Mortar has been in use for many thousands of years and is integral to most masonry construction. Its use is widespread in every culture where masonry is constructed. It is present in the majority of the global built cultural heritage, and is therefore a major consideration in building conservation. The effective design of a mortar for repairing masonry depends on a clear understanding of its function. The main functional uses of mortar in masonry are classified as bedding, pointing, grout, render, plaster, flooring and mortars for surface repairs. The requirements that each type of mortar must meet in service depend on its environmental exposure and its role in the masonry element that it is found within (e.g. issues such as historic authenticity, aesthetics, resistance to moisture ingress, structural integrity, and service life). Technical requirements such as adhesion, strength, elasticity, water and vapour transmittance, drying behaviour, thermal dilatation, ability to deal with salt contamination and freeze-thaw cycling, and its aesthetic properties can be quantified. Mortar properties can be adjusted by varying ingredients and their proportions, to meet the differing technical requirements.
Hughes, J. J.
, van Balen, K., Bicer-Simsir, B., Binda, L., Elsen, J., van Hees, R., ... Veiga, R. (2012). RILEM TC 203-RHM Repair mortars for historic masonry: The role of mortar in masonry: an introduction to requirements for the design of repair mortars
. Materials and Structures
(9), 1287-1294. https://doi.org/10.1617/s11527-012-9847-9