By Michael Hammett
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Add the lime and sand and any plasticizer. Continue mixing, adding water as required. In general, a mixing time of three to five minutes after all ingredients have been added will be sufficient to get uniform consistency. When plasticizers are used, prolonged mixing will cause excessive air entrainment, which will be detrimental to mortar strength, adhesion and durability. A mini tilt-drum mixer. Mixing by hand should be done with a spade or shovel on a clean watertight surface. 2m2 is convenient.
They also affect the colour of the mortar. When matching existing brickwork, matching the mortar is as important as matching the bricks. Even when matching is not necessary, choice is preferable to leaving its appearance to chance. The effect of coloured mortar – the bricks are the same throughout, the joints were ‘pointed’ with three different mortars. It is obvious that mortar is an essential component of brickwork, nevertheless its technicalities are often misunderstood and scant attention is paid to its proper specification and use.
BRICKS OF SPECIAL SHAPE Normal format bricks can be used to build most brickwork, even quite decorative and intricate forms, but brickmakers also produce accessory bricks of various shapes and sizes that are referred to as ‘specials’. These are used to turn corners other than at a right angle, form curved work, arches, chamfered edges, splayed plinths, sills, cappings and copings. Some of these forms can be built by cutting normal bricks and piecing them together in the work, but this can be very complicated and requires considerable skill to obtain a satisfactory appearance.