identifying motar

2 Nov 2007
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United Kingdom

Our terrace (red brick) was built in 1896. We are sorting out the fireplace, which is red brick, and I'm unsure what type of mortar has been used for the pointing. I read on the site that it could be lime based due to the age. There are obvious bits of cement repairs, but most of it looks more rough (almost crumbly) and with tiny bits of stone in it. Is this likely to be lime mortar? I don't know if the attached pic helps:

View media item 11120
This motar is a bit darker than usual as we've just cleaned the brick work and it's still damp. Any ideas gratefully received.
Thanks a lot
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It looks like lime mortar. If you are looking to match the colour, the sand has a great effect on it. As its very old mortar, even if you used exactly the same sand and mix, it would take years to change to the same colour.
Therefore to get a similar colour you will have to mix the sands and possibly some cementone. Aim for a similar colour to the wet original, or a little bit darker as it will lighten after a few months. You can do a few test batches if you have the time. Rubbing on a mixture of soot and paraffin is sometimes used by conservationists to darken the mortar slightly, as they don't like using dyes.
You have the option of re-pointing the whole breast to achieve the same colour.
many thanks for such a detailed reply Stuart45. Probably redoing the whole section (it's inside the fireplace rather than the breast) is the better option. I'll experiment, as you suggest.

Thanks again - much appreciated

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