Mortar Mixing Ratio

 
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Old 03-29-2006, 10:08 AM   #1
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Mortar Mixing Ratio


Ok dumb question time. As some of you may know Im still new to the brick laying trade. So far I have only done some small projects and heve been using the premixed morter. I now have a project that would be better using some sand and cement and mixing my own morter.
What I need to know is what is the best mix ratio. I have looked around the internet and found a few charts that only confuse me. So I figure that I had better consult the all knowing wise masters on this one.
Thanks in advance
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Old 03-29-2006, 10:40 AM   #2
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Ahh, mortar mix design, my favorite subject. The answer is that you have to use the proper mix for what you are laying, where you are laying it and when.

The mix that you can't usually go wrong with is 1-1-3, portland-type S lime-masonry sand. Workable, good bond strength and enough lime to promote autogenous healing.

The important thing to remember is that the proportions are by volume. Portland cement is bagged in a 1 CuFt bag (94#), as is lime (50#). A five gallon bucket filled to the top ring (not the top of the bucket) is also 1 CuFt.

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Old 03-29-2006, 11:15 AM   #3
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


ok ...Standard red brick - on top of concrete - and today (winter/spring. Wet no freeze)
correct me if I misunderstand this ...
one bag (1 cu ft.) 94# portland type 'S' cement
one bag (1 cu ft.) 50# lime
3 cu ft masonry sand (3 buckets filled to first ring)
OR (?)
1 shovel cement
1 shovel lime
3 shovels sand
(My mixer is only a 2 cu ft.)
Correct???

Last edited by wbsbadboy; 03-29-2006 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 03-29-2006, 11:36 AM   #4
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


i tell my hands to mix it:10 shovels(square point and full)sand, one bag mason cement,8 shovels of sand.so you end up with 18 sands and one bag of mason.if i am laying artifical stone i use 1 or 2 less sands and add one shovel portland.
if we are mixing grout 18 sands,bag of portland,18 sands.
if the miz is too wet,on mason you can add 3 shovels sand to one shovel mason.4 sand to 1 portland.
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Old 03-29-2006, 01:06 PM   #5
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Well, a shovel is not a precise measuring device, but it is the most commonly used.
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:03 PM   #6
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough
Well, a shovel is not a precise measuring device, but it is the most commonly used.
What do you want.. a measuring cup?

And type S is for high compression strenght and has a high bond. I usually dont use type S for normal home construction. And Im only assuming thats what your doing. I usually use type N. I mix it generally add water, 10 sand, the bag of mortar, then generally I add anywhere from 8-10 more sand and adjust the water to get consistancy as needed. Different companies seem to take different amounts of water to get the same constistancy mud you get from the bag of mortar and 18-20 shovels of sand. ( I use a spade in my sandpiles)

And like stacker said for fake stone. I usually go less sand while lickin em and stickin em to get it "tackier".
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:15 PM   #7
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


1 gallon or 5 gallon buckets work fine. Type N is fine for pretty much anything, even structural CMU, but I still prefer Type S for everything but soft stone and wood fired brick.

It doesn't take a lot of difference in the amount of sand to change the color, even without integral color.
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:42 PM   #8
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Quote:
Originally Posted by 6stringmason
What do you want.. a measuring cup?
The best response of the day!
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Old 03-29-2006, 03:44 PM   #9
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Have tried to stay out of this, but do want to add a few thoughts.

I have seen masons use all sorts of mixes---any thing from heavy lime to portland ratios to pure portland and sand. Worked on one job where they used a triple beam analytical scale to proportion everything, but then that entire job was kind of strange

Over a 30 year time frame I found that type n , no lime, and a little portland worked well for me. Then when the type s started showing up, I began to use it without adding that little bit of portland. A nice workable mix . Sand would always be in a 3-1 ratio more or less, but again, I found that different sand sources would effect that too. Home owner got us some "sugar sand" to work with over in east Texas once, and it took a bag of type s, 1/2 bag portland, and about 40 shovels of sand just to make a decent wheelbarrow of mud. My normal sand source would give me two decent wheelbarrows from a bag of type s and around 20 shovels sand. I only use lime and portland if there isn't any masonry cement available.

