In the paper two advanced methods for testing cement based composites are described and compared. These are X-ray microtomography and optical microscopy. Microtomography supplies three-dimensional images of small concrete specimens. In the tomograms all cracks, pores and other voids and inclusions, that exceed a few micrometers, are shown. Such visualisation can become a valuable tool for analysis of the basic material properties. Images obtained on thin sections and analysed with various methods on optical microscopes supply additional information on material microstructure that cannot be obtained in tomograms. For example it is relatively easy to determine zone penetrated by CO2 ingress. These two methods, presented on examples of tests, complete each another in order to supply a set of information on composition and defects of tested composite materials.