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Procedure of Mixing Mortar

Correct procedure of mixing mortar can save you money and time. So it is essential for a construction professional to learn the procedure of mixing mortar.

Before knowing mortar mixing procedure let's first see the ingredients of mortar.

Ingredients of mortar depends on the type of mortar. Generally, mortar ingredients are binding materials, sand and of course water.

Widely used binding material for mortar is cement.

So we'll mix cement, sand and water for our mortar.

Now the core question is what should be the proportion of ingredients of mortar?

It depends on the purpose of the use of mortar.

Suppose, when we use the mortar for brick laying purpose the mixing ratio of cement and sand is normally 1:4. But you can't use this proportion for honey-comb repairing purpose. The proportion will be different for honey-comb repairing.

But that is the another topic. I'll discuss about mortar mix ratio some other day. Now we'll focus on the procedure of mixing mortar.

So far we have found from above discussion that the general mortar ingredients are
  • Cement
  • Sand
  • Water

Procedure of Mixing Mortar

Mortar mixing procedure involves four steps of operation -
  1. Selection of ingredients
  2. Measuring the ingredients.
  3. Batching mortar
  4. Mixing Mortar

1. Selection of Ingredients

We normally use Portland cement in mortar. Portland is not a brand name it's a type of cement.

Sand of mortar should be fine grade, clean, sharp and free from organic materials. We normally screen the sand before using in mortar.

Water for mixing mortar should be fresh drinking water.

2. Measuring the Ingredients

Ingredients of mortar are measured by volume. Suppose, the ratio of mortar is 1:4. That means one part cement will be mixed with four-part of sand. But how to measure?

The easiest way is to measure by cement bag. One bag cement should mix with four bag sand. But measuring sand by bag is time consuming. That is why we use fera for this purpose. The volume of a fera is equal to half bag of cement. So for one bag cement we mix two fera of sand. And that is the easiest way we found so far.
Mixing mortar

Now water. How much water is needed for one bag cement?

It depends on various things. Such as weather condition, quality of sand, purpose of using mortar, etc. By not going to technical terms you should focus on the consistency of mortar. So add small quantity of water at a time to dry mortar-mix to get the desired consistency.

3. Batching Mortar

You don't need to prepare whole required amount of mortar at a time. Suppose 5 masons are working together to make brick wall on a floor. They will work full day long. They will consume, for example, 38 cubic feet of mortar. But you should not prepare whole amount of mortar at the beginning of the day. You should prepare mortar several times in a day. It should bedone for the shake of the quality of mortar.

Read More:
How to Estimate Ingredients for 3" Brick Masonry Wall?
How to Estimate Materials for 5" Thick Brick Wall

However, mortar can be mixed by hand or by machine.

Machine mixing is done in large project. But for building construction project we rarely use machine for mixing mortar.

The procedure is same for both hand mixing and machine mixing. Only a difference between them is, hand mixing is done on a floor by shovelling whereas machine mixing is done by a machine.

4. Mixing Mortar

Follow the simple steps below for mixing mortar -
  • Choose a clean, even and dry place for mixing mortar. Sometimes, finding even and clean place is a bit difficult. In that case, use one or two plain sheet for this purpose.
  • Spread required quantity of sand on that place.
  • Put required cement on spreaded sand.
  • Now mix those throughly in dry condition with a shovel till the mix gains cementious color.
  • Add small quantity of water and mix again with shovel. Follow this step until the mixer gain desired consistency and workability.
Now a days, there are readymix mortar available to buy. You can use those for your small-size project. The procedure of mixing readymix mortar is same as we described above. But it doesn't need to add sand in readymix mortar.

Your Turn
I didn't personally use readymix mortar. If you have an experience please share in comments below.

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