What Is Mortar | How to Make Mortar | How to Mix Mortar | Uses of Mortar | Cement Mortar in Construction

What Is Mortar

What Is Mortar?

Mortar is an intimate mixture of inert cementing material, fine aggregates and water. It’s a workable paste which hardens to bind blocks such as brick, stone, concrete block, etc.

It’s mainly used for binding blocks and plastering the masonry surface. Mud, lime, cement or a combination of these three is used as cementing material. Sand is used as a fine aggregate in mortar.

There are different types of mortars in Civil Engineering. They are-

  • Cement Mortar
  • Lime Mortar
  • Mud Mortar
  • Special Mortar

How to Make Mortar

How to make mortar

At first, we need to measure the quantities of cement and sand. For the essential mix, we use 3 parts sand to 1 part cement.

The right amount of water is needed for mixing purpose. One bag mortar should be mixed with three gallons of water to maintain proper consistency. Proper use of sand and mortar. Fine sand is preferable for preparing the cement mortar.

We require to use lime as an additive material. Lime makes the interconnecting bond stronger. Lime is specifically used in high wind area. We need to remember that if we add lime in the mortar, it will set more quickly.

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How to Mix Mortar

There are two types of mixture exist in the civil engineering field. They are-

  • Hand Mix
  • Machine Mix

1. Hand Mix

Hand mix mortar

At first, we stack an amount of sand and the required number of cement bags. Pile of sand should like a small mountain.

Then cut the cement bag and dump the cement on the sand by the trowel or hoe. Next, we need a hoe or a shovel to mix vigorously. We need to remember that mix is distributed uniformly and even coloured. If the mixture is not suitably mixed, then the consistency will be affected.

After that, we form a crater by hoe or shovel and pour water into it. By using a hoe or shovel pick up the dry mix from the outside edge and put it into the middle portion. Sometimes we need to add extra water to the mix.

Finally, mix the mixture for 3 to 5 minutes and let it for another one minute.

2. Machine Mix

Machine mix mortar

At first, we need to wash out or wet the mixer, wheelbarrow and buckets by water. Then, insert the dry materials like sand, stones and cement into the mixer and start mixing.

Finally, we add water into the mix and mix appropriately for a few moments. If there is a lack of water in the mixture, then we add some water. So, this is the entire process of Machine Mix of mortar.

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What Is Mortar Made Of

There are commonly four types of mortars are used. So, the materials are also different for different kinds of mortar.  They are following-

#1. Cement Mortar

  • Cement (as binding material)
  • Sand
  • Water

#2. Lime Mortar

  • Lime, fat lime or hydraulic lime (as binding material)
  • Sand, surki or cinder
  • Water

#3. Mud Mortar:

  • Clay
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Sometimes fibrous material like cow dung is added, and some amount of (about 5%) hydrated lime and bitumen is added.

#4. Special Mortar

There are many types of special mortar, which are as follows

#a. Cement Clay Mortar

  • Cement
  • Clay
  • Water

#b. Gauged Cement Mortar

  • Cement
  • Lime
  • Water (ratio should be 1:1:6, 1:2:9 or 1:3:12)

#c. Decorative Mortar

  • Coloured Cement (instead of ordinary cement)
  • Sand
  • Water

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Uses of Mortar

There are several uses of mortars. Those are following-

  • Uses of Cement Mortar
  • Uses of Lime Mortar
  • Uses of Mud Mortar
  • Uses of Special Mortar

1. Uses of Cement Mortar

  • To bind masonry blocks like bricks, stones, cement blocks, etc.
  • To give a neat and smooth finish to the wall and concrete surface.
  • Plastering works in slabs and walls.
  • To fill joints and cracks.
  • To give pointed joints to masonry works.
  • Act as a filler material in stone masonry.
  • Act as a filler material in Ferro-cement works.

2. Uses of Lime Mortar

  • Fat lime mortar is used for plastering.
  • Hydraulic lime mortar is used for construction works.
  • This mortar is used where lime is locally available.

