Mortar mix is important in laying a foundation or building a structure made of stone. Mortar acts as a binding agent that seals bricks and stones together. It is made from sand, water and cement in varying mixtures and amounts. Mortar acts like glue and has been a standard in stone a brickwork used by builders for centuries.
Creating a Mortar Mix
Creating the best mortar mix involves knowing the proper mix of ingredients. Standard mortar mixes use a combination of cement in proportion to sand and lime. Water seals the mix and the ingredients are poured into a cement mixer, which can be rented. When complete, the resulting mortar mix should have the consistency of smooth peanut butter.
Mixing a Large Mortar Mix Batch
Mixing up a large batch of mortar requires the use of a cement mixer. Turn the cement mixer on. You need to pour in about 2/3rds the water required for the type of mix that you are using. Sand is added to the water inside the mixer, turning at about medium speed. The sand should have a low concentration of clay in order to make the best mortar mix.
As the sand and water mix together, add cement and the remaining sand and water with lime. The mixer should continue spinning at a medium speed for about five minutes. Again, the desired consistency for the mortar should be smooth peanut butter.
Mixing a Small Mortar Mix Batch
If you need a smaller mix of mortar and do not have access to a cement mixer, use a wheel barrel and hoe. Pour sand into the wheel barrel and with the hoe, create holes or divots in the sand. Fill the divots with cement and lime and then add water, using the hoe to stir the mixture together. Keep working the mixture together until the peanut butter consistency is reached.
You can test the consistency of the mortar mix by seeing if stands on its own. You can use the hoe to grab some of the mortar mix and suspend it over the wheel barrel – if it runs back into the wheel barrel, it needs more sand; if not it should be at the required consistency to be able to use. Keep a record of the process used to mix the mortar so that you can repeat the process each time you mix a batch.
A home improvement store or builder’s center has dyes that can be added to change the tint of the mortar. This could be useful in indoor projects where you are matching some design element. The dyes should be added to the cement while it is dry and mixed in before adding the other elements of the mortar mixture.
Once you have created that perfect batch and have recorded the ingredients and process you should be able to always repeat the process. Keep dry ingredients like sand covered under a tarp in order to have it ready for use when needed.