Thursday, October 23, 2008

I WAS RIGHT! GRRRRRR!

It IS portland cement mortar. I just couldn't shake the feeling that the mortar "tinkled" when it dropped, that it looked smooth like modern mortar. I looked up the mortar he used: Quickrete Type S Mortar Mix. It's 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 parts masonry sand, 1/2 part hydrated lime, 1 part Portland cement (by volume). GRRRRRR!!

Now, it doesn't say portland cement anywhere on the bag... I had to do some internet sleuthing to figure out it was the wrong mortar.

I am BEYOND frustrated. BEYOND. Either the mason LIED to my face, OR he doesn't know what he's talking about.

I'm never hiring out work again.

10 comments:

ROXY said...

Aggghhh!! That totally sucks! You poor thing. He better fix it! I don't know what's worse, him lying or not knowing his trade. I hate when things go wrong!!

StuccoHouse said...

Hmmm...I am no expert in mortar, but my dad is a structural engineer and he gave a a nice library of old construction books. I was curious about this, so I looked up old mortar recipes. The old recipes for lime mortar say that a small part of Portland cement may be added to shorten curing time. It give a basic recipe used around the mid 1800s with softer brick as: 1 part Portland white cement; 3 parts lime, 10-12 parts sand. As time passed, they decreases the lime & sand and mortar became harder. What you have many not be all that off(?). I'd just tell your guy what you discovered and ask for his thoughts.

Jen said...

I'm also not an expert, but I've done some looking at this article suggests that for restoration work that requires sand and lime mortar, the mix you have (1:2:9) is acceptable
http://www.ihbc.org.uk/context_archive/53/Limemortar.htm

Again, I'm no expert, but it looks like you might be ok.

Jayne said...

I know absolutely nothing about mortar, so I sure hope stuccohouse and jen are right.

Gary said...

Portland cement is a mixture of lime and powdered clay if I am correct. It sets harder and faster than plain old lime. Mortar needs to be softer than the brick that hold. Modern bricks are much harder than old brick so modern mortar is ideal for new brick. If modern mortar is used on old soft brick it can cause them to crack.
I have to use lime mortar on our place. Often I just add lime and sand to ready mixed mortar. Sometimes I mix my own. I have a couple of buckets of lime putty for the purpose. I suggest you go to a brick and block supplier and buy a bag of masons lime which you can slake in some 5 gallon buckets. One 50# bag will give you about two buckets of lime putty. The putty will last for years as long as water covers the surface. You can use it mixed with sand and fibers for plaster repair too.
Scrub the new repair with some muriatic acid which will etch the surface of the mortar and make it look like the previous owner did the repair!

Allie said...

That's so frustrating! Sorry to hear it!

Robj98168 said...

That is frustrating. But never say you are never hiring work out again! Trust me! You will. I say the same thing every time something is hired out- and then start to do something myself and bingo- I am on the phone trying to hire someone! The last time was the roofing contractor- now I am up there fixing the wholes in the siding he and his crew put in the house!

C&C said...

Oh no, I'm so sorry! Stick to your guns and make him fix it. Maybe you can call the owner and have him come out to see the problem? Good luck, I hope it all works out for you.

Jenni said...

I really hate hiring out help...for the same reasons... guess that is why so much remains undone at our house.

The chemistry in the mortar, old brick vs new brick and amounts of lime is just mind boggling.....

B. Williams said...

Are you sure that your bricks were of the old soft variety? I'm not sure but i don't think you have to worry unless your house was built before 1900. Of course I'm not basing that off any known facts it just seems like I've heard that somewhere. The brick patches look really good by the way.