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Mortar Mixing Ratio

 
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:58 PM   #141
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


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The bilingual stuff reminds me of a funny story my Father in law yells. He worked for Hydro and once they were contracting out a sub station. One of the terms of the contract was that the contractor had to be bilingual (2 official languages in Canada, English and French). An Italian got the contract and during the review brought a friend with him who was interpreting. The Hydro official says in French "You do know that the contractor needs to be bilingual" and the interpreter answers "oh he speaks both Italian and Portugese fluently"
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Old 05-24-2015, 01:41 PM   #142
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


ratio 3 to 1 = type s the more accurate the measuring the more consistent the mud
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Old 05-24-2015, 01:50 PM   #143
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


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ratio 3 to 1 = type s the more accurate the measuring the more consistent the mud
With that being said, what is your advice as to keeping sand incrimination
accurate every time sand being wet or dry?
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Old 05-24-2015, 06:53 PM   #144
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


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With that being said, what is your advice as to keeping sand incrimination
accurate every time sand being wet or dry?



Do sand bulking tests at least once a day,preferably in the morning before the start of work.
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Old 05-30-2015, 01:07 AM   #145
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


There has been a great deal of discussion on the methods of mixing mortar on here but I haven't seen the first post about why the ratio is what it is. If you have too much cement in your mix then you will end up with shrinkage cracks. Cement shrinks and if you don't have enough sand in your mix to spread out the particles of cement you will end up with to high a concentration of cement and risking shrinkage cracks in your wall or foundation. If your mix is testing two or three times the spec or the last test results that the manufacturer has documented (they give that out pretty handily if you ask for it) you are mixing too rich.

We've mixed with buckets for the last several years now and we were surprised how much farther we got on a bag of mortar when we put the proper ratio of sand in the mix. If you take your shovel count and throw it on a tarp and then get a cubic or half cubic foot box and put 3 cubic feet on a tarp next to the first pile you will see a difference. Most people will. Personally it spread better when we used that method. It cuts out so much guess work on how many shovels you have thrown in. Who wasn't mixing mortar at one point and someone comes up to you 5 shovels in and distracts you, then you lose count. If you have a set volume setting in front of your mixer you know how much you are putting in right off. So your only real variable is water content of the sand. It doesn't take much to gauge the water content of your sand. If your hand comes out wet if you stick it just inside the surface of the pile or bag then you may want to start out with a little less water than usual. If your pile is at the bottom of a hill collecting the property's water... that's your fault and you'll likely get some efflorescence to clean off later.

Someone mentioned in an earlier post about an employee getting injured hefting a bucket of sand. We use 2.5 gallon buckets. So you are using 8 per bag instead of 4. Using smaller buckets allows for a min or two more for mixing time anyway.
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Old 05-30-2015, 09:21 AM   #146
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


The mixing clock on mortar begins after all components are added. That gives a MAXIMUM of 5 min.
There is no need to lift buckets of sand if you think out side the BOX. That's all I can add on proper measurement of cubic feet. It took us several attempts through trial and also error to develop our method. Not about to let that trade secret out. May try to patent the design see where it goes? We under go scrupulous field drawn sample testing 3 times daily. Our breaks vary only in couple hundred pounds increments max.
On the 3 to 1 ratio, if you read the directions on the mortar bag. Some manufacturers are recommending 2 or 3 parts(cubic feet) of sand to each bag.
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Old 05-30-2015, 01:59 PM   #147
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


There is no field sampling testing protocol, tell them to shove it up their ass (Only when you do fail, of course).

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Old 05-30-2015, 02:37 PM   #148
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Tscar is absolutely correct. There is NO standard for field sampling and testing of mortar because of the variability of the materials from batch to batch. The applicable specification for mortar is ASTM 207, which is a laboratory method.

The moisture content of the sand varies by location of the sand taken, so a standard from the field is meaningless. There have be attempts to create a meaningful standard for over 75 years, but committees writing the specs (contractors, manufacturers and engineers) could not arrive at something worth controlling.

I knew of several mudmixers that were paid more than a mason because they were critical to real production than the masons. - This was for mid-rise loadbering construction where production and lack of excess mortar in the wall was always a problem when it comes to partial grouting. - The company was very critical about materials and wanted all block to oriented in a cube correctly (block top side up so the mortar beds made handing easier, especially for 8",10" and 12" 2 core block that were laid one-handed. When you lay 1 to 2,000,000 block a year, you get what you want at any price.
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Old 05-30-2015, 02:43 PM   #149
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


When the batch just touches the shaft inside it's a full batch.
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:00 PM   #150
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


You two Gentlemen please feel free to attend our next preparation meeting with the ACOE. At that day and time I'm sure you will be enlightened beyond belief. I guess government work isn't for everyone. The ACOE can and have it their way period. Sorry to step on toes that haven't performed work of this nature. As I've said previously we call the ACOE directives, blessings for a very good reason.
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:29 PM   #151
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Would that be, say, the Corp of Engineers? Maybe Department of Defense, Army, Airforce? How about University of Texas, State of Texas, various city governments, etc.?

