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HOW LONG DOES MORTAR TAKE TO DRY?

WHAT IS MORTAR?

“Mortar is a bonding agent which is generally produced by mixing cementing or binding material (lime or cement) and fine aggregate (sand, surki, sawdust, etc.) with water.” – Civil Engineering. Here at SLBC Ltd, Mortar is our best friend… Being bricklayers, we couldn’t really go a day without it! Mortar has been used throughout history for thousands of years, by the ancient Egyptians, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and more in helping to build the most famous landmarks across the globe including the Pyramids[1] [2] [3].

WHAT IS MORTAR USED FOR?

It’s important to note that different jobs require different types of mortar, at SLBC Ltd, we use pre-mixed mortar from a Silo when building. Mortar’s main purposes include:

  • Binding bricks or stones together to create structures.
  • Fill up joints between brick or stone to give a clean finish and improve appearance.  
  • Can be used for ornamental purposes.
  • It is used in concrete matrix.

HOW LONG DOES MORTAR TAKE TO DRY?

Mortar takes around 36 – 48 hours to dry, however, it can take as little as 12 hours depending on the weather and airflow etc. Now, in Scotland, we don’t usually have the ‘set too quickly’ problem because of our humid climate! In fact, most of our issues stem from having to keep our mortar dry by covering over any structures which have just been built when it rains (which happens a lot in the West of Scotland)! There are other factors which impact the length of time it takes mortar dry and cure including:

Temperature

When the temperature is too low, the cold can affect the hydration of the mortar, causing it to freeze and crack and impacting the mortar’s ability to cure properly. You can read more about what bricklayers do in the winter here.

Mortar Mix Ratio

Mixing mortar is a fine art, which is why most of the time on site our mortar is pre-mixed. Putting too much or too little water into a mortar mix can significantly impact the time it takes to dry and cure, can make the mortar much harder to work with and in worst cases, the mix becomes unusable.

REFERENCES

[1] Civil Engineering (2023). What is Mortar? Available from: https://civiltoday.com/civil-engineering-materials/mortar/66-what-is-mortar-mix-definition

[2] Hoare, C. (2021) Egypt’s Great Pyramid built with incredible mortar technique that ‘set like concrete’. The Express (8 May 2021). Available from: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1432966/egypt-great-pyramid-construction-giza-plateau-blocks-river-nile-quarry-archaeology-spt

[3] RICS. (2019) Building history: bricks and mortar. Available from: https://www.isurv.com/info/390/features/11968/building_history_bricks_and_mortar


Disclaimer

Please note that the information on slbcltd.co.uk is designed to provide general information on the topics presented. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for professional services.