Mortar Applications

Early mortars were produced by calcining limestone in a kiln and slaking it for long periods of time in water, creating lime putty. Now several types of hydrated lime products are available for masonry applications.


This was necessary to enhance the workability and soundness of the mortar. Locally available sand was added to the slaked lime putty to create lime mortar. These mortars were used to construct masonry walls containing brick, block or stone. The lime in these mortars absorbed carbon dioxide from the air to convert it back to its original chemical form (limestone). However, his process was slow and further inhibited in underwater applications.

To increase the speed of construction, pozzolans such as brick dust and volcanic ash were added to lime. Natural cements and hydraulic lime products were produced by calcining limestone with high silica content or with clay. These products would develop strength without the addition of pozzolans and would also set under water.

Combinations of lime and cement were developed using alternate letters of the phrase MASON WORKS. For instance, Type M is the strongest mortar with the least lime, and Type K is the weakest with the most lime. In these formulations, lime enhances workability, water retention and bond strength. The carbonation of lime also enhances long-term strength development.

Product Application

There are several types of hydrated lime products defined for masonry applications in the ASTM standard C207 (Standard Specification for Hydrated Lime for Masonry Purposes). Graymont manufactures products in each of the below types:

Type N, or Normal hydrated lime, products are only partially hydrated and/or have poor workability. Additional additives and/or long soak periods are required for these products to perform effectively in masonry applications. ASTM C270 (Mortar for Unit Masonry) specification states that if a portland cement-lime blend contains Type N hydrate, the blender must show through performance testing that the Type N product is not detrimental to the soundness of the mortar.

Type S, or Special hydrated lime products, are a combination of calcium and magnesium hydroxides. In building applications, Type S dolomitic hydrated lime products have high hydration levels and controlled plasticity (water retention). This allows for minimal soak periods prior to application.

Type SA hydrated lime products can contain air entrainment additives. Air-entrained lime products must have a minimum air entrainment level of 7% and a maximum air level of 14%.

Modern cement-lime mortars can be specified by the properties (air content, compressive strength and water retention) of the mortar or by volume proportions of cement, lime and sand, according to ASTM C270 (Standard Specification for Unit Masonry) requirements.

Graymont Manufacturing

Graymont's manufacturing plants for building-lime products are located in Genoa, OH and Eden, WI. Graymont masonry products offer exceptional plasticity for increased water retention and workability in mortar applications.

Super Limoid® Type SMiracle® Type S and Mortaseal® Mason's Lime are fine-grind, white, high-purity dolomitic limes, fully hydrated for immediate use. Both of these products comply with ASTM C207 standards for a Type S hydrated lime. When properly combined with portland cement, they create a lime mortar that offers excellent bond strength, water retentivity and weather resistance at an economical cost. These products are available in 50-lb. (22.5-kg) bags or bulk.

Super Limoid® Type SA, Miracle Type SA and Bondcrete® Stucco Lime are air-entraining hydrated lime products that are pressure-hydrated for immediate use in stucco applications. These products meet the requirements of ASTM C207 for a Type SA hydrated lime. When properly combined with portland cement and sand, they create a stucco that provides performance, economical results and ageless durability. Type SA hydrated lime should not be used in smooth coat plaster applications. These products are available in 50-lb. (22.5-kg) bags or bulk.

Niagara® Mature Lime Putty is a high-purity dolomitic lime putty fully slaked and screened for immediate use. Niagara Lime Putty is slaked for a minimum of two months and complies with ASTM C1489. This product is available in 45-gallon drums or three-gallon pails.

Graymont manufactures two blended hydraulic lime products, NIAGARA PHL 3.5 and 5.0. These products have been designed for use in restoration applications and meet the requirements of ASTM C1707 (standard specification for pozzolanic hydraulic lime for structural purposes). They can be used in repointing, plastering, and grouting applications on historic or contemporary projects. These products are perfect for restoration applications where ordinary Portland cements or masonry cements are not compatible with the existing masonry system. PHL 3.5 and 5.0 are available in 50-lb. (22.5-kg) bags.

Did you know?

Limestone is composed of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate) and/or the mineral dolomite (calcium and magnesium carbonate) along with small amounts of other minerals.