Mortar Analysis & Matching
Services by *Alamo Masonry
Brick Repair Guide - This is the best and most complete do it yourself guide to brick repair. It will help you to locate replacement bricks if needed, determine which materials are needed, how to match your mortar, and more.
Mortar Testing is needed to identify the original mortar type.
Why you need mortar analysis for testing and matching mortars...
The obvious is a mortar color match. If the color of new mortar doesn't match the existing mortar, the repair doesn't look good and will always look like a repair. This is a simple test to analyze the mortar color and match it. However, a true mortar color match requires more than just the colors. You need to match the mortar type and its composition formula to get the best results. To learn more about mortar matching, visit or page about matching mortar.
Mortar Composition Matching
Analyzing and matching the composition of the mortar is not an obvious part in matching mortar, but is important to matching the color. A mortar's composition determines the mortar type, crushing pressure, and changes the base tones of the mortar and texture of mortar.
When mortar is not tested and matched properly, there are several common side effects. These include: mismatched mortar color, cracks reforming in mortar, cracked bricks, bricks or mortar popping loose, among many more.
Mismatched mortar color tends to happen for several reasons, but the most common are as follows. First, the mortar composition changes the base tones of the mortar and how pigments react in the mortar. Second, the color and graded particle size of the sand changes the texture and color tones of the mortar.
Recracking of mortar, or cracks reforming in the same areas tends to result from the different mortar types. This actually causes many other problems, including cracked bricks and mortar popping loose. This is because each mortar type has a different crushing pressure and rate of flexural properties.
When a new mortar is harder than the existing mortar, it tends to pop loose, crack the brick around the area, recrack because the new mortar is unable to bond to the old mortar and the old mortar was designed to be softer than the masonry units like brick or tile.
When the new mortar is softer than the existing mortar, it will bond into the mortar joints, but also tends to crumble and recrack in areas repaired because it is not hard enough to carry the load pressures of the wall.
The only way to minimize these effects is to properly match the mortar. This can only be done through testing of mortar samples and mortar analysis.
Mortar analysis is a detailed procedure of testing and analyzing the composition and performance of mortars. It is often used in matching mortar, testing the quality of mortar, determining the mortar type and composition of mortar samples and creating a formula for a suitable repair mortar, identifying if a proper mortar was used to install masonry units, or compare two mortar compositions.