Masonry Cement vs Portland Cement

Masonry Cement vs Portland Cement

If you are planning to build or renovate a masonry structure, such as a brick wall, a stone fireplace, or a concrete patio. In that case, you might wonder which type of cement to use for the mortar or the concrete mix.

Cement is a fine powder that acts as a binder when mixed with water and other materials. However, not all cements are the same.

There are two main types of cement that are commonly used in construction: Masonry cement and Portland cement.

In this article, I will compare and contrast two common types of cement: Masonry cement vs Portland cement.

Read More: Masonry Cement vs Mortar Cement

What is Masonry Cement?

Masonry cement is a type of blended cement specifically designed for masonry construction.

Masonry construction refers to the building of structures using individual units, such as bricks, blocks, stones, or tiles, that are bonded together with mortar.

Mortar is a mixture of cement, sand, and water that acts as a glue between the masonry units.

Portland cement and hydrated lime are blended together with other additives, such as air-entraining agents or plasticizers to make masonry cement.

Hydrated lime is a powdery substance that improves the workability and plasticity of the mortar.

Air-entraining agents are chemicals that create tiny air bubbles in the mortar, which increase its resistance to freezing and thawing cycles.

Plasticizers are substances that reduce the amount of water needed to make the mortar flowable.

Applying Masonary Cement

What is Portland Cement?

Portland cement is one of the most basic and versatile types of cement. In cementitious materials such as mortar, concrete, grout, and stucco, it is used as a binding agent.

Concrete is a mixture of cement, water, and aggregates that hardens into a strong and durable material.

Stucco is a type of plaster that covers exterior walls. Grout is a fluid mixture of cement, water, and sand that fills gaps between tiles or stones.

In a kiln, limestone, clay, and other raw materials are heated and ground into fine powder to manufacture Portland cement.

The powder contains four main compounds: calcium silicates, aluminates, ferrites, and gypsum.

These compounds react with water to form a hard substance called hydrated cement paste.

White Portland Cement

Masonry Cement vs Portland Cement Comparison Table

FeatureMasonry CementPortland Cement
CompositionPortland cement + hydrated lime + additivesPortland cement
StrengthLower compressive strength, higher bond strengthHigher compressive strength, lower bond strength
ColorWhite or grayVarious shades of gray
PurposeUsed for making mortar for masonry workUsed for making concrete for concrete work
WorkabilityMore workable and easier to handle than pure Portland cementLess workable and harder than masonry cement

How Do Masonry Cement and Portland Cement Differ?

Masonry cement and Portland cement have different properties and applications. Here are some of the main differences between them:


The compressive strength of masonry cement is lower than that of pure Portland cement, but the bond strength is higher.

Material’s compressive strength refers to its ability to resist pressure without breaking. Bond strength is the ability of a material to adhere to another material without separating.

Masonry cement can bond better to the masonry units and resist separation, but it can withstand lower loads without breaking.

Portland cement has higher compressive strength than masonry cement, but lower bond strength.

Portland cement can withstand higher loads without breaking, but it can bond less to the masonry units and be more prone to separation.


Masonry cement is more workable and easier to handle than Portland cement. Workability is the ease with which a material can be mixed, placed, shaped, and finished.

Masonry cement has better plasticity and adhesion properties, which make it suitable for masonry work.

Portland cement is more rigid and hard than masonry cement. Portland cement has greater strength and setting properties, which make it suitable for concrete work.


Masonry cement is more expensive than Portland cement. This is because masonry cement requires additional ingredients and processing steps to produce.

Portland cement is cheaper than masonry cement. This is because Portland cement uses simpler raw materials and manufacturing methods.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Masonry Cement Used For?

Masonry cement is used for making mortar, which is a paste that binds bricks, blocks, stones, and other masonry units together.

Masonry cement can also be used for making stucco, which is a coating material for exterior walls.

Why Is It Called Portland Cement?

Portland cement was named after the island of Portland, off the coast of England. It was first made in the 1800s by a mason named Joseph Aspdin.

He likened the color of the cement to the stone from the quarries on the island. Portland is a type of limestone that is widely used as a building material.

Is Portland Cement Stronger Than Masonry Cement?

While it’s true that Portland cement has a higher compressive strength than masonry cement, it has a lower bond strength.

This means that it can withstand greater loads without breaking, but it may not adhere as well to masonry units and could be more prone to separation.

On the other hand, masonry cement has a higher bond strength, which allows it to adhere better to masonry units and resist separation.

Can You Use Portland Cement for Masonry?

Yes, Portland cement can be used for masonry, but it is not recommended. Portland cement is more suitable for concrete work than for masonry work.

Using Portland cement for masonry can cause several problems, such as poor workability, poor adhesion and poor appearance.

Final Thoughts

Masonry cement and Portland cement are two different types of cement that have different compositions and purposes.

Masonry cement is more suitable for masonry work, while Portland cement is more suitable for concrete work.

 Choosing the right type of cement for your project can affect the performance, durability, and appearance of your final product.

Therefore, you should consider the factors mentioned above and consult with the experts before making your decision.

I hope this article about “Masonry cement vs Portland cement” helped you understand the differences between them and how to use them properly.

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