How to Mix Mortar and Cement

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How to Mix Mortar and Cement
The history of cement goes back to ancient civilisations, such as the Egyptians and Greeks. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Whether using mortar and cement for basic garden projects or large building projects, the principles of mixing mortar and cement are the same. Most mixes you find at your local home store are of the just-add-water variety. Still there are techniques you can use to minimise messes, get the strongest mortar/cement and ensure the integrity of the project. While additives can be added to mortar/cement mixes, doing so will require the instructions that come with the additives.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Mortar Mix
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Large wood board
  • Strong plastic sheeting
  • Shovel
  • Washing liquid

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Read the package directions for your cement/mortar mix. Pre-made mixes have ranges of mixing instructions dependent on your needs.

  2. 2

    Choose the proper mixing ratio for your project. Higher water content is used for general purpose projects while lower water ratios are used for blocks, bricks and slabs.

  3. 3

    Lay out a large wooden board that has been covered with duty plastic sheeting. This will serve as your mixing area. The plastic sheeting will help to keep the mixture together.

  4. 4

    Fill your bucket with the proper amount of water and a few drops of washing liquid or dish soap. This will act as a plasterer.

  5. 5

    Pour your desired amount of mortar/cement on to the centre of the mixing board that has been covered with plastic sheeting. Use a shovel to clear a hole in the centre of the mortar/cement mix.

  6. 6

    Add a small amount of the designated water in the bucket to the cleared hole in the centre of the water.

  7. 7

    Turn the mortar/cement mixture into the middle, soaking up the water. Continue to add water and turn the mixture until you have reached the desired consistency. The mortar/cement is now ready to use.

Tips and warnings

  • Mixed mortar/cement should be used within 30 to 60 minutes to avoid it drying out.
  • Once applied, allow three days for the mortar to set completely.
  • Cover the project with plastic to keep the mortar from drying too quickly as the mortar will be stronger when it dries slowly.
  • Additives are available to provide waterproofing and colour to the mortar mixture.
  • When using mortar/cement in the winter, cover the mixture during frosty weather to protect it from freezing.

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