Can You Mix Mortar And Concrete? Facts Explained

Concrete and mortar are both popular materials used when building and constructing walls, foundations, pathways, patios, and other structures. Although both are similar in many ways and have some interchangeable uses, mixing them together is generally not a good idea.

They have different water-to-cement ratios – mortar typically has a 1:1 ratio while concrete usually has a 1:2.5-3 ratio – and mixing them together can cause the resulting material to be weaker and less durable than either of the two on their own.

Additionally, both are also different in terms of gravel or aggregates. Aggregates are found in concrete, but not in mortar, while sand is found in both. Blending them together can create an inconsistent mixture which could lead to premature cracking or other problems down the line.

However, making mortar into concrete is possible with DIY methods if no other option is left. But you cannot convert concrete to mortar. Besides, you can also mix mortar on the already cured concrete surfaces to fix cracks, minor repairing, or pour another coating.

Before making concrete from mortar, you need to understand the difference in the production process of both mortar and concrete.

can you mix mortar and concrete

What Is The Difference In The Manufacturing Process Of Mortar And Concrete

For the mortar and concrete-making procedure, cement, sand, and water (also aggregates for concrete) are placed in separate buckets.

To create a mortar mix, the ratio basis is usually 3 or 4 parts of sand to one part of cement. However, it may also vary depending on how wet or dry you want the mixture to be. In general, the ratio also depends on the strength you’re trying to achieve.

A standard concrete mix has one part cement, two and a half parts of sand, and three to four parts of aggregate. This ratio is usually used for all types of construction work, from sidewalks to buildings.

Bear in mind that this ratio is not generally for all types of projects. This mix may vary depending on where and how it’ll be used. Different applications call for various ratios whether it’ll be used for foundations, slabs, patios, etc.

For example, you will have to mix one part of cement, three parts of sand, and six parts of aggregates for foundations.

How To Make Concrete From Mortar Mix?

While it’s not really ideal and recommended, this is possible if you’re perfect with the measurements and if you want to save some money.

As per the above ratio of mortar, your mortar mix has three parts of sand to one part of cement. Hence, for creating a concrete mix, you will need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Measure And Get The Proper Ratio Of All Ingredients On a Priority Basis

We need 1 part of cement, 2 parts of sand, and four parts of aggregates for standard concrete. Generally, it may vary according to your purpose, so you may change the ratio yourself.

Once you have the measurements, keep them aside.

For the mortar mix, 3 parts of sand and 1 part of cement are needed.

Take one more part of sand to get four parts of sand, next take one part of cement to get two parts of cement and 7 to 8 parts of aggregates. So your standard concrete mix is ready from your mortar mix.

Note: Tip the sand and aggregate onto your mixing board or in the container. Form a crater in the middle of the pile if you are using a board. Next, measure the cement you are using and pour it into the crater’s center, creating a cone-like structure.

comparison mixing concrete and mixing mortar

Step 2: Start Mixing

After taking all the proper measurements, it’s time to mix. Use a shovel and mix all the ingredients, including cement and sand. Make sure you mix it properly and achieve a homogenous mixture.

All you need to do is turn the created pile around four to five times to mix everything evenly and get a consistent color throughout the pile. Make a cone-like shape and create the next crater in the middle. Now you will have to use water to fill in the crater.

There is no specific amount of water set for adding; simply pour enough water to fill the crater slightly. It must be enough to produce a smooth paste once you begin to mix it.

Move the sides of your crater in the mix and turn it to distribute water evenly throughout the mixture. As you see the water begin to absorb in your ingredients, you will have to repeat the procedure, whether in the container or the wooden board.

Continuously turn your mix until you see that the mixture is wet. If it looks perfect, go and test the consistency as needed.

Step 3: Check And Adjust Your Mix

When you see the mixture is wet enough, use the shovel edges to make imprints in the mix’s top to test its consistency. The mixture must be consistent and smooth – not crumbly or dry to make it right.

If the mix is too watery or runny or its ridges collapse quickly, you might have added too much water.

Add more dry ingredients for solidifying the mixture. Getting correct consistency is all about trial and error, so there is no need to worry if you do not have the perfect mix on the first trial.

Step 4: Begin Working

Once you are satisfied with your mix and have the correct texture/ consistency, it is time to start working. Usually, simply shovel or pour concrete into the area and screed it if needed to get a smooth finishing.

Can You Use Mortar Mix Into Cured Concrete Surfaces Together?

Generally, the concrete mix, including the mortar mix, has a slower setting time as compared to other types of concrete. Still, if you need to use it on already existing cured surfaces like patios and walkways, follow these steps:

Step 1: Clean The Surface

The first step is to clean the surface properly before applying any material. Make sure there are no cracks, crevices, debris, or other defects that may affect the adhesion.

Use a wire brush to remove any residue from the surface and then use a pressure washer to clean it properly.

Step 2: Apply The Mortar Mix

When you have cleaned the surface properly, it is time to apply mortar mix on the surface. Use a trowel or brush to spread the mix over the surface and make sure there are no air bubbles. Press down the material firmly and let it set for some time.

mortar mix

Step 3: Begin Working On The Concrete With Mortar Mix

Once your mortar mix has been applied, you can begin working on the cured concrete with it.

Make sure to use the appropriate tools for the job and that you are applying the proper amount of pressure. Use a trowel or mortar rake to spread it over the surface.

Step 4: Cure The Mortar Mix On Concrete

After you have worked on your concrete with mortar mix, it is time to let it cure properly. Wait for a few days before you start using the surface, as this will give you enough time for the material to set properly.

Final Thoughts

Mixing mortar and concrete is a simple task that can be completed by anyone with the right knowledge and materials. While it’s not recommended in general, it can be done and with the right technique, you can achieve a great end result.

Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use the correct ingredients in order to get the best possible results.

Also, make sure that your surface is clean and free of any dirt or debris before applying any material. With these tips in mind, you should have no problem creating a sturdy and long-lasting surface.

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