5 FAQs About Mortar: Everything You Need to Know

Building supplies-mortar in Stoney CreekWhether you’re an avid DIY-er or someone seeking professional services for your landscaping project, chances are you may need mortar to put together a brick wall or stone walkway. In this post, we go over what you need to know about mortar before choosing the right products for your project.

What is Mortar? 

Mortar is a cement-based binding agent that is used to hold masonry elements together, such as bricks and stones. Mortar is made from a combination of fine cement powder, sand, water and sometimes lime. Different types and ratios of sand and cement can be mixed to create mortar with different properties that may be more ideal for certain applications. Learn more about the most common types of mortar below.  

What is Type N Mortar? 

Type N mortar has a medium compressive strength and is ideal for general-purpose applications. This type of mortar mixture usually comprises 1 part cement, 1 part lime, and 6 parts sand for the dry ingredients. You’ll most likely find type N mortar used in exposed masonry walls, non-load-bearing retaining walls and walkways/patios.  

What is Type S Mortar? 

Type S mortar offers superior binding strength for projects that need to withstand large loads, high winds and similar forces. This type of mortar consists of a more durable cement in its mixture. Ideal for masonry foundations, retaining walls and below-ground applications, type S mortar ensures elements and structures stay intact under pressure.  

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What is Quickset Mortar? 

Quickset mortar, such as Masonbond 400, comes pre-mixed and is designed for use with cultured bricks, stone veneer, and granite slabs and pavers. This product offers high bond and compressive strength and is easy to work with. It’s also durable and neutral in colour, making it versatile for an array of masonry projects.  

How Do You Mix Mortar? 

Now that you know what type of mortar you need for your project, as well as the ratios of each component, it’s time to make your paste.  

Step 1: If you don’t have a pre-mixed package of dry ingredients, you’ll need to measure and mix them thoroughly.   

Step2: Now it’s time to add in the water. You can mix in water using a large bucket or basin and a trowel or paddle to stir. Alternatively, you can use a mortar mixer which uses a rotating drum. Aim for a consistency of thick peanut butter and ensure everything is thoroughly hydrated. 

Step 3: Now, you must let the mortar rest or ‘slake’ for 10 minutes. Slaking is a process that allows the chemical bonds to strengthen, essentially activating the mixture. After you’ve given it time to rest, stir the mixture thoroughly and test its consistency. Scoop the mortar onto your mixing tool and tip it 90 degrees. If the mixture slips off, it’s too thin. 

You can find everything you need for your masonry projects at Grand River Natural Stone. Please reach out to our team today if you have any questions about our products.