The basic composition of mortar might seem similar to concrete, but what really sets it apart is how it is used. Made of a mixture of sand, a binder, and water, mortar is used to hold components together. Depending on the type of mortar you are using, the binder might be cement or lime. Mortar joins the layers of stone or brick together and keeps everything from sliding around.

Depending on the application, there are different types of mortar available and it is essential that the proper type be used to ensure that the desired results are achieved.

TABLE 1 Recommended Guide for Selection of Mortar Type
Building SegmentMortar Type
Exterior, above grade,
    load-bearingN or S or M
    non load-bearingN
    parapet wallN or S
Exterior, at or below grade,S or M
    load-bearingN or S
    non load-bearingN