You seen one bag of mortar, seen'em all??

Looking to patch up my stone walls, between stones. Was at HD today, must be a half-dozen or more types of mortar -- or, iiuc, "sandmix".
Is there any type/brand particularly good for patching stone walls? Any particular prep? I figger I'll clean out the patch areas with a garden hose, etc. How to get the stuff on/in the vertical wall face is the next challenge..... Any tips?
Along these lines (and of a previous post), I bought two different types of grout, sanded and unsanded. Sanded is like a fine mortar (iiuc), and unsanded is, I presume, very fine particles that don't quite qualify as sand. The former is for gaps 1/8 to 1/2", the latter up to 1/8". So that should cover various slate-type, step repairs, with fine-ish cracks.
Someone had suggested thinset, but the cart was already getting hard to push.... :)
So between the the two grouts and the mortar mix (Sakrete sumpn or other -- I saw the Mexicans buying it, so I figgered, when in Rome, do like the Romans..... LOL), I should have a variety of joint/patch sizes covered.
I also bought some colorant, should my artistic/feminine side peek through....
--
EA




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On Wed, 3 Oct 2012 19:41:49 -0400, "Existential Angst"

I don't have a specific recommendation for you, but you need to choose mortar type carefully when tuckpointing. You want the mortar to be softer than the stone. You don't say what type of wall (basement, retaining, exterior???) or how old the wall is. On old walls lime mortar (lime and sand) rather than cement based mortar is often used because it is softer and won't spall the stone. Most of the bagged mixes at the borg will be portland cement based.
A little google search for mortar mix for tuckpointing stone should provide useful info.
You can use a mortar bag for tuckpointing but most just load up a hawk and use a small trowel to pack the joints.
HTH,
Paul F.
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On Wednesday, October 3, 2012 4:41:46 PM UTC-7, Existential Angst wrote:

Mortar is usually sold in grades M (strongest), S, and N (weakest), and building walls generally need type S. It's not a good idea to use type M because it's stronger than the bricks. If you see pre-mixed mortar with no grade letter on it, assume it's type N, which is not up to code for buildings or high walls. I ended up going to a masonry supply because the person at the home center (not Home Depot or Lowe's) didn't know anything and claimed type N was the strongest mortar. The masonry supply charged the same as the home center.
I found it was easier to fill the joints from a grout bag (like a cake decorating bag, only much bigger and made of naugahyde vinyl upholstery) rather than pushing it in with a trowel from a hawk, especially vertical joints. Most grout bags are sold with a steel nozzle, but its opening is so small the mortar won't flow out, so I use the bag without it. Finish the joints the normal way, with a striker or trowel tip.
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snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

Leave that to drive the point home--
-snip-

I like the grout bag, too.
If there isn't much to do-- I like this stuff, too. http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/4031
Quikrete mortar in a caulk tube. It was the nuts when I repointed my chimneys 6 years ago. I haven't gone up there, since, But I've checked it out from the ground with binoculars and you can't tell what is patch and what is original. [I used 10-15 tubes on 2 chimneys-.]
If you've got a huge job you might look at pointing guns- I think they run 50-100 bucks, but are easier to handle than a mortar bag.
Jim
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Existential Angst wrote:

You should have put back the two bags of grout - neither of which is what you need - and gotten the thinset.
--

dadiOH
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Well, I didn't open them yet.... :)
The reason I didn't get the thinset was because there were *so many* versions, I just didn't know which one to get. They made a lot of pre-mixed thinset in buckets, along with the bags. What in particular should I look for?
Bear in mind that I have three types of repairs: missing mortar in a stone wall, on the order of cubic inches of volume per patch; spaces in flagstone on top of a stone wall (1/8-1/2" wide), and slate walkway cracks of about the same; and very fine cracks around existing slates/mortar in the walkway, patio, porch.
Will thinset do ALL of this, or just the finer cracks?
--
EA




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-snip-

IMO--
I wouldn't touch them. Wait until they are big enough to risk the mess. [or rip them out and re-grout if they bother you]

I'd only use thinset to level and bond- never to patch. [I am *not* a professional- maybe they would]
Jim
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Existential Angst wrote:

I originally suggested thinset because you were having a problem getting regular mortar to stick on your vertical surfaces. I do too. I used thinset 2-3 years ago to stucco over a concrete block garden wall to hide the joints. The wall is about 7' tall by about 50' long. The thickness of the thinset is probably no more than 1/4". It worked well and there have been no problems. As explained earlier, I used it to repair some parts of cap blocks on a garden wall. Pieces had been knocked off by falling limbs during a hurricane. Those repairs were up to 1 1/2" thick and 1-2" wide. Length varied from maybe 1" to 7-8". That was at least 5 years ago and those repairs too are just fine.
Thinset should work fine for all your repairs; the one possible exception is the very fine cracks in the walkway, patio, porch. Whether or not it will work for those depends upon how fine and deep they are...if you can get thinset in them to a reasonable depth it will work just fine.
There is no such thing as pre-mixed thinset. Thinset is a cementatious material and when water is added the water starts a chemical reaction and the thinset hardens. It will be hard overnight but will take about a month to reach maximum strength. The stuff in buckets is an organic paste material. You don't want it.
Regular type m/n/s mortar has sand in it and has a gritty appearance when dried. Thinset dries smooth. If you need a gritty appearance in the larger joints to match better with the existing material, add some sand to the thinset. Or, do the repair and rub some sand in while the thinset is still plastic.
As you noted, there are various versions of thinset; they are thinset with additives. I have never encountered a need for any additive and buy plain old thinset. At Home Depot, it is called "Custom Blend" and sells for about $6.00 per 50 pound (down from 60#) bag.
--

dadiOH
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Existential Angst wrote:

Good luck in getting a meaningful amount of mortar into the tube/pipe.
--

dadiOH
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wrote:

If I had an electric or air powered caulk gun it *might* be worth buying/recycling some empty tubes and making a funnel to fit them---
OTOH- By the time I got a tube filled, I might have already re-mastered the art of the grout bag. If I had a helper standing around it might be worth the time to fill a tube and squirt it with power.
Jim
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