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The differences between concrete and mortar, and which is best for structural repairs

At CCUK, we specialise in concrete repairs and strengthening & rehabilitation of structures and buildings (many of which are made from concrete). And so, it will come as no surprise that we are big advocates of using specialist concrete solutions – such as hand-applied, poured, and sprayed – to complete our large commercial projects, rather than using plain concrete. Because although they are mixed with similar ingredients, they serve very different purposes. Let’s look at the applications of both… you’ll see why we offer concrete repairs over mortar!

What are the applications of concrete?

Concrete is made up of three ingredients – water, aggregate (such as sand, gravel, or rock), and cement. You’ll find concrete in the toolkit of any specialist construction worker – largely because concrete is capable of doing tonnes of heavy-duty repairs and rehabilitation tasks, and it does them well. What’s more, concrete is cheap, durable, and most importantly – extremely strong.
Some of the applications of concrete include:
1) Concrete slabs new;
2) Concrete beams new;
3) New buildings, bridges and car parks
4) And much more.

What are the applications of specialist mortars?

Mortar is also made up of three basic ingredients – cement, fine sand, and lime. The common denominator between concrete and mortar is cement, which is what gives both products their binding, glue-like properties.
Some of the applications of mortar include:
1) The build & repair of concrete slabs;
2) The build & repair of concrete walls;
3) The build & repair of many concrete structures;
4) And much more.

Note the difference, repairs over new. Repairs generally have to be done in a very short timescale and the repairs need to be very strong and adhere to the existing traditional concrete. Specialist mortars give you that option with chemical modifications of specialist mortars allow repairs to be carefully selected and repaired to satisfactory specification extremely quickly, but please ask a specialist to assist. With the selection, they’re not all the same.

So, what’s the difference between concrete and mortars?

Concrete is strong and durable and is often used for repairs on large structures like buildings and bridges but it’s very wet, it slumps, shrinks and can take at least 28 days to set, concrete repair projects do not need these disadvantages.

Whereas specialist mortars, however, are commonly used to repair walls, floors, and smaller features of a building or structure which require a similar strength. Though it’s not as cheap as concrete, they are extremely quick to install in comparison, they cure and adhere very quickly which is great for overhead applications and can survive high temperatures without slump, shrinkage or cracking.

As aforementioned, both concrete and mortars do contain cement. Here’s a great infographic that details the different types of cement and their uses.

Our specialist concrete repairs

At CCUK, we offer specialist concrete repairs and structural rehabilitation services. Some of our previous projects include sewage works, ports, pumping stations, and piers – and we’ve helped to reconstruct large vital elements of their structures by using concrete repair techniques. Read more about our concrete repair division here. If you require mortar jobs or repairs, however – we may be able to recommend a specialist tradesperson to you that we know and trust.

Entrust a concrete repairs specialist today

If you’re in charge of booking repairs jobs, we always recommend asking the advice of a qualified concrete repairs contractor beforehand.

At CCUK, we’re always happy to give quotes and no-obligation advice: CONTACT US