Cconcrete setting postsoncrete and mortar are both used in building projects but there are some differences in their composition and therefore their strength which means they should not be interchanged and one should not be used as a substitute for the other. Basically concrete is stronger and more durable so it can be used for structural projects such as setting posts whereas mortar is used as a bonding agent for bricks, stones, etc.

Concrete is a mixture of water, cement, sand just like mortar. However concrete also has gravel and other coarse aggregates that makes it stronger and more durable. Concrete has a low water-to-cement ratio and is a thinner consistency than mortar. Concrete is often reinforced with steel when used a structural support of a building. However concrete can also be supported by the ground such as steps, sidewalks, concrete, appliance pads. It is ideal for setting posts such as fence posts, mailbox posts, basketball posts, deck posts, lamp posts, and swing sets.

One of the concretes we sell is the Quikrete Fast Setting Concrete Mix. It is a special blend of fast-setting cements, sand, and gravel designed to set hard is approximately 20 to 40 minutes. It allows you to set posts without mixing- just pour dry mix into hole and soak. The strength of this particular concrete is 4000 PSI (pounds per square inch) at 28 days.

mortar mix bricksMortar, which is a mixture of water, cement, and sand, has a higher water-to cement ratio than concrete. It has a thicker consistency which makes it a great adhesive and bonding agent for bricks and tiles. Mortar mix can be used for construction and repair of brick, block, and stone for barbecues, pillars, walls, tuck-pointing mortar joints, and planters.

We sell Quikrete Mortar Mix which is a blend of masonry cement and graded sand. You simply add water. The strength of this particular mortar is 750 PSI (pounds per square inch) at 28 days.


See our Concrete Product Brochure here. For information on your specific project, please see our Paint or Hardware department.

72 Comments » for Knowing The Difference Between Mortar & Concrete – Which Do You Need For Your Project?
  1. Sean Dooher says:

    If I add sand to my Quikrete will it make it weaker I am building a deck and using Quikrete for my footings and my concrete Piers which are approximately 2 feet high I wanted to put sand in to reduce the cost of concrete

  2. Gary says:

    I’m thinking of adding glass to the concrete for a certain sidewalk look .
    What do you think?

    • Weaver's Hardware says:

      How exactly do you plan on using the glass? Are you laying concrete and then placing glass pieces in the laid concrete for decorative look? Or are you mixing glass into the concrete for a shiny/speckled finished look? Depending on the method we may have some different tips. If you want to talk directly with one of our experts we can certainly set that up. Thanks for the great question.

  3. Jim says:

    Can quikcrete be premixed and poured, or will it dry too fast? – Can I mix, then pour it inside a basketball pole?

  4. Jerome E Puttler says:

    I wish I had seen this stuff before. I rebuilt part of a soil retaining wall, (originally; stone, brick and mortar) wall that had collapsed. The rest of the wall I had repaired with Spec mix S, but did not get to the part that collapsed, in time. 😉 Anyhow, I used the same Spec Mix S, for the base as I did in building the rest and the previous repair. I did dig a trench about 8-10 inches deep and 10 inches wide, and filled it at about a 45 degree angle with the Spec Mix mortar.

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      The Spec Mix S is for masonry and retaining walls so you used the right product and filled it correctly. You should be good to go but let us know if you have any other questions.

  5. David says:

    I am building a wall with Gabion baskets and rock the concern is during a severe storm the waves come up high enough to hit the wall and water will go through and get behind causing mud which can wash out and water that stays in the wall will freeze and cause problems so I am considering pouring enough cement into the baskets to fill the voids and stop the water would cement or mortar be the best do you have any thoughts

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      We have seen customers use high strength masonry cement for similar projects. However, this is not our specific area of expertise. Thanks for the question.

  6. Red says:

    Can I use Quickcrete hydraulic waterstop cement on my outside foundation wall to repair some crumbling and cracking below the corner of the basement window? want something that bonds well and that will fill it nicely. Dont want bugs or moisture getting in. Old water problem has been solved, just need something to fix the old damage. Will this work or do you reccommend something else?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      Hydraulic waterstop sets fast and is water proof. It’s a good crack or hole sealer. This will make a permanent patch. It can be used on interior or exterior masonry walls. So this should work for you.

  7. Steve Gaddie says:

    Can i mix type n masonary cement with the quickrete and pour a 3ft x3ft 3in thick slab for three steps into my garage

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      You shouldn’t have to mix the two types for a slab. Type N is basically for walls and chimneys and the quickrete is for slabs. So you can just use the quickrete and according to the concrete calculator it would take about 2- 60 lb bags.

