Can You Use a Concrete Mixer for Mortar?
Mortar is a popular compound similar to concrete or cement and is often used in various home improvement projects. Whether you need to repair a wall, fill a hole or patch a driveway, mortar is an excellent choice of material. However, mixing it can be cumbersome and is often made easier with a mechanical mixer similar to those used in mixing concrete. Which raises the question of whether mortar can safely be used in a concrete mixer.
Mortar in a Concrete Mixer
The short answer is yes. Mortar can, in fact, be easily and safely used in a concrete mixer. However, if you have the ability to use a mortar-specific mixer, it is still a good idea to do so. Because these mixing machines can be large and expensive, it is unrealistic to assume that the common do-it-yourself would have access to all types. So if a concrete mixer is the only mechanical option for mixing your mortar, then by all means use it.
In fact, mortar as a whole will cause less wear and tear on the concrete mixer than actual concrete would. That’s because concrete is a rougher, heavier material. Whereas mortar contains just cement and sand, concrete contains both those ingredients plus small rocks and gravel. A concrete mixer, therefore, is rated to mix and withstand this rougher, heavier and rock-filled mixture. Mortar will be no problem for the concrete mixer to handle. But even so, the concrete mixer is not the best option for handling mortar. While it will no doubt be up to the task, the way it mixes concrete does not translate as well to mortar. A concrete mixer uses a spinning drum to continuously move around the mixture inside, turning it over on itself and letting the natural rocks and rotating movement essentially self-mix the concrete. Mortar, however, has a smoother and more thorough consistency throughout. Simply spinning mortar around in a large drum won’t give this consistency and you run the risk of partially mixed and clumped mortar.
To combat this, mortar mixers that are designed specifically for that material and as such feature spinning blades inside the drum to more evenly mix the smoother mortar. So while it remains true that you can use a concrete mixer for mortar with usually limited negative effects or trouble, make an effort to use a mortar mixer wherever possible.
Brian Walker is an experienced writer who has contributed content to a number of print and online mediums, including major players in the financial, sports and news markets. His work has appeared on eHow.com, Associated Content, Yahoo and even financial news outlet TheStreet.com. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and holds a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism.