Remodeling Tips and Reviews

How to mix Mortar

How to mix Mortar

Jan 29, 2012

Properly mixing mortar is paramount to how well your project goes and how long your installation last. Whether it is sanded mortar like that used with bricks, or non sanded which is used with tile, the preparation is the same.

You will need a 5 gallon bucket, a powerful electric or cordless drill and a mixing paddle.

Pour about 1/3 of the mortar into the bucket and add enough water to cover the powder. Start to slowly mix the water in. Once the mortar has taken all the water up add more in small increments of a cup or so then less as you get to a puddling like consistency. The goal is get the mortar thick enough so that it will stay on your finger upside down in a blob. If you need to add more water or mix do so to achieve this. Make sure and mix the batch thoroughly, focusing some effort on the very bottom of the bucket where there is sometimes unmixed powder. Make sure there are no clumps.


Step two involves a simple process of allowing the mortar to breath and smooth itself out. By giving the batch you made 7-10 minutes to soak up the water you added you get better adhesion. I always make my mortar right before I get the tiles ready to lay. I then set them up and sweep the floor and look for any problems. By the time I’m ready, my mortar is ready.


I like to take a large quart or so in size blob of my mortar and put it on the floor where I am about to tile and work it back and forth with the toothed side of my trowel. This gets out any clumps that may be present. It also gives me a chance to see if the mortar is the right thickness, If you are having trouble working the mortar than it is too thick. If the mortar is not staying in a combed appearance and is settling back down then you have too much water.