Mortar Mix


An elderly neighbour has aked me to replace two imitation Yorkshire stone coping stones (600mm x 300mm) on top of two brick pillars. I have no experience of any bricklaying etc. I have cleaned alkl the old mortar off the tops of the pillars and it was a very hard (stong) mix.
I have seen lots of posts on these groups with regards to 4:1, 5:1, use PVA in the mix etc. What is the best mix for this job and how much will I need? I presume that one bag of the stuff from Been & Queued will be enough but I don't want to buy one bag, mix it up and then find there isn't enough. Also is it better to wet the pillars and underside of the copings so that they don't suck the water out of the mix?
Any help, tips etc. greatly appreciated.
Cheers
John
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For that, I think I'd buy just one bag of the dry ready-mixed sand and cement mortar. The mortar area is about the same as for 14 bricks, minus the perps (verticals), and one bag should easily do that.) It's probably around 4:1 or 5:1. Roll or up-end the bag several times to mix the contents before opening, which is easier than doing it after opening if you aren't using the whole bag.
I wouldn't bother with PVA unless the stone overhangs and might be prone to be knocked off. It's good on copings on top of half brick walls where there's little mortar area and lots of overhang leverage, so they almost always come loose when things bump them or people sit/stand on them.
I wouldn't wet the bricks or stone. Stone won't have much suction anyway, and if the bricks have a lot, they won't be any good outside in the frost anyway.
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Andrew Gabriel
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

You can alway check how absorbent the piers are a few days beforehand.
I'm only a diy brick layer but the mistake I used to make is fiddling about with the joints etc too much too soon. Lay the mortar bed with a few channels in the surface made with the trowel tip. Be bold, place the coping stone straight down on the bed in the right position first time and then tap down level with the handle of the trowel (clean the mortar off first !!). If you are not happy with the position, lift it off, cut away the mortar with the trowel and mix it back in with the rest of your mix and start again. DONT be tempted to slide the stone around much - it will lead to a weak joint. When you are happy with it, cut away any mortar that squeezes out flush with the trowel tip. Then leave it alone for a couple of hours and only then gently clean off any little bits with a soft brush working from the corners inwards.
good luck
Bob
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Re: Mortar Mix

It also comes in plastic tubs for a few pence more which is easier to store it airtight if you only use a bit, and always have some ready for little jobs..
[g]
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writes:

Andrew
I was working on an extension last summer and the bricklayer was wetting the bricks as he said they were too dry and it was too hot.
The bricks were
http://www.beersltd.co.uk/view_product.php?code 000732
They are the ones my parents 40 year old house are built with. I borrowed a few from the builder to replace the ones where my parents old boiler flue used to be.
I suppose the weather makes a difference to wetting bricks.
Adam
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