground sewer lines

Concrete, once cast and cured, doesn’t require so much maintenance. Its non-decaying material will be very effective in underground sewer lines and also durable.

Final Thoughts

Can you mix mortar and concrete?

As cement and mortar are different in composition and strength, you should not use one as a substitute for the other. To build a more robust and durable structure, you can choose between a mortar or concrete mix.

Read More: Does A Concrete Slab Need Footings? (Answered)

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