Mortar Construction: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking to start a construction project that uses mortar construction, you have to educate yourself on everything that using mortar construction means.

What is mortar?

Mortar is a mixture of sand and cements. Most often, it is used to build brick or block walls. When applied, this mixture fills the gaps between bricks or blocks, which creates a stronger bond. Ultimately, mortar construction creates a solid, strong wall.

You can make mortar in one of two ways. It is either made from Portland cement, hydrated lime, and find sand or with masonry cement and fine sand. Both methods create durable mortar; which type you use is really based on personal preference.

What is the difference between mortar and cement?

The main difference between mortar and cement is that cement is used to build walls and mortar is used to hold parts of walls together. Additionally, mortar is made partially of concrete. While both concrete and mortar construction are durable, their strengths lie in different areas. Concrete is objectively stronger than mortar and can be applied in large quantities. Mortar isn’t meant to be used in thick applications, and is better to work with than concrete.

There are three main aspects of mortar that differ from concrete:

  • Mortar has lower strength
  • Mortar must have the ability to retain water
  • Mortar has a high air content

What are the advantages of using mortar construction?

So you might be thinking “if mortar isn’t as strong as concrete, why would I use it?” That’s a very good question. The answer is simply that by using mortar, you can control a structure’s weak points.

If you build a solid concrete wall, as the wall shifts over time, the concrete will break. When this happens, your only option is to rebuild the entire wall. This is obviously a very expensive problem to have.

But, when you build a wall with blocks or bricks and use mortar to hold it together, the mortar is the weakest spot of the wall. Now, when the wall shifts, the mortar is what will break or fall out. When this happens, you can simply replace the old mortar with new, and prevent having to rebuild completely.

Need mortar for your project?

Elston Materials has you covered! Purchase mortar online or contact us for more information.

Cassie Vu