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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there any vendor that sells bagged type O mortar in USA?

I have a 100 yr old bldg in Historic district of downtown Paris, TX that needs brick repointed. I'm guessing Type O would be appropriate but suppose Type N could be used also. Have contacted two local masonry contractors who do this work but both say the "only use what the local lumber yard carries" which is usually type M or S. Local lumber yard commented, "could not locate supplier" of Type O.

Unknown brick type or mortar used in construction as downtown burned in 1916, original structure demolished and current structure built probably using salvaged brick.

Some spalling esp. on outside of parapet wall. Some mortar is in original (great) condition while some is quite deteriorated. Interior in pretty good condition. Building use has always been warehouse, machine shop, etc.

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" Have contacted two local masonry contractors who do this work but both say the "only use what the local lumber yard carries"

don't send private emails for tips, sorry.
 

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Type O is often special order, but you can make your own fairly easily....it's just the proportions that make it O

It is generally referred to as 1:2:9 Which is, by volume; Cement .11
Lime .22
Sand 1

Or you can do it by weight Cement 10.4
Lime 8.9
Sand 80

Good luck!
 

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Your best bet is to take Rockmonsters advise. 1:2:8-9, or even 1:3:10-12. If you want it premixed you might contact Virginia Lime works but i don't think they do. A Quebec company called Daubois does but it's costly here...can't imagine what it would cost in Texas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Type O mortar needed

FYI, attended a meeting of downtown business/building owners at city hall last evening. Didn't count but guess about 50 attended. One topic was the state of masonry on majority of these buildings brought up by a "new to downtown" owner (not me). Seems he and other owners are searching to find qualified craftsmen who will actually do what is right for these structures instead of just throwing something at them. Sure, they will look better right now but in 15-30 years may be in worse shape. They've lasted pretty good till now but need some PROPER maintenance!

And that starts with having the RIGHT PRODUCT to do the maintenance with!

Any ideas WHY - WHEN - HOW type o mortar stopped being commercially available?

All you have to do is look at many small towns in the south and southwest and you find crumbling structures... Surely there is a market for this stuff???
 

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If its made with lime mortar then you may want to use the building mortar from Virginia Limeworks. They have a site with a locator on it.
 

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Type O was never really commercially available. Lime has always been available, and a type O or a type K (even weaker than a type O) would always be site mixed. Mixing mortar is a lot like baking. There are a few basic ingredients, (sand, lime, portland, water and modern plasticizers like the old sealbond or mortarmate) mixing them in different proportions can give you very different products, like the difference between biscuits and pancakes. These days we have blended products, like buying aunt Jemima pancake mix, but Aunt Jemima wasn't around in the early days. The knowledge of how to mix from "scratch" isn't as common anymore and most guys only use the most common products, type N & S, maybe adding some mortar mate for a real special mix, like adding extra sugar to some pancake mix.

If you are really interested take a look in the masonry section for a thread about "pre-mixed lime mortar" it was a very similar question as yours and developed dozens of pages of good talk

edit...i see it's already been moved to the masonry section
 

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NJ Brickie -

I am not sure they are the same company. Spec Mix was developed by a local company (here in MN) that was big in Ready-Mix (about 200-300 trucks), the Sand & Gravel business that also bagged a few products like Handicrete, Quicrete and Sakrete and sand to be used for traction or weight. They also bagged kitty litter and other materials because is just a storage, handling, weighing and bagging routine.

They eventually got into the mobile and super sack mortar supply with big bags and eventually started to the move to silos on job sites in response to contractors needs. After that the custom colored mortar meeting the ASTM requirements for Types N,S and M because the raw materials (sand, cement and lime) are the same and all producers of colored mortars use the same basic pigments (from the U.S., Germany, China depending on the color needed).
 

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NJ Brickie -

I am not sure they are the same company. Spec Mix was developed by a local company (here in MN) that was big in Ready-Mix (about 200-300 trucks), the Sand & Gravel business that also bagged a few products like Handicrete, Quicrete and Sakrete and sand to be used for traction or weight. They also bagged kitty litter and other materials because is just a storage, handling, weighing and bagging routine.

They eventually got into the mobile and super sack mortar supply with big bags and eventually started to the move to silos on job sites in response to contractors needs. After that the custom colored mortar meeting the ASTM requirements for Types N,S and M because the raw materials (sand, cement and lime) are the same and all producers of colored mortars use the same basic pigments (from the U.S., Germany, China depending on the color needed).
In the Philadelphia region they are one in the same. I order from them very often. The silos that they use are branded spec mix half the time and quikcrete the other half. 80lb bags are usually under the quikcrete label. But once in awhile they will be spec mix or unbranded, generic brown sacks. The pallets are always labeled quikcrete.
 

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Quikrete, Sakrete and similar are names or licenses that the bagger buys and gets some support. Multiple brands from one plant are not unusual or a sign of ownership.

I think SpecMix was founded by a company that made/bagged several brands before expanding into the silo concept. Now, here, virtually every decent job (small strip center, etc.) or large commercial job has a silo that is rented or supplied by SpecMix because of the contractor experience. They usually house and heat the lower portion in the winter for mixing.

Spec-Mix also sponsors the "Worlds Fastest Trowel" competition regionally and nationally. Naturally, the need for colored mortar was the reason for their brand recognition, quality control and research since they do not rely on the brand name for the small, casual sales.
 
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