Mortar Analysis and Matching

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Mortar Analysis Testing

Mortar Analysis/Testing/and Matching

Why you need mortar analysis for testing and matching mortars...

Matching brick mortar for repair is the most important aspect in any masonry repair. There are obvious reasons for matching mortar, but the more important reasons are not commonly known.

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.

Through mortar analysis, samples of existing mortar are tested to determine their composition, performance, and ratios. AMR Labs offers many types of mortar testing to meet the needs of your project.

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.

Re-cracking 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, re-crack 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 re-crack 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.

We use and recommend AMR Labs for your Mortar Testing/Mortar Matching/and Mortar Analysis needs.

Most mortar matches are not visible immediately upon drying.

Mortar Testing and Matching Services

Below are the before and after pictures of a project where the old repairs are smeared and used mis-matched mortar, and in the after photo, mortar smears are cleaned off the bricks and the mortar is repaired with matching mortar. You will notice the second picture looks darker. This is because the wall is wet from cleaning and the pictures were taken the same day. The first in the morning with more direct light and the second in the late afternoon when the sun was on the other side of the building.

As you can see, masonry repairs look much better when the mortar is tested and properly matched with our mortar matching services.

Before Mortar Matching Services After Mortar Matching Services