Because I have shut all of those guys bull**** down when my customers were called on field testing of mortar. It is not allowed, although you are welcome to agree to it, there IS NO METHOD OF TESTING IT, period.
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:37 PM   #152
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Do this, HeavyC, take the last set of mortar specifications where they field tested your mortar, including the references at the beginning of Section 4200. Scan them in and post them, and let me show you, using those specs, how it is not allowed.
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Old 05-30-2015, 04:06 PM   #153
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


It would be interesting to see the comments on the specifications for mortar and masonry units since they are intertwined in the end.

I would be glad to show those to the ASTM committees (C12 & C15) that write the pertinent specifications and let them decipher what ACOE is and the association credentials and activities are.

I could also present the information to the joint ACI/TMS/NCMA/BIA committee that controls the ACI Doument (ACI 530) plus the ASTM standards committee for testing and standards that covers the design and construction of masonry for the U.S. and about 20 other counties by adoption.
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Old 05-30-2015, 04:20 PM   #154
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


And just to be clear, they can field sample and test all they want, but they can not use a failing result to require teardown and rebuild.
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Old 05-30-2015, 04:32 PM   #155
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


I'm in total agreement with both of you"ll. We are at Ft. Bragg and the Savannah District over sees operations.
I will follow up with your advice at initial for next job thank you very much, any and all help greatly appreciated. I will contact our PM to arm him with this information for submittal process of our contracts. I'll update immediately. Gonna poke around through old paper work and see if I can reference their directives.
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:06 AM   #156
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


One more question for the experts. Our spec's call for 2,000 psi mortar. How without any testing would you ever know. Thus why is it even a spec?
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:03 PM   #157
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


There are 2 methods. The first is a proportion specification, where you simply use ASTM 270 Chart 2 to determine the ratios of sand/lime/cement to achieve the desired strength. This is the best and most common method, and it works just fine, even though a field collected mortar sample may or may not pass a lab compressive test, it doesn't have to.

The second is the properties specification where you take the materials to be used in the field to the lab and test them in accordance with several different ASTM standards including the mixing, curing, and testing of the materials. This is done prior to the start of construction.

Those are the only two methods to specify mortar strength, and it is an either/or choice, although many specs reference both. Either way, there is NO specification or method for collecting field mixed mortar and then testing it in the lab. No method or specification= no such thing as "failing" a test. What test? what method? what specification?
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Old 05-31-2015, 08:09 PM   #158
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


There are cubical samples collected daily. They are placed in plastic/ fiberglass looking trays with dividers in them. Then a plastic bag is placed over the jig to avoid contamination I guess or something to do with curing process as we are required to cover all work. Then the sample is left in a restricted/ designated area overnight and collected the following day. Off to the lab it goes. Then the process is repeated each day.
I could care less what they do with it where it goes or what the results are. The GC is the agency requesting and footing the bill for the testing agencies service. They also the GC collects and retains the test results.
On another job breaks were nearly 500lbs. off. No work was torn down I'm assuming because of the stipulations with testing you've explained thoroughly. Just know it is what it is I give mortar away all day long to different trades for different reasons so why should I even care that they're wasting our tax dollars doing testing that has no legitimacy.
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Old 05-31-2015, 08:25 PM   #159
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


Taking mortar samples is OK, so long as they understand that they have no standing in relationship to your contract. When they "fail" you for a collected field sample, then there is an issue, one that they will lose every single time, usually with a couple phone calls or at worst a jobsite meeting.
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:00 PM   #160
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Re: Mortar Mixing Ratio


There is no accepted standard for field samples. Even if a sample is taken there is no basis, since it is just information of the mortar after it was mixed and not the wall.

Actually, the field strength of mortar is meaningless.

For masonry wall strengths, mortar has little effect on the compressive strength of a wall. The governing method to verify the wall strength is a 2 block high, hollow face shell bedded prism that is tested at 7 or 28 days to determine the masonry strength (f'm) that is the only number that should be in a correct specification and is referenced in all major codes and standards. In the mortar specification (ASTM C270), in the appendix, it states that weakest mortar possible to carry the structural loads should be used because the weaker mortar possesses other properties, such as workability that are important. 2000 psi mortar can be used to get a 4500 psi masonry strength, since the unit strengths control the wall strength.

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