Concrete vs Terracotta: Which is better in Minecraft?

All the concrete and terracotta variants (Image via Minecraft)
All the concrete and terracotta variants (Image via Minecraft)

Terracotta and concrete are two building blocks that are as useful as they are colorful. Added in version 1.6.1 and 1.12, respectively, they have been in Minecraft for years now. Players who do not aim to create colorful or vibrant bases might not be overly familiar with the blocks, other than knowing that they exist in general.

So which of the two is the more useful block, or are they both useful depending on the situation? Is there a particular ease of access or difficulty in acquisition that makes one much more abundant than the other? Here are the answers.


Terracotta and concrete: Is there a better Minecraft block, and if so, which is it?

Terracotta

The sixteen colors of terracotta (Image via Minecraft)
The sixteen colors of terracotta (Image via Minecraft)

Terracotta is a block that the player can acquire in one of two ways. The simpler way is to just put clay blocks into a furnace with any fuel source. This will result in one undyed terracotta per clay block smelted.

Players can also seek out a badlands biome. These naturally occurring environments are almost entirely made up of terracotta blocks of red, yellow, brown, white, light gray, and uncolored variants. Different colors of terracotta can also be found naturally generating in different biomes of villages, mostly centered around the mason’s house.

Once the terracotta block is dyed, it cannot be un-dyed or re-dyed. Dyeing terracotta can be done by surrounding one dye with eight terracotta, resulting in eight dyed terracotta.


Concrete

The sixteen colors of concrete (Image via Minecraft)
The sixteen colors of concrete (Image via Minecraft)

Concrete is made by combining concrete powder with water. Concrete powder is crafted by combining any color of dye with four sand and four gravel. This results in eight of the associated color concrete powder. This powder can be mined with any tool or by hand. However, using a shovel is the fastest method.

Concrete powder is hardened into concrete by placing the blocks into water. If the powder falls into a deep pool of water, it will harden on the surface of the pool as soon as contact is made.

Rain or splash water bottles will not turn powder into concrete. Even concrete powder thrown onto the ground in item form cannot be turned into concrete.


The similarities

A direct color comparison between terracotta and concrete (Image via Minecraft)
A direct color comparison between terracotta and concrete (Image via Minecraft)

Both blocks come in 16 colors of dye that most Minecraft players will be familiar with. These 16 colors are:

  • White (bone meal)
  • Orange
  • Magenta
  • Light Blue
  • Yellow
  • Lime
  • Pink
  • Gray
  • Light Gray
  • Cyan
  • Purple
  • Blue (lapis lazuli)
  • Brown (cocoa beans)
  • Green
  • Red
  • Black (ink sac)

The items in parenthesis represent the Bedrock Edition equivalent to the Java Edition's dye color.

The last major similarity between the two blocks is that both normal concrete and terracotta are mined with pickaxes. This is different from concrete powder and terracotta, which use a shovel and pickaxe respectively.


The differences

The badlands biome made up of natural terracotta (Image via Minecraft)
The badlands biome made up of natural terracotta (Image via Minecraft)

The largest aesthetic difference between normal terracotta and concrete is that terracotta colors are much duller and earthen than their concrete counterparts.

Another large difference between the two blocks is that terracotta can be found naturally generated throughout the world. The only way for a player to access concrete is to craft concrete powders with sand and gravel and then harden the powder in water.

Terracotta blocks can also be further converted into glazed terracotta by smelting them in a furnace. This is another huge difference between terracotta and concrete. These glazed terracotta textures are quite unique in the game and will be amazing for a player and their build.


Is one better than the other?

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Given that both block types primarily feature the same color pallet, being the 16 Minecraft dyes, they can be used in very similar situations and builds. However, the more muted color of the terracotta blocks make them better for more earthen builds.

At the end of the day, which block is better for a player is going to depend on what vibrance of color they need, and their ease of access to sand, gravel, dyes, and raw terracotta.

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Edited by Danyal Arabi
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