At QED we routinely analyse mortars and have over 30 years experience in dealing mortar related problems.
We can help with:
- On-site inspection and detailed investigation into the probable causes of failure
- Analysis & identification of deleterious components
- Identification of organic polymers
- Identification of generic type of admixtures
- Identification of binder & aggregate in the mix
- Determination of mix proportions
- Surface defects or discoloration
- Examination and analysis of surface defects or discoloration
To see a full list of our UKAS accredited testing click here.
What is Mortar?
Mortar simply provides the glue that holds block and brickwork together. There are international standards for mortars that recommend different mixes of sand, cement and lime to provide different strengths for different applications. The Type or Designation of mortar is related to the mortar mix composition and strength, and is used widely to indicate which mortar designation is used for different applications.
In the past mortars were mixed from their component parts on site by the contractor, and were therefore prone to error and variation in their composition from one batch to the next and from one job to the next. Today almost 80% of mortars used in the UK come from premixed factory produced sources considerably cutting down on any potential on site mixing errors.
Factory-produced mortar comes in two main types:
Ready to Use Mortar delivered to site in either a wet state or dry state. Wet ready-to-use mortars are usually stored in tubs on site and require no further mixing. They incorporate a retarding agent which makes them fully useable for a specific stated period, which can be anything up to 36 hours. Dry ready-to-use mortars are stored on site in silos or bags. Silos are delivered to site complete with integral mixers which only require only power and water supplies to be connected.
Ready-to-use mortars are made in factories under tightly controlled conditions. They have guaranteed mix proportions overcome many potential problems relating to on site mixing. However errors can still occur in the amount of water added to the mortar mix and their deployment on site.
Lime Sand Mortar is a blend of sand and lime delivered to site in a dry state to which water is then added to produce a masonry mortar. The advantage of this type of mortar is it’s plasticity and workability. The mortar also spreads easily under the trowel, increasing productivity and minimising waste.
Mortars can have many different additives and colorants. Admixtures have been used for centuries to enhance the properties of mortars renders and screeds. Materials used in ancient mortars include such varied products as molasses, animal fat, milk and even blood. Historically their use was based on hard earned practical experience gathered over the years. Modern day mortar admixtures are based on chemical theory.
Coloured mortars can be used to enhance clever brick patterns or bring relief to what otherwise might be seen as boring or monotonous. The colour of mortar chosen can either harmonise with the brick colour or provide an interesting contrast. Mortars can also be coloured using a variety of materials and chemical dyes.
Mortar Industry Association - http://www.mortar.org.uk/
Mineral Products Association - http://www.mineralproducts.org/