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Old 08-05-2009, 01:37 PM   #1
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Matching mortar color

Okay, so Im tuckpointing my 1930's home and I purchased a pre-mix tuckpoint mix which is a Type "O". ( It says it was made to match old mortar...maybe in content, but no way in color.

The old mortar on my house resembles an ivory color now due to weathering and no matter how Ive tried I cannot duplicate the color exactly and the main problem I see is due to the lime content in this pre-mix. Ive used a light buff(brown) mortar color added to the mix and it is almost a match to the ivory now, but the "brightness" from the lime is very apparent still and I just cannot tone it down without going darker.

So it appears as though my only solution is to premix the mortar myself, maybe a Type "N" and use less lime.......thoughts?


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Old 08-05-2009, 03:41 PM   #2
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The type and colour of sand used has a big say in the colour of the mortar. You can get a rough idea of the type used by soaking a sample of the original in acid which will leave you with some sand. The type of lime used will also affect the colour.
The problem with matching mortar is that even when you get a good match, it will change colour over time, especially when oxide pigments have been added. When mixing up a few samples soak some of the original mortar with water to give you a better idea of the colour compared to what you are mixing. Leave the samples for as long as possible for the colour to stabalise. Adding a small amount of black pigment can help age mortar slightly. Aim to have the mortar slightly darker than the original as it will lighten in time. Soot mixed with paraffin and applied to the finished joints with a rag is sometimes used by conservationists when working on very old houses with lime mortar joints.


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Old 08-06-2009, 05:21 AM   #3
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' giant ' cement has pre-mix'd mortars for repointing,,, have forgotten their location,,, either write for the sample kit or follow the 1st respondent's suggestion
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Old 08-23-2009, 11:58 AM   #4
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So after much mixing, researching and experimenting, Ive finally found a good match.

I ended up also going to a job site and talking with a tuckpoint mason who basically confirmed a mix he uses, that I also had read in an excellent article here:

I ened up purchasing the sand, lime, grey and white cements myself and mixing it up. I was having a hard time matching and had thought by going with a Type "N", could eliminate the brightness of the lime, but as confirmed by the mason, it is harder to achieve a good color match with that mix. As soon as I reverted back to the Type "O" mix, it fell right into place. Follow the directions in that article for a type "O" mix. And yes, half white, half grey cements works out beautifully. What worked for me, was adding a quarter cup of light buff Solomon mortar color to that mix. This takes out that lime "brightness" and takes the mix closer to that "ivory" color.

Im basically doing patchwork and there are places, that I have to look closely, to see where I actually did some work, its that close of a mix. Others are more noticeable, but thats because the old mortar is just a shade different in various places (more weathered).

So hope that helps anyone in the future who may be looking for a solution.
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:12 PM   #5
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If you make it match when it is fresh, it will not match when it cures out. If you get it half-assed closed, it will match down the road. Better to just tuck corner to corner and not worry about spending too much time and effort trying to do the almost impossible.
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