How to Mix Mortar
A mortar mix can vary depending on the users requirements. It can be made to suit colouring or to strength. If the mortar is to be used on a brick wall or block wall and which is not near to existing work then a colour match isn’t a priority. However, colour consistency should be maintained on all facing work and this can be achieved by measuring all quantities, perhaps with a bucket. This how to shows you the basic technique.
1- Set up your mixer following the manufacturers instructions. For this exercise lets assume that the mortar is to be used to build a block wall which is to be plastered, therefore the mortar will never be seen, meaning both sand and cement do not have to be measured quantities.
2- For one wheel barrow of mortar start by adding half a regular bucket of water to the mixer followed by one measure of mortar plasticiser, indicated by the measuring function on the bottle. Plasticiser is used to improve the workability of the mortar. Add 8 heaped shovels of sand into the mixer followed by half a bag of cement. This provides a 4:1 ratio which is highly common for structural work. Ratio’s of 3:1 and 5:1 may also be used.
3- Allow the mortar time to mix and avoid the temptation of adding water too soon, once the plasticiser has made its way around the sand and cement a softer consistency will be noticed. Only add water toward the end of mix to suit.
4- Pour the mortar into the wheel barrow. If required water can be added at any point.
Do not add too much plasticiser as this will only weaken the mix
When mixing mortar for facing block work or brick work remember to keep quantities of sand and cement the same throughout to achieve a consistent colour
If using mortar to build a wall it is common practice to use a mortar board (square piece of plywood) to work from.