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What Should I Know About Mortar Repair?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Mortar repair is necessary to fix any cracks or gaps in the mortar of your brickwork. Mortar is a concrete-like substance that is used between layers of bricks to hold the bricks together to form a wall or patio. Bricks are stone or cement preformed blocks that are used to build walls and floors.

Brick walls and floors are designed to withstand extended exposure to the elements, but need annual maintenance to ensure they are in the best possible condition. Take the time to inspect your brickwork at least once per year. Look at the bricks themselves for wear and degeneration. Inspect the mortar to see where it has been worn away or has holes.

Brush away any loose materials, thoroughly clean the bricks and dig out any crumbly mortar. Measure the depth of the cavity. Mortar repair is simple to do and extends the useful life of your brickwork. Mortar is heavy duty concrete and can be mixed with colored sand for a visually appealing appearance.

In order to maintain the visual consistency of the existing brickwork, you will need to match the color of the mortar. There are two options available: purchase matching sand or modify the appearance after the installation is complete. To get matching sand, take the existing mortar to a local bricklaying yard and ask for mortar to match. To modify the appearance, use standard gray mortar and age it with a teabag to match existing.

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If you are purchasing sand to match existing, purchase more than you need for the current mortar repair. This will lower the overall costs and result in enough material to accommodate any future repairs. When completing mortar repair, you will need a mortar bag, a trowel, a bucket for mixing and a bag of mortar cement.

When you are ready to start mortar repair, mix the sand with the mortar cement. Follow the instructions on the bag of cement to create the right consistency. The mortar bag looks just like a cake decorator’s bag and works just the same. Add the cement mix to the bag, and then carefully squeeze the cement into the cavity you are repairing. The mortar should be 1/2” (1.3 cm) above the surrounding brick surface.

Spray the mortar with water every day for the next two to three days as is sets and hardens. On the second day, scrap off the excess mortar with your trowel. To age your cement, take a teabag of black tea and soak it in water for three to four minutes and wipe the teabag across the mortar. The tannin in the tea will dye the cement a light brown. Reapply as often as necessary so that the mortar matches existing.

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