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Difference between cement, plaster and mortar properties

  • Common: raw materials
  • difference
    • What is cement "> What is mortar?
    • What is plaster?

On construction sites and even in the home, numerous materials are used, some of which look confusingly similar. Cement, plaster and mortar are always to be found, which are similar because of their color. Nevertheless, these building materials are used for completely different tasks and therefore need to be compared so as not to use the wrong material for the construction project.

Plaster, mortar and cement are basic building materials and are needed for large-scale projects such as apartment buildings, but also for simple walls in private gardens. They are on the construction site of the gray materials that can hardly be distinguished by their color and consistency, but in the use and properties. Although the three fabrics are so similar, they are used for completely different tasks and for this reason it is important that you can distinguish them. So you do not run the risk to use the wrong building material and thereby endanger the completion of the project.

Common: raw materials

Despite their different characteristics, the three building materials consist for the most part of the same raw materials:

  • limestone
  • sand
  • volume

That is also the reason why they look so similar in terms of color and at first glance are difficult or even impossible to distinguish. Additives, which make the building material usable for the respective purpose of use, such as liquefiers or dyes, are then added to the individual substances. The building materials are closely related, but it is the additives that determine the final use. All of these building materials are mostly offered in dry form and mixed with water or special solutions.


What is cement?

Cement is one of the most important building materials, which was already known to the Romans in a slightly different form and was called "Opus caementicium". Basically, the "quarrystone", from the Latin caementicium, is a binder for construction projects, which is an essential substance of the following end products;

  • cement mortar
  • concrete

It is generally a mineral building material consisting mainly of lime and clay. These two raw materials are enriched together with quartz sand and iron ore and ground together, which is the basic form of the cement. Subsequently, this mixture is fired at a temperature between 1, 400 and 1, 500 ° C and there are the so-called cement clinker, small beads of the mineral substances of the cement. These balls are quite hard and can be mixed well with other substances, which then determine the type of cement:

  • granulated blast furnace slag
  • fly ash
  • plaster
  • limestone
  • further inorganic additives
  • other natural additives

If these substances are administered to the previous mixture, the product cement arises, which is essential in today's industrial house construction and even for own projects in the house and garden. In order to use the cement mixture, it is mixed with water in an appropriate ratio, the cement paste results. Alone cement is not actually used, even if the building material is hard as stone, yet not resistant and is therefore mixed with other materials to a weather-resistant or purpose-related end product:

  • Concrete: sand, gravel and water
  • Mortar: water and sand

Due to the lightly binding properties of the cement, it can easily be used with other rocks and can therefore be used as a binder. An important division is still found in the cement, because the raw materials used also define the type of cement:

1. Portland Cement Portland cement is the classic of today's cement, which was patented in 1824 by the British Joseph Aspdin and named after the limestone island of Isle of Portland, which is reminiscent of the typical gray cement. This consists of 90 percent Portland clinker, which consists of the substances described above and is the most common basis for concrete and mortar. Its favorable production and ease of use make Portland cement an unmistakable material.

2. Trass cement: Trass cement is a special building material that consists not only of lime and clay, but also of a maximum of 35 percent trass. Trass is a rock of volcanic origin, which gives the trass cement its unique properties. This hardened volcanic ash, along with the other raw materials, enables a cement that has the following properties:

  • elastic
  • weatherproof
  • extremely resistant
  • protects against efflorescence
  • not prone to staining

Trass cement is not commonly used for the construction of modern high-rise buildings or similar, but for monuments and the use of natural stones.

Tip: Efflorescence describes a state in which salts in the form of crystals or powder are released from the surface of the structure. The stronger these efflorescence, the more these salts become crusted and can severely damage the masonry.

What is mortar ">
  • buttress
  • vaulted ceilings
  • reinforced walls

As such, the cement mortar is primarily used for construction projects that have to withstand high loads and this is perfectly suited to this. For exterior use, the cement mortar is always recommended.

2. Lime mortar: Lime mortar is a mixture of a cement , six parts of sand and one part of lime (hydrated lime) and is due to the given moisture regulation as interior plaster use. He is easier to use than other mortars, but he holds only very little pressure and therefore not suitable for any masonry. Also, the water density is not that high.

3. Lime cement mortar: Lime cement mortar is the classic construction mortar covering most of the walls and is made of cement, lime and six parts of sand. It is characterized by easy processing and, thanks to the quicklime, mortar resistance is higher.

In addition to these typical types of mortar, there are other types that are dependent on their respective additives, which also define the use:

  • Thin-bed mortar
  • tile mortar
  • Schamottmörtel
  • plaster

This makes the use of mortar so effective, since there is a suitable type for each application.

What is plaster ">

Putz is therefore essential to protect the building, while cement and mortar types ensure a stable construction. But plaster is not the same as plaster, as already indicated above. The different types of plaster are subdivided into the respective binder, which is already included in the name and, depending on the manufacturer and purpose, is contained in different proportions:

  • Gypsum plaster: suitable for dry interiors such as living rooms or corridors, is often used as a background for wallpaper
  • Lime plaster: A classic for humid interiors such as bathrooms or cellars, works effectively in older buildings
  • Synthetic resin plaster : Top coat with high resistance, can be used as a decorative plaster and applied lightly with a paint roller
  • Lime cement plaster: exterior plaster, common for all forms of facades
  • Cement plaster: Exterior plaster, used primarily for the base area
  • Clay plaster: one of the oldest plaster forms, especially suitable for walls and ceilings, often used as a colored decorative plaster

Tip: There are also unique brush types such as scratch and mosaic plaster, which are specially processed and thus create an artistic surface.

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