What Is Mortar Made Of?

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The recipe for mortar has changed through time, having been around for thousands of years in differing regions. Modern mortar is made of either cement powder or lime (or a combination of the two) with sand and water. Additives can be added to mortar such as retardants or accelerants.

Cement

  • The most common mortar is Portland cement, and is made from heated and powdered limestone mixed either with clay or shale.

Sand

  • Sand for mortar should not be rounded, but angular. This is so the rest of the ingredients can stick to it.

Water

  • Water for mortar is made as pure as possible (and therefore as neutral as possible) before being used.

Lime

  • Slaked lime, calcium hydroxide, is used in mortar to improve the smoothness, water holding capacity and workability of mortar.

Types

  • There are five main types of mortar, type S, type N, type M, type O and type K. These types vary in ratio depending on how many pounds per square inch (psi) it can stand.

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