Masons Mortar Ltd
77 Salamander Street
Edinburgh EH6 7JZ

Tel: 0131 555 0503
Fax: 0131 553 7158

Masons Mortar Ltd
Unit I, Woodville Court,
Woodville Street
Glasgow G51 2RL

Tel: 0141 445 4812
Fax: 0141 445 8898

Masons Mortar Ltd
Block 2
Woodend Industrial Estate
Cowdenbeath, Fife

Tel: 01383 514 460

Masons Mortar Ltd
Unit 11
Brough Park Trading Estate
Fossway, Newcastle upon Tyne

Tel: 0191 908 9234

Tips & Advice

What is lime?

In the context of building, lime is the original ‘cement’. Lime binders were and still are used to make mortars, plasters, renders, concretes and lime wash. They have worked for 10,000 years and you can see surviving examples of all of the above in this country that are 2,000 years old.

Why should I use lime?

Lime mortars have their own special characteristics that allow traditionally constructed (mass wall) buildings to ‘breathe’, - or evaporate water vapour out of the walls easily, keeping the inside of the buildings dry and cosy. Unlike modern Portland cement mortars which are almost impermeable to moisture, trapping it within the walls and leading to dampness, cold, often smelly conditions and decay of timbers built into or up against solid walls.

Where do I get lime?

Masons Mortar Ltd has the largest range of building limes anywhere in the UK.
We have three depots, one in Edinburgh, Glasgow and another across the river Forth in Cowdenbeath, but we supply to every corner of the UK on a daily basis. Deliver to your door on a three day service is our normal standard but in exceptional cases it can be as fast as next day for quantities from a single bag or tub of material right up to a full load of 20 tonnes or more.

What type of lime should I use?

At Masons Mortar we believe in providing the widest choice of materials based on performance and price. There are a wide range of different limes and lime mortars available, all with different characteristics, and suitable for different applications. Non-hydraulic limes (CL90) are commonly available as ‘lime putty’, in 25kg tubs bags or by bulk bags. Natural Hydraulic Limes (NHL) and NHL Mortars are commonly available in 25kg bags with a wide range of performance characteristics. NHL’s come in a range of classifications based on compressive strength in N/mm2 at 28 days: NHL 2, NHL 3.5 & NHL 5. At Masons Mortar we stock 2 Types of NHL 2 – 2 Types of NHL 3.5 and 3 Types of NHL 5 as well as Natural Cement and Very Feebly Hydraulic Lime. Our price list and User guides provide comprehensive information – backed up by our superb technical department. What type of lime should you use, call us and tell us what you’re planning to do and we will provide you with help wherever we can.

I need advice on choosing the right materials?

Start with our guides or a call, fax, email or visit either of our two depots. When there is more than once choice it can appear daunting, it’s our job to give our customers the best advice we can and if we think you need something more, we will point you in the right direction and to people who you can rely on. Building repair is easy when it’s not done well and getting specifications that are suitable requires a two way discussion. Start by telling us what you want and we will look at what is best for your needs.

Do you provide training on using lime mortars?

Masons Mortar staff and management have been at the forefront of championing training for nearly 20 years. Whether you are a building contractor, a building professional, or homeowner there are training programmes available. Once we know your requirements, we can arrange suitable training.

I am conscious of environmental issues is there a benefit in choosing a lime mortar over cement?

The need to reduce energy consumption and reduce CO2 emissions means there is an argument for the use of traditional limes. The production of many natural hydraulic limes offers a significant reduction in CO2 emissions compared to that required to produce Portland cements.

When is re-pointing needed?

Re-pointing is only necessary when existing mortars have weathered to reveal open or recessed joints, which are vulnerable to water penetration, or where existing, original mortar has been removed and repaired using other less appropriate materials. Re-pointing to make a whole elevation or a building the same is never required, one of the reasons masons Mortar are an ISO 9001 accredited company is because of our ability to accurately match any mortar, making isolated or patch repair simple, seamless and highly cost effective.

Should I always remove cement pointing?

Not always, but generally yes. In most cases cement mortars can damage masonry and can cause moisture retention within the walls. However, there may well be instances where removal will cause substantial additional damage to the masonry its self causing irrevocable loss of edges and detail – careful judgement based on the success of small trial areas should determine whether or not removal is appropriate. This must be carefully considered against any existing problems with the building or structure, caused by the presence of cement pointing.

I want to do the pointing myself, is that wise or should I employ a builder?

Yes you can, however we would normally advise that you employ a competent person with the necessary experience. Only work with people who can provide examples of previous work carried out, and don’t be afraid to seek references. You should always get work done by establishing an agreed sample panel, and if you’re not sure what that should look like, ask or seek advice. Doing the work yourself may however be the most rewarding thing you have ever done, don’t worry if you have never done this type of work before, ask about specific training courses, they can be great fun and highly satisfactory.

Which mortar do I select for pointing masonry?

Ask, tell us what you’re doing, where your building is, send us pictures, give us something to work on. If we think you need something more, we will tell you where to go.

How do I match the colour of mortar?

That’s our job, bring in or post us a sample and we will match it. We will match the colour and texture and where required the performance of the mortar can be produced for most conditions and environments.