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How to build with Lime Mortar

Why Build With Lime Mortar?

Lime was traditionally used for mortar up until cement came about, when its use started to decrease. What we now know is that cement is not ‘breathable’, and consequently traps in moisture. Trapped moisture can seriously damage walls, and leads to damp patches on interior walls. Yet cement is still used today – unknowingly creating an environment prone to trapped moisture.

Lime mortar should be used along with sand to create a wall with high vapour permeability (breathable). This means that moisture can escape the walls, and prevents damp damage. Under no circumstances would we recommend mixing Portland cement with lime, as it does not have any beneficial factors – it just defeats the object of using lime.

How do I mix lime mortar?

Lime mortar can be mixed in a mixer, or in a container with a paddle mixer. We usually use around 3:1 with sand and lime, though the ratio varies from person to person.

Heres a handy video we created to show you how to mix lime mortar:

The image below shows how lime mortar should look. The colour can often vary as some mortars have pigments in them, and the colour varies from different brands of lime. We used Singleton Birch NHL 3.5.

How lime mortar should look

Applying the mortar to the bricks

Below are a few images to show you how we apply the mortar.

How we apply lime mortar

Applying mortar to wall

Mortar onto brick





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  1. Regarding the mixing process, I found from experience that mixing by hand [even small quantities] does NOT give good results. Better to use a mixer and leave it mixing for 15 minutes gives better results than by hand. It may look thoroughly mixed but the texture is not the same when you use a machine. You just cannot get to that ‘creamy’ texture by hand.

    Invest in a mixer and give it plenty of time in the bowl. I shall try adding a ttrowel of putty next time to give it a more ‘fatty’ texture and see how that performs.

    • Hi Mike,
      we find that using a paddle mixer drill attachment works great for mixing lime mortar.
      let us know how it turns out regarding using a trowels-worth of putty!

      Thankyou for your comment!
      Kind Regards,

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