How to Burn Limestone to Make Lime Putty


Lime putty or mortar is a material used to hold together the bricks in Victorian-style brick homes. It was a popular material during the 1800s and 1900s, but lime putty is still in use today. Today, builders or brick layers use lime putty to construct new or repair existing Victorian-style brick homes. The putty comes from heating limestone at a very high rate of heat so that it melts.

Things You'll Need

  • Limestone such as non-hydraulic, dolomitic, magnesian or high calcium
  • Kiln
  • Wood, coal or peat
  • 16 cubic feet of fine sand
  • ¼ barrel of cement mix
  • Cement mixer
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Mixing tools
  • Concrete trowel
  • Shovel
  • Large plastic trash can with lid
  • Place the limestone in a kiln.

  • Place the burning material in the kiln and light the kiln according to the kiln's directions and in accordance with the burning material you are using.

  • Heat the kiln to a minimum temperature of 1650 Fahrenheit

  • Remove the melted lime, which is also known as quicklime, from the kiln. To make the mortar, you need about one barrel of melted lime for an average size home. If you are adding mortar to a large project or small project, you can adjust the amounts accordingly. Allow the limestone to cool.

  • Mix the sand and cement mix in a plastic trash can with a lid. Add one part sand for one part cement.

  • Add water to the mixture. Pour some of the lime into the mixture so that it becomes wet, but is of a thick enough consistency to stay on a trowel without sliding off.

  • Repeat Steps 5 and 6 each time you need to make a batch of the lime mortar. Remember to mix only enough lime mortar for the project for that day and the following day.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only put as much lime mortar as you will use into the trash can. Because lime mortar will only last approximately two days in the trash can with the lid on it, you do not need to mix the entire barrel of quicklime you have melted with the other ingredients at the same time.
  • It takes lime mortar longer to dry than regular mortar. This means that when you are laying bricks with lime mortar or putty, it will take you longer to complete the project than if you are using a more traditional mortar mix.

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  • Photo Credit Brick image by Luke Haverkamp from
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