Mortar in building construction

Some time back it had become common for pundits to talk about brick and mortar or click establishments as though they are mutually exclusive. As a matter of simple fact, it has been proved beyond a doubt that, they are not. This point was recently driven home by the well-received news of the acquisition of Whole food Inc. by is no doubt, then that brick and mortar enterprise are here to stay .Which is why its high time we said a few great things about mortar per se.Embed from Getty Images

When you are constructing a building wall you need material that can hold together the bricks, stones or concrete blocks and the courses. That material is mortar- which happens to be an aggregate mix of sand and cement. When this super combo is mixed with water, a chemical reaction –hydration- takes place causing the mix to set. Because this is  a chemical, not physical reaction, mortar that has   set cannot be  diluted  by adding  extra  water  to  make  it easy to work with if  has  too much cement. The chemical reaction has already occurred and any additional water will  only work against you by reducing  the long term strength of the mortar.

An alternative to above recipe, is the aggregate   mix of sand and lime plus water. This formula gives mortar that sets through a process called carbonation- in which the lime hardens by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

However if you need the best mortar, you got to use an aggregate mix of sand, cement, lime plus water. The  inclusion of lime  not  only  makes  the mortar  more elastic  and  easier to  work with but also  improves its ability    to accommodate  movements  caused by  weather related heat loss and gain.

Mortar strength is varied by increasing the proportion of cement in the aggregate mix. However  weak  mortar  is  preferable  because  it  experiences small   shrinkage  on setting and  can cope well with  movements caused by   weather  related  heat  and moisture variation in the environment. Also weak mortar results in minor cracks at joints which can easily be repaired.

Mortar that is  too  weak  is  an albatross across  your neck  because   it’s  easier  for  water  to  penetrate and can crush under  high  compression    loads. This alone can the reason why your building may  pose a high risk of collapse.

©2017Copyright: East Africa Little Hardware Ltd

Sources: Construction of houses by Duncan Marshal and Dereck Worthing


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.