  8. jane says:

    can I use ready mixed concrete patch by DAP to reapply outside tiles on a porch

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      The mixed concrete patch by DAP is primarily used to patch small cracks and breaks, or spot level concrete and masonry surfaces such as basement walls, patios, steps, sidewalks and driveways. It dries to a durable, hard finish and is non-shrinking. For your project, it is recommended to use a polymer-modified, dry-set mortar adhesive like Simple Set Pre-Mixed Thin Set Mortar.

  9. Good morning, I m planning on using the quickcrete for a project but from all that I have seen, I havent seen a stone or gravel in the mix. So, I as confused cause I want concrete not mortar. Can you explain pls and help me decide what to buy. I thought concrete should have visible coarse aggregates. But can’t see in the quickrete. Thanks.

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      The concrete mix does have a gravel mix in it. You may not see it, but it’s in there so that is the one that you should probably use.

  10. Mary says:

    I am laying just 1row of breeze blocks can I use ready mix fence concrete. There are on 5 breeze blocks.

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      Yes- you should be good using the Ready Mix Fence Concrete. This is fairly fast setting so put your blocks in place and set them.

  11. Marc g says:

    Can I use mortar mix to level a corner of sidewalk cement, and do I need a bonding cement to apply mortar over existing cemen? Thanks for your help

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      You would be better to use a vinyl concrete patcher if it is not too thick. The mortar would be a second choice. We would recommend using a bonding cement with it.

      • kyle says:

        hey my name is kyle and i need to know if i can put cement on gravel for my basketball hoop so is that possible.

        • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

          Frame with 2x4s and fill to the top for a 3-4″ slab. The concrete is then usually poured on the gravel.

  12. Tony Dietz says:

    I would like to build outdoor concrete coutertops. Which brand of mix will work best for Wisconsin weather? Quickrete Counter mix or Rapid Set Motar Mix? Do I need rebar for the Rapid Set? Slabs will be 8’× 24″, 6’×24″ and 6’× 36″.
    Thank you.

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      Thank you for reaching out to us. Unfortunately we are an Ace Hardware store in Berks County Pennsylvania so we can only recommend based our local area. If you have a local Ace Hardware store, maybe you can call or email them and they would be more then happy to help answer your concrete questions. Thanks again.

  13. Jonnie says:

    What can I use to bond a concrete pier to concrete patio so I can put 4×4 post up? Mortar?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      We need more information so we can answer your question correctly. So you may contact one of our stores directly by calling. Fleetwood (610) 944-7681 Douglassville (610) 385-4600 Sinking Spring (484) 878-2570
      Thank you.

  14. Michael Davis says:

    I am going to use it for basically a small area to extend my boys basketball playing area, which product should I buy

  15. DIY says:

    Hi. I want to do some DIY projects like planters, coasters, candle holders, maybe some small tables. What would be the best mix?

  16. Rex says:

    I have a mud bed covered with a membrane for a shower pan I’m building. But I am concerned the mud bed won’t be durable enough for the final finish layer. I am not going to tile the floor. I want a finished concrete or mortar floor. What would be the best and strongest/most durable product for the final layer?

  17. Viktor says:

    Im in the process of creating stepping stones, however ive seen people use both mortar and concrete. Im confused as to which to use. Are they both ok to use for this task. I would like something solid, that would last for a very long time. What would you recommend?

  18. Mary Smith says:

    Hi, I’m building a new building with precast stone what is better for me to use mortar or sealant?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      Mortar is most likely best but we recommend consulting with contractor or builder first to confirm.

  19. Mike Heavers says:

    I set a fence post without pre mixing regular concrete mix. Just pouring water over it like you would with fast setting concrete. Will this hold?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      It should hold but you won’t know if a problem occurs. For example it could be solid at top but lower portion may be drier and brittle. So premixing is the best method.

  20. Diane says:

    If I sprinkle a dry cement mix on my gravel driveway, then wet it, will it help my gravel from washing down?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      We don’t recommend using the cement mix for this. We’ve heard scenarios from customers where this did work for a few years and then we’ve heard other scenarios where it didn’t work at all because it just breaks up when you drive over it or it doesn’t solidify at all.

  21. Steven S says:

    I’m need to repair the mortar between cinder blocks in the wall in my basement. I saw the comment about hydraulic cement being waterproof. What is the correct application in this case?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      If there is a leak where water is coming through, hydraulic water-stop cement is best. However if you’re just repairing joints between cinder block, mortar mix will work well.

