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Repointing (Mortar Repair)
Mortar Analysis & Matching
Cracks, Settlement & Leaks
Deteriorated Masonry
Masonry Cleaning & Paint Stripping
Historic Stuccos & Renders
Chimney Problems
Changing the Color of Masonry
Water Repellents


Western US Office
Salt Lake City, Utah
(801) 505-4977

Eastern US Office
Boston, Massachusetts
(781) 488-3088

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Expert Assessments of
Historic Masonry

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Mortar that does not match looks bad and will not endure the test of time.


Think about it. Up to 30% of most masonry walls are made up of mortar. Because a wall is "only as good as its weakest spot," selecting the correct mortar mix for your wall is of paramount importance. It is unwise to underestimate the importance of this decision! If an inappropriate mortar is used, rather than preserving the wall, it will actually accelerate the rate at which the masonry deteriorates. Knowing the performance characteristics and ingredients of the original mortar is the wisest place to start.

After your mortar is analyzed, a professionally crafted mortar recipe that appropriately matches the original gives you peace of mind that your repointing project will not only endure the test of time, but it will look good, too.

A relatively small amount of money invested in a mortar analysis and/or a professional mortar match at the beginning of your project will save a lot of money over the life of the wall.

Define Your Objectives

The single most important place to start when approaching mortar analysis and matching is to define your primary objectives for the matching. Answers to these three questions are of utmost concern:

  1. How important is it to you that the ingredients of the mortar mix be historically accurate?

  2. Would a mortar mix that is sympathetic and compatible with the surrounding masonry so it works well be sufficient?

  3. Do you need a close visual match?

Abstract Masonry Restoration has the expertise you need to help you answer these questions appropriately. Contact us for additional information.





Frequently Asked Questions
about Mortar Analysis & Matching:

Question: What do I learn from having my mortar analyzed?

Answer: Depending on the level of detail you require, you learn:

  • Your mortar's original composition.

  • The ratio of binder (usually, but not limited to, lime and/or cement) to aggregate (usually, but not limited to, sand).

  • The sand's characteristics:

    • Color
    • Shape
    • Particle Size Distribution
    • Void Ratio (Space Between Particles of Sand)

  • The physical properties of the mortar.

  • Compressive strength (hardness).

  • Water vapor permeability (how water vapor moves through mortar).

Question: Should I have mortar analyzed before the wall is repointed or repaired?

Answer: Not always. Considering the original mortar's age and the environmental conditions it has been exposed to, if it has not performed well there is no reason to replicate it. On the other hand, if the original mortar has performed well over time, there may be no reason to change it and a professional mortar analysis may be a good idea. However, the answers to the above statements are complex and should be discussed with an experienced professional who has a sound understanding of historic masonry materials science. Contact us for help.

Question: How much does it cost to have my mortar analyzed and/or professionally matched?

Answer: It depends on the level of detail you feel is necessary and how sophisticated an analysis you desire. Contact us for more information.



Mortar matching extends far beyond simply matching color.

Question: What should mortar matching include?

Answer: Correctly matching mortar extends far beyond just matching color. Other important characteristics that can and should be matched are:

  • Texture
  • Physical Properties
  • Hardness
  • Water Vapor Permeability
  • Tooling (Shape of the Mortar Joint)

It is important that repair mortar be matched so that it is compatible with both the surrounding masonry units as well as the contiguous mortar. Formulating the mortar recipe to perform well in the environmental conditions it is exposed to is also critical. Determining these elements should only be discussed with an experienced professional who has a sound understanding of historic masonry materials science. Contact us for help.

Question: Why is matching my mortar important?

Answer: If it is not matched, you run the risk of the new repair mortar:

  • Contributing to the deterioration of the wall instead of protecting it.

  • Not being aesthetically pleasing because the color, texture, or tooling doesn't match the contiguous mortar.

At Abstract Masonry Restoration, we completely understand the grave importance of analyzing and matching mortar on historic masonry repair projects. Contact us for genuine expertise in this regard.

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