Now having said all that-- the ratio is generally in the 3 sand to 1 cement range, but in my opinion, it's the feel of the mud on the trowel that is the most critical component of any mix, and that is where a good mud man can make a crew, or a poor one will keep the masons aggravated all day long.

Just my 2 cents about mud.

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Old 03-29-2006, 04:31 PM   #10
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Well said JVC. Worth alot more than 2 cents. And its a good thing you dont have my mud man. He's been doin it two years with me and still makes im too wet or to stiff a hell of a lot more than he should.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:09 PM   #11
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Quote:
Now having said all that-- the ratio is generally in the 3 sand to 1 cement range, but in my opinion, it's the feel of the mud on the trowel that is the most critical component of any mix, and that is where a good mud man can make a crew, or a poor one will keep the masons aggravated all day long.
i love it when you have a new laborer and he makes your mud to sandy or to sticky.and when you ask them how many sands they put it.....its always the same answer.....i put in what you told me to .
i had one guy who i swear used cars driving by to count his shovels of sand.i still remember the day the funeral prosession drove by.i think we had 3 wheel barrows of mud out of one sack of cement.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:37 PM   #12
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


In masonry cement, the difference between Type N and Type S is 5 (4.7 to be exact) pounds more masonry cement in the bag. Masonry cement, BTW, has no lime in it. The bottom line is that either one will usually meet S standards if you actually measure your sand ratio.

The real question is what is required for what you are laying. Absorbent masonry materials need a lower strength, higher lime mortar, as a rule, and hard units lay better with a stronger (stiffer) mix.

JVC, the best mud for our limestone is actually in this ratio: 1:2:3. This gives you plenty compressive, great workability, and the proper amount of flexural strength and waterproofing.

Concrete/civil engineers always specify too strong of a mortar, since they are used to dealing with reinforced concrete, which unitized masonry is not. Why would you ever use a mortar that has a higher psi than the units you are laying?

The whole masonry rating system is crap, if you ask me, since it addresses the wrong question: Compressive strength. To say nothing of the fact that there is no specified method of field testing mortar, although the lab test is often required for field mixed mortar, leading to entirely junk (too strong) mortar being used just to pass the (incorrect) requirement.

A logical and useful method would assign values to absorption, permeability and flexural strength.

Last edited by Tscarborough; 03-29-2006 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:39 PM   #13
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


LOL! I hear ya. I think the stories could be endless. I love it when they bring it back with the consistancy of a gooses ******************** on exlax and they say "I put in just as much water as every other time."
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:01 PM   #14
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Water is the only variable. A good mudman uses consistant quanitites of materials and adjusts the amount of water.
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:44 PM   #15
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


If your on the same job and using consistant quantities of material water should be a constant as well. Theres only one consistancy of water out of the hose so it shouldnt much matter.
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:59 PM   #16
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Provided you keep your sand under wraps and the temp stays the same, you are correct. A 20% change in humidity and 2 days of your sand pile laying in the sun make a big difference in how much water your mudman has to add, to say nothing of retempering.
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:02 PM   #17
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Touche... you're absolutely correct.
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Old 03-29-2006, 10:09 PM   #18
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


WOW I didnt think that this thread would be so popular. Thanks to everyone that replied. I am going to absorb all this info and play with it some and Ill let you know how it turns out.
Thanks again.
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:03 AM   #19
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Lots of good replies but everyone forgot the most important ingredient.
3parts sand
1part type s or n mortar
H20
1 dead MOUSE...

Nothing mentioned even compares to "Mouse" mud.

The oils in the fur or something make all the difference


Tim

Last edited by lukachuki; 03-30-2006 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:21 AM   #20
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Tscarborough,

Thanks for sharing your wisdom concerning mortar I'm filing it away on my computer but i just had to comment that you don't exactly engender confidence in your wisdom as your avatar contains no mortar.

Thats coming from a guy to cheap to find an avatar.
Just Pickin,
Tim


Last edited by lukachuki; 03-30-2006 at 09:25 AM.
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