DIY projects are very fulfilling because it gives you a sense of accomplishment. It also gives you the opportunity to control your expenses and complete a project according to your excellent standards. That is if you have excellent standards and not merely being stingy about expenses. Probably one of the hardest tasks to begin work is mixing mortar for blocks. If you have blocks that need to be joined together, chances are you should have ample understanding on how to mix industrial-strength mortar. Here’s a load of information that will help you get this done.
- Acquaint yourself with the tools that you need. Before you begin mixing mortar you have to acquaint yourself with the materials needed to complete the job.
- The mixer is your primary tool. That’s a dome-shaped solid tool that you can operate mechanically. Make sure that before you begin mixing cement and everything that go into forming a mortar, the mixer has been tested and properly greased. You don’t want delays because your machine is not running smoothly.
- The rest of the tools will consist of a shovel with a sturdy handle, a hoe for further mixing, a mud box to contain the mixed mortar, and mud boards to hold the mortar during the building phase. It is up to you if you want the complete set of items during the mixing session. If you are low in budget then you can consult expert masons about proper replacement or alternative tools.
- You will also need a bucket full of water.
- Purchase the correct mortar base. Mortar exists in different consistencies due to the variation of cement strength applied. Type N is commonly used for brick construction. Type M is typically present during low-grade construction. Type S is usually utilized for above- grade block construction but it can also be part of brick construction.
- Know where to go and how much to acquire. After you’ve been introduced to the different types of mortar base, your next stop would be a local store. Be sure to stick to what is required strength-wise to achieve the result that you expect once your project is done. To guide you on the ratio that is generally accepted for quality mortar mix, sand and cement ratio should be approximately 3:1.
- Keep a close eye on consistency while the mixer is running. Don’t stand so close to the mixer while you are trying to figure this out, all right? During the mixing process, each batch of mortar should be mixed in the same way so pay attention to the control setting on the mixer as you continue with the other batches for mixing. You will have major headache with construction problems if you don’t follow this rule. You can either go with single or multiple containers for mixing for as long the ratio is followed.
- Start the mixer. After mixing sand and cement, you are now ready to fire up the mixer. For proper mortar consistency, you have to keenly observe the workability of the material as you slowly add water. Set the mixer to its lowest operational setting while you are adding water. The bonding capability of the mortar will depend on the thick consistency of the finished product. Mortar that is too wet or liquid result into weak construction performance while mortar that is too dry won’t give you the bonding capacity you need. The consistency that you are looking for can be compared to soft mud. When you achieve this, your mortar will stick like glue to your blocks.
- Get a couple of finished blocks for testing. Get two to four blocks that you will use and test the strength of your mortar by applying the mortar in between the blocks for bonding. You will know you were able to mix quality mortar when the blocks adhere to each other without any cracks forming. You can now proceed with the rest of your work.
If you fail despite following these steps, try again until you get the hang of this project. Remember that mixing mortar should be taken seriously as it will contribute to the strength and durability of the structure. If the mortar makes a structure weak, it will be a civil and criminal lawsuit waiting to happen. Make sure you pay attention to each detail and stick to it like glue for best results!