Concrete mixer for mortar?


Old 07-19-13, 04:42 AM
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Concrete mixer for mortar?

So it's settled. Since the only quotes I got were $4k for my walkway (paving stone over concrete), it's officially a DIY job. I'm comfortable with the work, it's just the time I was hoping to save, but not at that price.

Got the Type S mortar mix, cuts and layout ready -- just planning to get ready for when the temps drop down to the 80's instead of the 90+ range.

So, for a Type S mortar used in the setting -- rent a small concrete mixer? One wheelbarrow at a time?

For time reasons, I'm only looking at doing about 25 sqft at a time (and taking my time). But if the mixing is easier and keeps longer to let me work slower, then I'll pursue it.

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Old 07-19-13, 05:34 AM
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Pretty sure you want a mortar mixer....different animal than a concrete mixer.

A mixer will definitely make it easier...but you could use a wheelbarrow. Might be the better choice in fact if you are working slowly by yourself.
Old 07-19-13, 05:41 AM
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How many total cubic yards are you talking about mixing? Renting a mixer and working slow can be expensive. You could even consider buying a small mixer and re-selling it when done.

Old 07-19-13, 05:57 AM
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You can use a cement mixer for mortar but it's not the best. Mortar is sticky and only mixes that are too wet will mix properly by themselves in a cement mixer. If it's a small mixer where you can safely stick your arm in and scrape the mortar off the side with a trowel it can be made to work but a mortar mixer is the proper tool for the job.
Old 07-19-13, 06:17 AM
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I re-pointed a stone farmhouse 20 years ago, found that a mixer made batches that were bigger than one person could apply. Switched to hand mixing using a 5' x 3' steel mixing tub.

Had paving stones in mortar done over a bad concrete pour about 10 years ago.
As of this year I'm going to have to chisel out weak spots- some batches didn't bond with the concrete below or the adjacent batches.

So, I'd be cautious about doing multiple small batches because of bonding between batches.

If you're working in small batches, keeping the open bag of mortar in a 10 gallon bucket with a lid helps.

To keep color continuity across the batches, once you've used about 2/3 of the first bag,
dump the remaining 1/3 into a 10 gallon bucket, open a second bag and mix about 1/3 of the new bag in with the old. Repeat with bags 2 & 3 etc.

Last edited by Hal_S; 07-19-13 at 08:07 AM.
Old 07-19-13, 11:49 AM
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Thanks for the responses.

Good news is that all my type S came off the same new pallet at the stone yard. So color as long as I keep my water amounts precise should be good. I do like the advice of combining bags, though, for consistency.

I will probably hand mix the first batch and see how far I get with one bag and if that feels like a good pace.
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