About the Process of Making Mortar

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People working in construction, such as bricklayers, use mortar to fill the gaps between bricks, blocks and rocks to keep them together. They are useful for projects involving the walls, roof, floors or anywhere there is a need for a mortar bed or support. Mortars have been around for a long time and will remain as a part of constructions involving masonry work.

Features

  • Mortar is a combination of a binder such as cement or lime, sand or any fine aggregate plus water. They are mixed to form a paste-like consistency to bind or stick to construction masonry materials such as stones, tiles, blocks and bricks. The paste hardens to bind and hold the materials to provide form, strength and stability.

Types

  • There are different types of mortars based on the consistency and materials used to form them. One of the most commonly used is the Portland Cement Mortar also known as cement mortar. They are a combination of Portland cement, sand and water. Polymer Cement Mortar (PCM) uses polymers to replace the cement. These polymers consist of emulsions, polymer powders that are water-soluble. The polymers help in reducing shrinkage that causes cracking once the mortar has dried. Lime mortar makes use of limestone in the mixture, which come in fine white powder. Lastly, Pozzolona mortar comes from volcanic ashes when ground finely and mixed with lime, can act like Portland cement.

Significance

  • Mortars are very useful in masonry work. A material can withstand the test of time. Mortars have been around since the ancient times when they were made of clay and mud used to build pyramids in the ancient Egypt as well as build bridges and retaining walls of old European palaces. Mortars will continue to be part of construction projects involving masonry no matter how big or small. Whether it is constructing huge buildings or adding a fence made of stones for a garden.

Considerations

  • There are different factors to consider when using mortars. The right amount of raw materials used to mix or create the mortar should be just right. It should always end up with a paste-like consistency. Do not make it too watery or too dry. If it is too watery it will not stick or hold up, if it is too dry may cause cracking and may break over time.

Potential

  • There are a lot of potential for using mortars in a masonry project. Not only are they useful to build walls but to build a mortar beds for tile counters and floors. Many other uses for mortars are for landscaping, by creating beautiful retaining and perimeter walls. Simulated rocks also benefit from mortars; they help them adhere to walls better than just using wall adhesives or glue.

  • Photo Credit Kevinrosseel/Morguefile
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