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Mortar Matching for Brick Repair
Brick Repair-Fixing Mortar Cracks and Deterioration
Brick repair is the process of fixing cracked or deteriorated bricks and mortar. The procedure generally involves removing some bricks and the damaged mortar between them, but in some cases, it can become more complex. While this process is relatively simple, there are two areas where attention to the detail is crucial. These are in the matching of bricks for replacement and matching the mortar.
Brick Repair Mortar
Most people and contractors give great effort to matching the replacement bricks for brick repair and get a close or exact match, but make very little effort to matching the mortar for masonry repairs. When matching mortar, there are many assumptions made. Most brick repair companies make an effort to match the color of the mortar and consider this mortar matching.
This method is the common practice, but cannot work. The brick repair contractor is assuming the mortar type and the ingredients of mortar mix going into the mortar. While most newer construction is Type "N" mortar mix, there may be alterations of the ratio at any part that change the mortar type. It could be as simple as the ratio of sand to mix and it changes the crushing pressure, bonding, texture and mortar type.
Many brick repair specialists get offended when I say assuming the ingredients and that they don't know what they are mixing. This is because they believe they know due to their years of experience doing masonry repair incorrectly.
Brick Repair/Mortar Matching
Matching Mortar Color
The most common method to matching mortar color is to mix small portions of large bags of prepackaged white and grey type N mortar mix. This allows making smaller amounts of mortar for small brick repairs and to adjust the tone of grey to white mortar. However, these bags clearly state that you must mix the whole package with a certain amount of sand to meet the specified mortar type and astm test standard of the labeling. This is because the ratio of Portland, lime, and sand determine the mortar type and how it performs as a mortar.
It is assumed that the content of these bags are evenly mixed, but this is not possible. These bags of mortar mix contain Portland and lime, and sometimes ash or retardants such as detergents. Each ingredient having different weights. (Portland weighs nearly twice as much as lime.) Similar to a centrifuge used for separating blood by weight, or shake tables for extracting gold, the vibration of transport from manufacturing to the distribution warehouse to the retail store to the job site, separates these materials by weight inside of the package. Therefore, measuring out any part of the packaged material is breaking the ratio of its design, and there is no way of knowing how much of any ingredient is being measured. This is why the brick repair guys don't know what they are mixing, or why it crumbles or damages the bricks when it pops loose due to not bonding properly.
Matching Mortar for Brick Repair
How to match brick mortar for repair
How to match mortar
AMR Labs provides mortar analysis for brick repair with the optional color match (mortar matching). We also have many brick repair products to assist individuals or contractors including brick repair training videos, The Brick Repair Guide, and small bags of custom matched mortar that are made specifically for brick repair and blended to match the formula of your existing mortar.
Brick Repair Products
Brick Repair Products by AMR Labs make repairing brick mortar cracks easy and accurate.
Your order can be processed online and pay with your credit card, or you can send a check with your samples to AMR Labs 1525 Corona Dr. Granbury, TX 76048. Be sure to include your contact information with your samples and payment receipt/check.
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Do-It-Yourself Brick Repair/Tuckpointing
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