Mixing Concrete and Mixing Grout Mistakes

We have carefully prepared the top 7 mistakes made mixing concrete and mixing grout and how to avoid them.

1. Making the mortar that is too dry. The mortar does not stick to the trowel and results in a poor bond. Measure three parts sand to one part masonry cement. For a basic mortar mix, you’ll want to mix essentially three parts of sand for every one part of cement you use. If you’re mixing up a whole bag of cement, that’ll mean you’ll use three times that amount of sand, which will result in a big batch of mud. Only mix up as much as you’ll need.

2. Use the right amount of water. A bag of mortar should be mixed with about five quarts of clean water to achieve the right consistency. The amount of water used can vary drastically depending upon the weather, the environment, and the variety of mix you’re using, so read the instructions carefully before adding water.

3. Always wear the proper safety gear when handling mortar. Getting dry concrete in your eyes, lungs, or on your hands can be very painful and dangerous. It’s very important to wear gloves any time you’re handling mortar, as well as safety glasses, and a face-mask when you’re mixing up the dry cement. It can have a tendency to cloud up and get in your face, and is very hazardous to the lungs. Use caution and always equip yourself safely.

4.Use the correct sand and mortar. Using a fine-grade masonry sand for the job is more appropriate than other varieties, and using fresh unopened bags of cement will be more effective than using older bags. Be careful not to  mix small stones and pebbles into your mortar mix. This will cause serious problems when trying to apply  faux stone to a surface. Be sure to use proper brick sand when mixing your masonry.

5. Add a small amount of water periodically.  When mixing concrete remember that mortar dries quickly, which is partially why it’s effective and so good to work with. You can lay stone as fast as you can keep up with it. Eventually, the mortar on your board will start to dry out some, so it’s helpful to keep a small cup of water with you to drip a little on and mix up with your trowel to keep that good consistency.

6. Mixing too much at one time. Make only enough mortar to last you about 2 hours max as any longer and the mix tends to dry out and become unworkable even if you add a tiny amount of water to what you’re using. Plan out your work project carefully and only mix as much as you’ll need for the job at hand. You won’t be able to use it later.

7. Clean mixer and tools at the end of the day. Don’t neglect cleaning your tools. Electric mixers especially can become bogged down if you haven’t done a good job cleaning off the dried-up cement. There shouldn’t be too much of it if you’ve been mixing properly, but there’ll be some.