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matching mortar colour to original spec

I have to re point the gaps between some paving stones in a courtyard after some was blasted out by a firm carrying out pressure washing . 

Most of the existing mortar left is sound so its just random areas that need doing but in a prominent place , The original colour is a light buff colour and i need to achleve the same spec as my client is very exacting . 

Local builders merchant was very helpful and pointed me in the direction of ever build mortat tone and a bag of mortar but my question is how easy or hard are the two to mix together to achieve the exact colour . 

what ratio of mortar tone achieves a lighter colour . ? 

Thanks in advance 

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  • its trile and error you will have to do test samples making notes of the mix then let it dry then compair the results with the exsisting 

  • its trile and error you will have to do test samples making notes of the mix then let it dry then compair the results with the exsisting 

  • PRO

    As Dave says it's trial and error.

    You're not clear if a dye has been added to the original mortar.

    In my experience its not often that a dye is used so then it comes down to the sand used. Local builders merchants will have a range on offer such as orange or yellow or where i am red and most builders/landscapers will use sand that is easily available from these local suppliers.

    Sounds to me that it could be a relatively lean mix with a yellow or orange sand. I see plenty of houses done 5:1 where the mortar dries a buff colour.

    Check if the existing mortar has got any grit in it. I use 2 sharp:1 soft:1 cement but plenty of folks point using just soft building sand.

    Got to look for the clues in the existing mortar and then go from there with a series of trials. Colour you describe leads me to think it will be more like a 4:1or 5:1 as 3:1 comes out whiteish/grey when its dry.

    Best of luck and don't forget to add a charge to the quote for the time and materials taken to establish the correct mix.

    • PRO

      Thankyou David & Edward for your advice .

      I was thinking along those lines of trial and error . 

      Its such a small amount i went with what seems to be the quickest fix of mixing the mortar tone with mortar . 

      It is a sandy yellow tone which i am trying to achieve , the existing mortar which has come out is smooth and brittle like plaster , not sure if it throws up any clues . 

      I will do a few mixes beforehand and see out it goes .  The other question i should have asked as David suggests , Will a wet mix dry to a lighter shade or darker . ? 

  • PRO

    As has been said the sand makes a big difference.i bet the original was laid with a locally available sand and no colourants were used.

    • PRO

      Why don’t you try Weatherpoint 365 Buff colour from Travis Perkins;

      Great product.

      • PRO

        Your  product is definitely worth keeping in mind for bigger / future jobs for its no staining no waste value .  Thanks . 

        Have achieved a like to like mix and match  with the ready mix mortar pack and mortar tone , weather permitting it will get done in the next few days .

  • As already said John its the sand that will make the big difference in the colour, my only advice to add would be to ask the homeowner if they have any idea where the sand was purchased from and if they know the merchant or if they are still in touch with the contactor that laid it, you might be in luck that they are using the same quarry for their sand supply’s, in this situation i always try to manage the clients expectations that it is going to be very difficult to get an exact match without knowing the exact mix and sand used as well the ageing factor and if the pointing is to far gone i always offer them the opportunity to completely grind out all the old mortar and start again, this way you can guarantee a nice refurbished patio.       

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