Jun 28, 2014
Category: General
Posted by: davidbannon
Good news, Glenn has just dropped off the blocks I was missing.
Jan 1, 2014
Category: General
Posted by: davidbannon
Wow, the mortar additive finally arrived. 12 months after it was ordered, maybe six months after being paid for. How good is that ? All I am waiting for now is the Exterior Sealer.....
CMS - 1.12.2 - Kolonia


Mortar for your Timbercrete Blocks – pretty important that you get it right !

I, as an amateur brickie, found that this works for me. Your experiences may be completely different ! First, you will need a concrete mixer, don’t even dream of mixing your mortar by hand. Don’t go for too big a machine unless you are convinced you can lay blocks faster than I can (OK, thats not hard, maybe you can!). We found, during stage one, that with my wife and I putting in a reasonable day, not “busting a gut”, we could lay 40 blocks. This would be done in four “loads”, each load consisted of -

  • 4 litres of lime
  • 4 litres off white cement
  • 12 Litres of brickies sand
  • 12 Litres of paving sand (more on this later).
  • 4 ‘scoops’ of yellow ochre.  (check that quantity)
  • 4 ‘scoops’ of water proofing agent.

Oh, you say, not shovel loads ? No, leave that sort of measurement to the pros, we are amateurs, we need to be sure we have it right !

That will lay about ten full size blocks, bit more if your joints are thin, bit less if they are thick. Probably take you an hour and a half, in cooler weather, thats OK. In hot weather, you will find the brew stiffening up and you might struggle to finish all ten. So, make sure before you pour, you have everything ready ! String lines up, blocks near to hand, tools ready, any cutting done, phone off, bladder empty.

 More Details ?

Sand – better get this right. Timbercrete recommend a 50-50 mix of brickies sand and a courser, washed sand with particles up to 6mm. Now, your average sand supplier will listen to you while you say this but will only hear “brickies sand” and “something courser”. They are pretty used to supplying sand for bricklaying and you are, quite frankly, no very convincing. In stage two I had delivered a metre and a half of brickies sand and the same quantity of a slightly course stuff. I then had to move the slightly courser stuff away and re order. When the truck arrived the second time, surprise, the same “slightly courser” stuff again! Eventually I had “paving sand” delivered, ask to see it, look for the bigger lumps and don’t, no matter what, mix your mortar with all brickies sand. It will end in tears !

At the time of writing this, the Timbercrete Building Manual is not on their website. It used to say that sand suppliers know all about Tibmercrete and will jump as soon as you mention it, wishful thinking I suspect.

Cement – I used “off white”, its a lighter colour than the standard and cheaper cement. Its easier to stain to a colour to match the blocks however. We chose to try for a colour pretty much like the block colour, if you want something more contrasty, then better be prepared to experiment. Honestly, mortar in the same colour as the blocks makes laying heaps easier !

Process – OK, you really want the details then ?  Using one litre scoops  (no, sorry, don’t know where they came from, my late wife obtained them) put in 4 L lime, then 4 L cement, then 4 L of each sand into a dry mixer. Turn the bloody noisy thing on and see how dusty it gets. While its dry mixing, add an 8L bucket of each sand. Try not to breath in too much of the mortar / lime dust, I am sure its not good for you.

When the dry stuff has had a few minutes, start spraying water in, remember the old adage, its a lot easier to add more water than to take some out !

Do let it mix for a good few minutes, ten or more. If I could tell you exactly how much water you need, or how wet the brew needs to be, I would. But I cannot ! You must learn to get it right ! Sorry about that.

Too wet and your joints will crack as they dry out, too dry and its bloody hard to lay, maybe not as sticky too ? Further research is indicated…..

When it has had a good mix, pour into a good solid wheel barrow and do a through job of cleaning the mixer. I repeat, clean the mixer !

The mortar should drop into your barrow without flowing to the edges.

Previous page: Brick Spacing  Next page: Laying Timbercrete Blocks