Stronger is Not Always Better For Concrete Building Repair
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Stronger is Not Always Better For Concrete Building Repair

Mortar strength testing involves compressive pressure measurement

Mortar strength testing involves compressive pressure measurement

You might think that stronger is always better for concrete building repair, but as far as mortar goes, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, moderate and even slightly lower strength mortars are preferred over higher strength varieties. Lower strength mortars allow a greater amount of deformation under pressure, as well as the ability to adjust to small amounts of movement and flexibility without cracking. This property is referred to as the “modulus of elasticity”.

Generally speaking, the greater the strength of a mortar, the greater its modulus of elasticity. While this may seem like a good thing, it actually means that high strength mortar allows lesser amounts of movement, and can crack more easily.

Mortar is made up of three parts – aggregates, water, and a binder. Binders include cementitious materials, such as portland, blended, or masonry cement, along with lime. Alone or in combination, the binders react with water, set, and harden.

In order for mortar to be most effective in concrete building repair, it needs to be mixed with the maximum amount of water that is appropriate for the given ambient conditions and placement needs. This enables the optimal amount of strength for a given project, and allows for the natural movement, expansion, and contraction that occur over different weather conditions. An experienced mason, along with the person in charge of mixing the mortar, will decide the best consistency required for the job at hand to assure an effective application and long-lasting result.

For more information regarding concrete building repair, contact Abbot Building Restoration at 617-445-0274.

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