How to Mortar Rock

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Whether you want to keep your nosy neighbors at bay or build a solid rock wall in the garden, build a rock wall using mortar. Mortar is a mixture of sand and cement, which is applied between the rocks to secure them and keep them aligned properly. It is important to mix the sand and cement mixture while they are dry. Dry mixing ensures that the cement and sand is evenly distributed throughout the mixture. If you mix the sand and cement while wet, some parts of the mixture contain more cement than others, weakening the mortar.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 pounds. sand
  • 1 pound cement mixture
  • 5 cups lime powder
  • Wheel barrel
  • Wooden stick
  • 1 gallon water
  • Hose
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Cloth
  • Level
  • L-ruler
  • Pour 4 pounds. of sand, 1 pound of cement mixture and 5 cups of lime powder into a wheel barrel. Stir the mixture evenly with a wooden stick. The cement mixture should not contain gravel.

  • Pour 1 gallon of water into the wheel barrel. Stir the mixture until the mortar thickens. More or less water can be added, depending on the temperature of the day. Add additional water for hot days, which evaporates the mortar, during the application process.

  • Wash the surface of the rocks with a hose. The mortar does not hold as well where there is dirt and debris. Let the rocks dry for one hour.

  • Position a row of rocks in the desired pattern. Place the rocks as close as possible to each other. Mortar holds the rocks in place, but they cannot support the weight of the rocks if spread too far apart.

  • Shape rocks with uneven surfaces, using a hammer and chisel. Step on the rock with your foot on a level surface. Position the tip of the chisel in the area that you want to shape and hit the end of the chisel with a hammer.

  • Apply 1/2-inch of mortar around the top and in between the first row of rocks, using a trowel. Add additional mortar, depending of the shape of the rocks. The mortar should be fully cured after five days. Wipe off any excess mortar on the side surfaces of the rocks, using a cloth.

  • Position a level on top of the first row to ensure the wall is straight. Position a L-ruler on the sides of the first row to ensure that the wall is perpendicular to the ground. Continue until the rock wall is the desired height and width.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear protective mask and gloves when handling cement.

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References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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