3. Uses of Mud Mortar

  • Use to construct monolithic structures.
  • Masonry works like walls, wattle, daub, etc.
  • Use to construct flat roofs, vaults, domes, etc.

4. Uses of Special Mortar

  • Use as water resistance material.
  • It has a predetermined setting time.
  • Use as a decorative finish to the wall surface.

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Mortar in Construction

Hand mix mortar

In civil engineering construction, mortar is one of the most important things.

  • Cement Mortar in Construction
  • Lime Mortar in Construction
  • Mud Mortar in Construction
  • Special Mortar in Construction

1. Cement Mortar in Construction

  • To prepare cement mortar, we follow these charts to combine cement and sand for various works.
Works Cement: Sand
Masonry Works 1:6-1:8
Plastering Works 1:3-1:4
Plastering Concrete 1:3
Pointing 1:2-1:3

Compressive strength of mortar is another crucial point. Here is the chart of compressive strength of mortar for different proportion-

Cement: Sand Compressive Strength in N/mm2
1:3 10 N/mm2
1:4 7.5 N/mm2
1:5 5.0 N/mm2
1:6 3.0 N/mm2
1:8 0.7 N/mm2

2. Lime Mortar in Construction

  • In ancient Egypt, there was the first use of lime mortar to construct the pyramids, temples, homes, etc.
  • In Mohenjo-Daro, there was actively the use of lime concrete.
  • There was also widespread use of lime mortar in Rome & Greece.

3. Mud Mortar in Construction

Nowadays, mud mortar is not used in the construction because of its insufficient strength, but in rural areas, there is still use of mud mortar.

4. Special Mortar in Construction

In current civil engineering construction, there is a massive roll of special mortar. Some of those are-

  • Use as water resistance material.
  • It has a predetermined setting time.
  • Use as a decorative finish to the wall surface.
  • It’s also used as a fire-resistant mortar.

So, this is the enormous role played by mortar in civil engineering construction.

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Mortar is a material used in masonry construction to fill the gaps between the bricks and blocks. Mortar is a mixture of sand, a binder such as cement or lime, and water and is applied as a paste which then sets hard.

How to Make Mortar?

Combine sand, cement and water to make a mortar and to make concrete, add aggregates to the mix. Mix thoroughly until it reaches the right consistency. Mix materials to make mortar or cement. Get cleaning to prevent hardening.

What Is Mortar Used For?

Mortar is a material used in masonry construction to fill the gaps between the bricks and blocks. Mortar is a mixture of sand, a binder such as cement or lime, and water and is applied as a paste which then sets hard.

Special Purpose Mortars

Mortar is a workable paste which hardens to bind building blocks such as stones, bricks, and concrete masonry units, to fill and seal the irregular gaps between them, spread the weight of them evenly, and sometimes to add decorative colors or patterns to masonry walls.

Uses of Mortar

Mortar is used to bind together the bricks or stones in brick or stone masonry. It is used to give a soft even bed between different layers of brick or stone masonry for equal distribution of pressure over the bed. It is used to fill up the spaces between bricks or stones for making walls tight.

Uses of Cement Mortar

It has a thicker consistency which makes it a great adhesive and bonding agent for bricks and tiles. Mortar mix can be used for construction and repair of brick, block, and stone for barbecues, pillars, walls, tuck-pointing mortar joints, and planters.

Uses of Lime Mortar

Mortars made with lime and cement exhibit superior workability balanced with appropriate compressive strength as well as low water permeability and superior bond strength. Lime is a major constituent in exterior and interior stuccos and plasters, enhancing the strength, durability, and workability of these finishes.

Uses of Mud Mortar

It is used on floors, counter tops, driveways, patios, shower pans and anywhere a thick bed leveling mortar is specified. Deck Mud-Poly should be used in high traffic areas where added flexural strength is needed. Poly or Plus should be used where efflorescence control/water repellant properties are desired.

Uses of Special Mortar

  • Fire-resistant mortar.
  • Lightweight mortar.
  • Packing mortar.
  • Sound-absorbing mortar.
  • X-ray shielding mortar.

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