Dry mortar is a combination of mixed raw materials such as sand and cement in dry form. This can also contain additives as well as polymers. Dry mortar is used in construction such as joining bricks together for a sturdy wall. Wet mortars are ready to use and only need to be mixed but this guide will help you make your a DIY dry mortar mix.
You will need the following materials to make a dry mortar mix:
- Portland Cement Bags
- Builder’s Sand
Ensure that you have the proper safety equipment before you start marking your mortar mix as well as the equipment needed to mix your materials. You should have the following:
- Thick gloves
- Safety goggles
- A mask or something to cover your mouth
- 3 plastic buckets
- Stiff bristle brush
- Wooden mixing board
- Bricklayers towel
Prepping the Area
Begin by laying down a tarp over the surface you’re going to work on. This will make it easier to work without worrying about spills. Place your mixing board on top of the tarp, brushing it with water to ensure it’s clean.
Fill 3 separate buckets with masonry cement, sand, and water. Standard dry mortar mix consists of a ratio of 3-4 parts sand to 1 part cement. This ratio will vary a bit depending on if the mortar is intended for structural brickwork, internal brick walls, or concrete bricks.
How to Mix Mortar
Mix your dry ingredients inside the wheelbarrow with a shovel to make a dry mix. After adding a small amount of water, continue mixing. Use the shovel to scoop up sand and cement that’s left on the bottom to ensure it all gets mixed in. Stab the pile to make sure water is completely absorbed.
The most important thing is to avoid making the mix too wet or too dry. You want to keep repeating this process. Keep adding water and mix until you get the desired smooth consistency and holds its shape.
Transfer the mortar to a mud board. Wet the board before adding your mixture on top. To mix even more thoroughly, use a trowel in folding and chopping motions, checking if you need to add water again. After you transfer your mixture from the wheelbarrow, wash it out before it dries.
Use the trowel to make a hollow in the centre, scoop materials from the outside and fold them into the centre. Finish by chopping the surface to work moisture through to the bottom. Continue this process until you reach the right consistency. If you’re creating this mortar mix for a large project, you may benefit from using a mixer.
As well as cleaning excess mortar out of your wheelbarrow before it dries, you want to do the same to your tools. Use a power washer or hosepipe to wash the mortar away and the use of a stiff bristle brush can aid in scraping it off.
Once you’re done mixing your mortar, you have about an hour to an hour and a half to use it, depending on temperature conditions. If it’s extremely hot, it may last for a little less than this. Past 90 minutes, mortar begins to lose some of its characteristics and should be thrown out.
If you need a high-quality dry-mix mortar and aren’t up to the task to make it yourself, at Bisley International we supply a range of dry-mixing products and materials to suit all of your needs. Contact us today to find out more.