Mortar analysis is used to determine what was used to create mortar at a historic or other site so that it can be recreated. There are two main types of mortar analysis currently used to determine the components of mortar.
Mortar Analysis 101
Mortar analysis is a very important step of restoring historic buildings. Using acid digestion or instrumental techniques, mortar can be broken down into its individual components for easier recreation.
Acid digestion has been used for decades for mortar analysis. Hydrochloric acid is used to help dissolve the binder holding the mortar together (usually lime or Portland cement) and leave the other components like dirt behind. The remnants can be sieved and sorted to determine what they are. Unfortunately, acid digestion cannot be used to accurately determine proportions of everything in the mixture. However, acid digestion is much less expensive than other types of mortar analysis. It also gives you a lot of information about the sand and dirt used in the mortar.
Instrumental techniques are the other common method of mortar analysis. This uses a variety of high-tech instruments to determine what exactly mortar is composed of. Some of these tools include atomic absorption spectrometers, X-ray diffractometers, and more. While they can detect what mortar is made of with great accuracy, they still cannot tell you the exact proportions. The only way to get expert mortar analysis is by also using an experienced professional.
Where is Mortar Analysis Used?
Mortar analysis can be performed in a variety of different venues, depending on the project. Architectural conservators can perform mortar analysis for historic buildings before a renovation or repointing. Independent laboratories also perform mortar analysis with high-tech methods like instrumental techniques. Finally, professional masonry restoration companies like Del Prete Masonry also perform skilled and accurate mortar analysis.
Your Preferred Masonry Restoration Professional Is Del Prete Masonry
If you are ready to upgrade your home or commercial building with professional masonry installation or replacement, Del Prete Masonry has the experience and expertise to get the job done right for the right price. To explore our residential and commercial services and set up a consultation, please give us a call at 410-683-0650 or contact us online. We currently serve Baltimore City and County, Harford County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County. To see examples of our work and get more updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.