Working with Mortar

Select your question below

What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required when handling cement based products?

How many standard bricks and blocks does a bag of mortar lay?

When is it best to finish mortar joints?

What product is recommended for filling gaps in paving greater than 3mm?

Can you add placticiser to mortar and does it strengthen the mortar?

Why should a shovel not be used to measure concrete or mortar materials?

How can I tell if I have added too much water to mortar?

How long will mortar stay workable once mixed?

What mortar product should I use to repair my tiled roof?



What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required when handling cement based products?

Always wear the correct protective clothing when handling any product containing cement as it is an alkaline substance in a fine powder form:

  • Gloves - to guard against skin irritation
  • Face mask - to prevent dust inhalation
  • Eye protection - to prevent dust from getting in to eyes
  • Long pants and sleeves - to guard against skin irritation
  • Safety boots - to prevent injuries to your feet when handling heavy items or using potentially hazardous tools

Always separately wash clothes that may be splashed with cement-based products at the end of each day.

back to top

How many standard bricks and blocks does a bag of mortar lay?

A bag of 20kg Mortar Mix will lay 20 house bricks or 10 masonry blocks with a 10mm mortar joint if mixed correctly.  Always read and follow the instructions on the back of the bag.

back to top

When is it best to finish mortar joints?

“Pointing”, raking or finishing  mortar joints should occur only once the mortar has become firm to touch.

back to top

What product is recommended for filling gaps in paving greater than 3mm?

The ready to use Sand & Cement product from our "Just add water" range should be used for gaps greater than 3mm.  You can either sweep it in dry and then use a hose to mist the product or mix it wet and use a trowel to fill the joints.

back to top

Can you add placticiser to mortar and does it strengthen the mortar?

Plasticiser was developed to make mortar more workable or more “plastic”.  Plasticisers that are based on a water reducing admixture action may improve strength, whereas excessive use of plasticisers that entrain air will reduce strength and bond.

TIP – A simple way to tell the difference between a plasticiser and a water reducing admixture is to shake the container. If the liquid produces a froth that does not quickly dissipate, then it is an air entraining product.

back to top

Why should a shovel not be used to measure concrete or mortar materials?

Cement is a dry product and is free flowing whereas damp sand tends to clump together. Cement tends to lie flat on the shovel and has less volume than the sand. Using a shovel does not ensure that materials are measured equally and it is recommended that proportions of raw materials are measured with a container such as a bucket.

Always use an accurate measure to add your water too as the most common mistake made when mixing concrete, render or mortar is to add to much water.

Too much water ruins the strength of concrete, mortar and render.

back to top

How can I tell if I have added too much water to mortar?

One way to tell if you have used too much water in your Cement Australia Mortar Mix is that the mortar squeezes out from between the brick or block joint as soon as you place a brick or block on the bed of mortar.

back to top

How long will mortar stay workable once mixed?

Always use a batch of wet Cement Australia Mortar Mix within 1 hour of mixing.

Do not try to re-temper old mortar by adding more water as this will reduce the strength of the mortar.  Dispose of any spilt mortar thoughtfully.

back to top

What mortar product should I use to repair my tiled roof?

Cement Australia has worked with roofing professionals to develop a mortar mix specifically designed for bedding ridges, barges, and apexes. Roof Tile Bedding Mortar is a ready to use, consistent product which performs equally well in warm and hot temperatures.

One bag, when mixed correctly with 4 litres of water, beds 3 linear metres of ridge or hip tiles.

back to top