  22. Ryan says:

    I am looking into a water holding tank for a reserve tank for our water well.
    Have been debating on a plastic tank but am cautious because the warranties and it would be in an area of our finished basement. So I thought of possibly constructing a reservoir from cement.
    What would you recommend to make one?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      You can certainly use concrete to make a water tank. That’s a more advanced project than the standard DIY projects we help with so you should consult a professional builder/contractor.

  23. Andy says:

    I am repairing the exterior of my 100 year old foundation. The foundation is basically rubble with some mortar thrown in and rocks are falling out as I excavate. The area that needs the most work is below grade. Would you recommend mortar and trying to replace the loose rocks or filling the voids with concrete?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      Mortar should be sufficient. Repairing the mortar will restore the structural integrity and improve the appearance also.

  24. Mike says:

    Looking to make an outdoor table… can I use the mortar mix for the surface? If so, do I need to use any metal remesh for support? Also, do you have any recommendations for a food-grade finish/sealant for the table?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      Concrete mix would be best. If tabletop is 1″ thick or less, no need for reinforcement. If thicker than that, you’ll need to use wire mesh or hardware cloth for reinforcement. There’s a product called Eco Advance Concrete Waterproofer.

  25. Linda D says:

    We installed formed pavers using a molded pattern. I would like to pour a dry mixture of something between the pavers (sweep into the cracks) and then gently add water over to create a barrier to prevent grass and weeds from growing between the pavers. What type of mix should I use for this project?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      Quikrete Mortar Mix can be applied dry to the hardened concrete to fill in the joints. Brush or sweep the dry mix into the joints and then water.

  26. Tom K says:

    I am rehanging a gate to a concrete wall. The previous holes have enlarged so that just a new anchor is not an option. I plan to fill the holes and drill new ones. Is quickcrete an adequate product for this? How long should I let it set before drilling?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      A Portland Cement would work well because this is specifically formulated for high strength repairs. It should set in 24 – 48 hours.

  27. Patty says:

    How to reattach a piece of veneer stone that has fallen off a concrete foundation wall.

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      Apply about 1/2″ layer of mortar to the back of the stone and spread with a flat trowel to cover the entire back. Once you’ve pushed stone back into place, grout it and allow time to harden a bit but them smooth and scrape away excess.

  28. Larae Jalbert says:

    I need to fill small acorn holes inmy driveway can I use quikrit sand morter. Nt dad used it to clean up stains but the pits getting bad.

  29. Wayne McGinnis says:

    I need to replace a concrete walk that’s approx 9 ft. X 4 ft.
    I want it 4″ thick. From what I’m reading, I’m thinking Quikrete.
    (About 45 bags of it). I’m using a portable mixer to mix the water with it.

    I’m new to this and I want to DYI.

    Set me straight. What am I up against?

  30. Joe Palladini says:

    I am laying veneer stone blocks 19×20 on top of a glass fireplace hearth. Which mix should I use?

  31. Darlene says:

    Hello folks, I am making stepping stones to use as my walkway. Please advise me, do I use Quikrete Mortar Mix.
    Thank you!

  32. Paul Dickinson says:

    I have to repoint a three season stone fireplace which is located in the north where it can reach -35°F in the winter. Repairs are of two types. The face of the fireplace and inside the firebox.
    1. Is there a concern for cracking the mortar in extreme cold, considering that water is used in the cement? I’m thinking that fresh mortar could stay damp for a long time into the cold season.
    2. What is the best mortar mix to use? I have been heard of refractory cement for high temperature jobs.
    3. Would two different mixes be advised?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      In our area of Pennsylvania, we don’t see temperatures that low so we don’t have experience with working with mortar in those temperatures. Quikrete does have a website that offers live chat so they might be able to better answer your questions. Thank you for reaching out.

  33. Lucas Raines says:

    Hi guys im trying to repair some holes and some exterior spalling of my concrete foundation. I’ve previously read somewhere that cement and mortar mix do not mix but i would prefer to use the mortar mix that i already have. Would this be ok?

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      Mortar should be sufficient. Repairing the mortar will restore the structural integrity and improve the appearance also.

  34. Daniel says:

    Hi. I accidentlly mixed a mortar bag with concrete together for a fence post. I bought concrete for the posts but had a mortar bag that I misplaced in the pile. Will the post be secure enough and what about the future possibly structural probless? Thanks.

    • Weaver's Ace Hardware says:

      You should be ok. Mortar has lower PSI than concrete but 1 bag should not make a huge difference; however, it is best to consult a building professional to be sure.

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