What is Cement Mortar?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Cement mortar is a building compound created by mixing sand and a selection of aggregates with a specified amount of water. The mortar can be used for a number of applications, such as plastering over bricks or other forms of masonry. Sometimes referred to as sand cement, mortar blends today often incorporate different grades of plastics to create various types of polymer cement mortars.

Mortar has been used for centuries as a means of adhering bricks or concrete blocks to one another. Cement mortar continues to be used in many different types of construction. Professional building projects often employ mortar as the binder between bricks in walls, fences, and walkways. Around the house, this product is often employed to make quick repairs in patio slabs and reset loosened stones or bricks in a walkway or retaining wall. Homeowners sometimes set children’s recreational equipment such as swing sets firmly in the ground, minimizing the chances of the equipment shifting or toppling while in use.


Cement mortar also makes an excellent medium for creating a smooth surface to walls made from bricks and other forms of masonry. The mortar is applied with the use of a trowel and then smoothed into position. Often, the application is conducted in more than one coat, making it possible to slowly achieve a covering that adheres properly to the wall surface. The mortar may be tinted in order to add a small amount of color to the façade or paint can be added as a topcoat at a later date.

The ingredients in cement mortar vary somewhat, depending on the manufacturer specifications. A typical mortar will include both sand and cement, with lime added to the mix. Other types of aggregates may be added, depending on the texture that is desired for the mortar. In recent years, the inclusion of synthetic materials such as polymers have helped to create cement mortar products that provide additional flexibility without negatively impacting the binding powers of the cement mortar.

Purchasing the materials for cement mortar is a simple process. Farmer’s exchanges, lawn and garden shops, building suppliers, and home stores are all likely to carry either the individual components needed to make the mortar or have premixed formulas available for sale. The amount of water to add to the compound depends greatly on the ratio and type of ingredients used in the product, as well as prevailing weather conditions and the intended task. Most premixed products will enclose specific instructions for adding liquid to the contents of the package based on relevant factors.


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How is cement mortar attached to a ceiling without falling down by gravity? --Debmalya M.

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