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Mortar help

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  • Mortar help

    I need some help. I'm not sure what I messed up, but something is not right. I put down my first course yesterday and it looked nice. Today when I came out to start working again I kind of expected the mortar to be hard. It is not. It is not even remotely hard. I can pull pieces off and crumble it in my fingers. With very little force I can take apart bricks The mortar I'm using is Sairbond from HWI, which I bought in dry bags to mix as needed. I bought it at Smith-Sharpe in the twin cities. They said it was what I should use. Clearly I did not do something right. Too much water? I'm not sure what to change or where to go from here. At the moment it seems like I need to pull the whole thing apart which unfortunately won't be hard. Suggestions anyone? I'm stuck until I figure it out.

  • #2
    So a quick search tells me my problem is probably that Sairbond won't work for this. That's a bit frustrating. Looks like I'll start scraping.


    • #3
      I used homebrew, and was kind of surprised how long it took the mortar to really get hard. It was "firm" the next day, but if I took a chunk it would crumble fairly easily. After a couple of days (when it changed color and looked dry) it was hard as nails. I don't know anything about Sairbond, but wanted you to know if you use homebrew it isn't going to get immediately hard either.
      I also had a problem with my first course where I had my bricks too wet and my mortar too dry so the mortar pulled away and I had to redo a few. I used two "tests" to see if my mortar was too wet - it should just start to stick to your trowel without sliding off if you scoop a little up and hold between 45 and 90 degrees, and you should be able to make cuts/ridges in the mortar with your trowel that don't just collapse. My first mortar was too dry like cookie dough and did not stick well.
      My build thread


      • #4
        Thanks for the reply, it is helpful. I ended up scrapping it all off and made some homebrew. I'll give it a couple days and see what the result is. I feel like I wasted an entire day because I didn't search the mortar brand.


        • #5
          I just mortared my 4th chain with homebrew and it seems to work much better a little more wet. When it dries out even a little, it is hard to tap the bricks where they need to go. Every so often I try and use it a little hard and end up scraping it off the bricks and start over. Over all, it is pretty easy to work with.