How to Mix Mortar and a Table of Mixes for Different Types of Mortar

Summary: How to mix mortar for a range of different uses, including house walls, paving and chimneys. Mortar mixes table which describes the different mixes to create the type of mortar that you need. Advice on the correct procedure for mixing mortar.

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This table is only a guide and is prepared from the mixes we use. You may prefer to build retaining walls, for example, out of sharp sand and cement alone. We have added lime to allow the walls to breathe a little. A colouring can be added to the mortar to match any existing colours and this should be added to the cement before it is mixed with sand and water. The correct procedure for mixing mortar is shown below.

See also our matching sand and cement mortar project for how to match new pointing etc to old. Our project on repointing brickwork may also help.

Application Cement Builders (soft) sand Lime (if chosen) Sharp sand
House walls - bricks 1 5 2  
Ditto Blocks 1 5 1  
Retaining walls brick 1 3 2 1
Ditto blocks 1 3 1 1
Coping stones and cills 1 2 ½ 2
Chimneys 1 5 2  
Haunching for chimneys 1   1 4
Joints for paving 1 3    
Bed for paving slabs 1     6
Pointing brickwork 1 3 2  
Floor screed 1     4
External render 1st coat 2 1
Ditto 2nd coat 2 2

Mixing the Aggregate

Pouring mortar mix into sand ready for mixing

Pouring mortar mix into sand ready for mixing

Mixing mortar and sand together

Mixing mortar and sand together

Add water to the sand and mortar mix and continue to mix

Add water to the sand and mortar mix and continue to mix

Having mixed the aggregates (soft and sharp sand + lime) together, form a circle with the mixture and hollow out the centre. Tip or shovel in the required amount of cement. Mix together shoveling in towards the centre. When the complete mix is one uniform colour, hollow out the centre once again. Tip water into the centre. Start with ½ a bucket and (after the first mix you will learn how much water your mix will take, until then you may have to keep adding it in small amounts. It is much better to have too little and add some more, than to have too much. Mix everything into the middle once again and keep "turning over" until the whole mix is an even colour and consistency. All tools required to mix mortar, lay patios and build walls can be bought from our tool store below.

Turn the sand and mortar mix over on itself to mix thourghly

Turn the sand and mortar mix over on itself to mix thourghly

Add small amounts of water using a watering can to the mix to ensure the right consistancy

Add small amounts of water using a watering can to the mix to ensure the right consistancy

Don't fancy doing this project yourself? We work with Checkatrade to ensure that we recommend only reliable and trustworthy tradesmen.

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