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What is mortar?

Mortar has a widespread range of applications. It is difficult to find a definition taking into account all these different uses. From the technical point of view mortar has to be defined by considering its constituent elements.

Technical definition of mortar: A mixture of aggregates generally with a grain size of less than 4 mm (sometimes less than 8 mm, e. g. mortar for special decorative renders or floor screed mortar) and one or more binders and possibly additives and/or admixtures. Mortar with inorganic binders contains, in addition, water.

What are the functions of mortar?

The most important functions of mortar are:

  • To bind materials together (e. g. masonry mortar and tile adhesive mortar)
  • To provide a level or smooth finish (e. g. floor screed mortar, internal plastering)
  • To protect against weathering (e. g. external rendering)
  • To improve thermal insulation of walls (e. g. external thermal insulation composite systems, thermal insulation rendering mortar, lightweight masonry mortar)
  • To repair and renovate constructions (e. g. concrete repair mortar, damproofing mortar, or renovation mortar)

What types of mortar are in use?

The currently most common types of mortar are:

  • Masonry mortar which is divided into general purpose mortar, lightweight mortar, and thin layer mortar
  • Rendering mortar which is used to protect buildings against weathering and to give them a decorative look. Thermal insulating renders are part of this group.
  • Plastering mortar to finish inside walls
  • Floor screed mortar; mainly self-levelling
  • High-technology dry mortars (tile adhesive, concrete repair etc.)
  • External Thermal Insulating Composite Systems (ETICS)

The following supply forms are common in Europe:

  • Dry mortar in bags or silos
  • Ready-to-use mortar delivered by truck mixers, normally workable 36 hours

Do you need a translation or explanation of terms around mortar or ETICS? Search EMOdico

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