What is the difference between mortar mix and concrete mix?

Concrete and mortar are ubiquitous materials in construction, but with different purposes. Both contain portland cement, water and aggregate, but the mixes for each reflect the desired characteristics.


Mortar is a blend of cement, fine sand, and lime. Mortar is used to bond masonry units together. It doesn’t need the strength of concrete; however, it needs good bonding characteristics. Mortars with a high water-cement ratio bond best. This is the opposite of concrete, where concrete mix is formulated for strength and lower water content makes it stronger and more effective for its purpose. Additives or plasticizers may be added to mortar mixes to increase their flexibility.


Concrete is a product composed of cement, sand gravel, or other coarse aggregate. When water is mixed in with this product, it activates the cement, which is the element responsible for binding the mix together to form one solid object. There are many different types of concrete, but they can be broadly classified into two categories: plain concrete and structural concrete.

Plain concrete is any structure supported by the ground, such as walkways, driveways, slabs, and spread footings to support masonry walls. Plain concrete is often reinforced with steel to increase its tensile strength against temperature fluctuations that threaten its structural integrity. Structural concrete is any structural piece made of concrete that has points of support and requires the capacity to hold loads, such as concrete beams, suspended concrete slabs, or concrete pilings.


Mortar is used for a variety of applications, including:

  • – Bonding bricks, stones, and other masonry units together
  • – Filling gaps between masonry units
  • – Pointing
  • – Grouting

Concrete is used for a variety of applications, including:

  • – Creating foundations
  • – Building walls
  • – Making sidewalks and driveways
  • – Pouring slabs
  • – Creating structural elements

How to choose mortar or concrete for your project

The best way to choose the right mortar or concrete for your project is to consider the following factors:

  • – The type of masonry units you are using
  • – The load the mortar or concrete will be supporting
  • – The climate you live in
  • – Your budget

Ready to order Amerimix pre-blended product for your next job? Contact your local sales rep.

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