MORTAR & MASONRY TESTING
MORTAR SAMPLING FOR FAILURE INVESTIGATION OR RESTORATION
ASTM C 1324 "Standard Test Method for Examination and Analysis of Hardened Masonry Mortar"
Sample for mortar testing should include at least 6 to 7 fragments (approximately 1 to 1½ in. in long dimension) of mortar collected from one single location on the masonry wall, e.g., from three perpendicular adjacent joints – e.g., one head joint and two adjacent bed joints above the head joint, all collected from the joints with a hammer and chisel, and, all pieces that constituent one such mortar sample from a location should be placed in a plastic Ziploc bag for mailing. Avoid sending powdered sample or of low amount. Mortar testing requires multiple tests – from optical microscopy to XRD to XRF to chemical analysis to SEM-EDS, etc. – so sample amount should be adequate for all these tests.
Caution: Cost will be multiplied if additional mortar ‘types’ are discovered during investigation in a single plastic bag of a single sample, i.e. if the bag contains mortars from multiple episodes of tuck pointing that became obvious when multiple testing are already initiated simultaneously. Therefore, caution is requested during sampling to examine if a single mortar of the interest is collected.
Report will include everything about: (a) the mortar and its components, e.g., types and compositions of sand and various binders (calcitic or dolomitic lime, natural hydraulic lime, natural cement, portland cement, masonry cement), calculated mix proportions, along with if there is any issue with the mortar per se; (b) if there is any evidence of loss of moisture, premature stiffening, shrinkage, cracking, de-bonding, etc. and if mortar has any role for such issues; (c) any effect of any potentially deleterious components within the mortar or effect of such agents from the environment to the mortar.
BRICK MASONRY UNITS
ASTM C 67
"Standard Test Methods for Sampling and Testing Brick and Structural Clay Tile"
Most Brick testing as per ASTM C 67 requires a set of 5 whole bricks per location (Efflorescence Test needs a set of 10). If multiple tests are requested (i.e. strength and absorption) we will cut the whole bricks in half, no need to send 2 sets unless you are testing more than one location