Today, almost all structures across the world, whether it’s your home or a skyscraper, are made of concrete. The predecessor of concrete and cement is mortar. A basic part of masonry works, mortar is usually used to bind blocks, stones or bricks, from pieces into a solid wall. All mortar is made of lime, cement, water, and sand.
The following guide will help you prepare your own mortar mixture for basic home building and repair projects, such as repairing a part of a stone or brick wall or patching holes in the pavement.
- Purchasing mortar mixes. Many construction supply outlets, lumber yards, or hardware stores sell prepared mortar mixes, packed in bags of varying sizes, and in several types, depending on what is needed for a particular application. Should you not be sure about what kind of mortar mix you need, you can ask a sales clerk to help you out and may give you recommended mortar mixes.
- Because their ingredients differ in quantity, there are two types of mortar mixes available: Type-S mortar is lower-grade, meaning it is good for projects where strength is not necessary or to be used in smaller quantities; Type-N mortar is higher-grade, as it is rated for strength, endurance and quality, for use in both indoor and outdoor projects.
- Preparation. It is highly recommended that you must read the instructions on the mortar mix packaging, to make sure you get the correct mixture when preparing the mortar. This includes the amount of water, which must match to the ratio between the mortar and water.
- Depending on the project size and application, you may adjust the amount of sand as instructed. Furthermore the sand must be of good quality, with no clay or other contaminants. Before mixing, you will need a simple iron or wood rod for stirring, and a hoe for making a divot while mixing. You will also need large buckets (steel or plastic): one to contain the amount of water as required by the mortar mix, and another to contain water, sand and mortar as they are combined. Should your project needs more mortar to be made, you may combine the mixture in a steel-lined wheelbarrow. Lay out a tarp on surfaces, should cleanliness is a concern and you do not want any spatter or accidental spillage while preparing the mortar.
- Mixing. Following instructions from the mortar mix packaging, the sand first must be poured into the bucket or wheelbarrow. Create a divot using a hoe, and then you then add in the mortar mix. Now create another divot using the hoe, pour in the water, also in part amounts, and then stir using a rod. Give yourself five minutes to combine the mortar, and then check for viscosity: if the mixture stands up well, it is ready to be used, but if it falls back you will have to add more dry materials to get the correct viscosity. If you plan to make more mixture batches and you want a uniform for all of them, to be sure to write down on paper the amount of each ingredient you added in the first mixture. Your mortar mix is ready to be used for your project. Once finished, always use a tarp or waterproof insulating blankets to cover the work, to speed up curing and to protect the work from unfavorable weather. Clean up your work area.
These instructions would help make sure that the mortar you use can stand up to the test of time and seasons.