Brick & Mortar Research Laboratory

Experts in bricks, pavers and masonry mortars

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Bulleen 3105
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Mortar testing

Mortar composition AS 2701.7

The Australian Standard AS3700 Masonry Structures specifies, among many other things, the requirements for the composition of brickwork mortar for a given situation. The proportions of cement, sand and lime that are supposed to be used depend on the location of the building (eg how close to the coast it is) and where the mortar is in relation to the damp-proof course.

For instance, below the damp-proof course the mortar should normally be M3 grade, which would typically be made of 1 part of cement, 1 of lime and 6 of sand, by volume. This mortar should be strong and durable enough to resist the damaging effects of salt in the ground water, whereas a mortar with less cement in it may suffer damage from the salt crystallisation.

BMRL is able to test your mortar by chemical analysis to determine how much cement, lime and sand is present, and then work out whether it meets the requirements of AS3700 or not. Recommendations can also be made, if the mortar isn't up to scratch, on what should be done to rectify the situation. So, if you suspect the mortar in your house is not what it should be, ring or email us.

We can also test the brick sand. By measuring the particle size grading and clay content, we can tell how suitable a sand is for use in mortar or render.