You can send samples of hardened mortar for testing to us at the following address.
1525 Corona Dr.
Granbury, TX 76048
Click here to order/get prices and procedure for mortar testing/matching.
We are making brick mortar cracks disappear. - AMR
Labs is dedicated to matching mortar.
This is why we offer various forms of matching mortar including mortar analysis, mortar testing, sand analysis, mortar composition testing, and custom mortar color matching.
AMR Mortar Matching Services
AMR Labs provides mortar matching services to help you better match mortar for fixing brick mortar cracks and deterioration. When repointing or tuckpointing is needed to repair mortar, it is important to get a repair mortar that is designed for matching the existing mortar to ensure a better bond, match color, match composition formula and ratio, and compressive strength or crushing pressure of mortar. These will all affect the quality of the repair, durability of the repairs, the appearance of the restoration, and can prevent re-cracking, spalling, popping, or additional damage to the bricks.
Matching Existing Mortar
If you already know the mortar type and crushing pressure, and only need to match the color, you can get mortar matching to custom match mortar color. Our mortar matching process uses a base mortar formula for the specified mortar type or crushing pressure, and is adjusted in the tones of grey or white and then with pigments as needed to get a custom mortar match for the old mortar.
This analysis will provide you a recipe for matching the existing mortar sample that includes the base formula for mortar type with adjustments for a matching mortar formula that you can measure and follow, or use for ordering custom mortar mix. This test is often added to our mortar composition testing or mortar analysis to match the mortar color after determining the composition or compressive strength and mortar type.
Mortar Composition Analysis Testing & Matching
When you are needing to identify the properties of mortar or the composition formula or ratio of existing mortar, you will need a more detailed mortar analysis. This is more than a simple color match of the existing mortar.
Mortar analysis breaks down the mortar composition through a series of tests that include examining the physical properties of the cement mortar sample, magnified examination, chemical testing or acid digestion testing. Through analyzing the results of these testing methods, we are able to match mortar composition formula and performance or determine the quality of cement mortars.
Analyzing and testing samples of mortars can be useful in quality control, determining mortar mix composition ratio, comparing samples of mortar, and for matching mortar. With a detailed analysis of mortar composition, we get a precise formula for mortar matching the existing mortar sample tested and can adjust the color pigments as needed for a complete mortar match.
During analysis, mortar samples are tested for their compressive strength, visual analysis under magnification, acid digestion, weight loss, and a visual or sieve analysis of the sand gradation and particles. This is all part of the mortar composition testing.
AMR Labs is an independent mortar testing lab and provides a proprietary mortar testing method that includes several astm testing methods including C-109 crushing analysis, acid digestion, and E-11 sand sieve analysis. However, in our proprietary mortar testing method, we collect additional data that is generally over looked in these tests and combine these results with some scientific mortar testing methods to provide better results than other testing methods can provide.
Mortar Composition Testing/Analysis
If you are familiar with testing mortar and the need for mortar composition testing, then you are aware of the astm C-1324 testing and the preservation brief that provide the common guidelines for repointing masonry and matching mortar composition through testing. But have you completely read this brief? In it you will gain an understanding of the inaccuracy of this testing procedure (C-1324) and why it is limited. It however does not provide an option for a better testing method because none of the commonly used mortar testing analyses can provide reliable results on their own.
This is why we developed our own method for testing mortar samples and due to the reasonable accuracy of our results, AMR N-6324 mortar testing is quickly being accepted by historic preservation organizations, other testing labs, and other governing bodies to be the most reliable mortar analysis for testing mortar composition available.
To better explain "reasonable accuracy", all mortar composition testing is open to interpretation of the testing results. This is one of the biggest regions for errors in testing methods. Our mortar testing process collects more data and calculates the results based on performance of mortar properties, weight loss during digestion, sand shape and gradation, and use of specific gravity of the binder materials found. Therefore, our interpreted results are calculated and we eliminate the probabilities for misinterpretations and provide more reliable testing results for the mortar composition, mortar mix ratio, and formula for making matching mortar.
Sand Sieve Analysis
The sand analysis provides detailed information about the original sand used. This includes a gradation analysis of the sand particle sizes, color description of particles, and identifies the shapes of sand particles used. Through this analysis, we are able to provide recommendations of quarried sand or river sand particle distributions.
Add this test to the composition analysis testing to get a more detailed composition formula with more information about the original sand used in the mortar mix and the ratios of graded particle sizes.
Testing, Analysis, and Matching Historic Mortar
Historic Mortar Testing
Analysis and Matching
When restoring or preserving historic masonry, it is important to match the original composition of mortar mix. This includes the historic lime used in making the mortar if historic lime was used. The difference between type S/SA lime and historic lime particles is the particle size. Historic lime mortars tend to have larger particles of lime due to being slacked on location and not having the finer screens available to separate the larger lime pieces from the mix. When repointing historic mortar, these large particles of lime must be matched in order to match the appearance of the mortar joints.
Additionally, in historic mortars, there tended to be little or no Portland cement used. Portland is added to increase compressive strength, speed setting time or curing of the mortar, and to reduce water penetration. In historic masonry, the amount of Portland used was much lower than the new mortars of today. This was done to protect the bricks and tiles used because they had a much lower crushing pressure than brick today. Bricks were handmade and sun dried in many buildings, and the mortar had to be softer than the bricks to prevent damage if settling occurred.
For this reason, historic mortar testing is needed for matching historic mortar composition and performance. Through historic mortar matching, we can determine the compressive strength of the old mortar and composition formula and ratios to create a similar mortar for repair that will bond to the existing mortar and not cause damage to the masonry units or bricks.
Custom Brick Repair Mortar
Through testing and matching brick mortar, we determine the mortar composition formula and color matching and are able to make custom brick repair mortar to the formula provided, or you can follow the formula and produce the matching mortar on location.
Brick Mortar Analysis
Analysis of the brick mortar allows us to determine the exact mortar formula. This includes the composition of the mortar recipe, and the ratio of proportions of mortar mix to sand. The composition, ratio, and performance of the mortar are all relevant to identifying the mortar type for matching mortar.
Mortar Sample Analysis
Analysis of samples of mortar is the only way to determine the mortar type and formula for matching. The best place to collect a mortar sample for analysis is from the area needing repairs. As the mortar mix may vary around the building, it is important to match the area of repairs, but often one area is close enough for matching the whole building.
You will need to collect a few small pieces or about a cup of mortar sample for analysis. We can work with smaller amounts, but it is best if we have a bit more than needed in the event we need to repeat any tests.
Mortar sample analysis takes about 1-2 weeks to get your results back. This can be a little faster if you include an e-mail and contact information with your samples for testing.