How to Calculate the Amount of Mortar You Need

In masonry construction, mortar plays a significant role in serving as an adhesive form to join block and brick. When you run out of mortar before completing your project, it can disrupt your schedule and affect the quality of your work. In addition, stocking too much mortar can lead to wastage. Then how much mortar do I need? Most people ask this question before hiring a professional. You need to calculate the number of bags of mortar mix you need before you start laying your brick and block. Base the number of mortar mix bags with your project’s size and scope. However, before you hire a professional or begin calculating the amount of mortar mix you need, consider the tips below to make sure your estimate is exact and for your project to go smoothly.

Have a vision

According to, it is essential to take your time to figure out what to have done and what you see as a successful project. Also, consider what your priorities might be in the project. If you want a new floor, spend time thinking about the rooms that you prefer to install the new flooring in or the kind of materials you prefer using. Also, make sure to consider what is crucial: is the primary goal meeting a particular price? Is it a specific look? Is it the installation quality or materials durability most important? Answering these questions can help you to come up with the exact estimate, which meets your needs and interests.

Get multiple estimates from different professionals

When you get the idea of what you want to achieve from your project, it is time to get estimates. Begin by looking for several reliable contractors around your area. Consult with your friends and family to get reputable professionals. It is vital to get a few estimates for comparison. Make sure each quote includes items on your priority list, not just the cost. This can also help you find a professional to work with and rule out the ones you find difficult to trust.

Request for references

Ask your contractor for reviews or references from clients they have worked for in the past. That will help you get a clear picture of whom you are about to deal with and the quality of their work.

Make sure they are licensed and insured

Before contracting a professional, ensure they are licensed to offer construction services and insured. If required, they have to be licensed to get past inspections. A professional who is insured guarantees you that they can compensate incurred expenses if something goes wrong.

How to estimate the amount of mortar you need

Below are three steps to help you estimate the mortar mix required for your project, including:

  • Step 1: Estimate the project’s square footage – Measure the height and width in feet to estimate the square footage of the wall. When you get the measurement, multiply the height and width to get the square footage. If you are not comfortable calculating by hand, try using a calculator to make it easier and fast.
  • Step 2: Get the number of blocks required – Calculate the total number of blocks need by the number of blocks per square foot. Estimate the total number of blocks needed, will need 1 1/8 standard blocks per square footage by 1.125. You can also use several online block calculators to get the sizes of other blocks.
  • Step 3: Estimate Mortar – Get the yield of the mortar as the final step and divide the number of blocks by the yield. A typical 80-pound bag of mortal can yield 12 blocks. Therefore, you can divide the total square footage by 12.

How to estimate mortar for a Brick project

One can use the same steps mentioned above to get the exact mortar needed for a brick project.

  • Step 1: Get the total square footage – Begin with estimating the brick wall’s square footage by multiplying the height together with the width.
  • Step 2: Get the total number of bricks – Multiply the number of bricks per square foot by the square footage. Most online brick calculators can help with this. To find the number of bricks needed, you will need around 6.9 modular bricks per square foot multiplied by the square footage.
  • Step 3: Estimate Mortar – Divide the total number of bricks by the yield of the mix to estimate the mortar needed. Since a mortar mix can yield 36 bricks on average per 80-pound bag, divide the number of bricks by 36 to get the required bags. Professionals recommend adding at least 10 percent additional material to account for broken blocks and cuts.

Types of Mortar

If you are using mixing on-site or pre-mixed mortar, it is vital to understand various types of mortar available and the appropriate one for your project. According to (, the ratio of cement to sand is about one part Cement to between three and four parts sand. That depends on the compressive strength desired and the kind of mortar being mixed.

Most mixes require lime in various proportions, which acts as a binding agent to extend the finished product longevity and increase the mix workability.

  • Type O – Professionals use it in-ground applications, which are not load-bearing. Most of the time it is used for interior applications and has a total strength of 350psi.
  • Type N – Most contractors use it in above-ground applications, to support light loads. It is mostly applied in chimneys or brick-work. Its total strength is 750psi.
  • Type S – Professionals use it below the ground for load-bearing applications mostly for retaining walls and foundations. It has a compressive strength of 1,800psi.
  • Type M – Mostly used for below-ground applications to support heavy load-bearing applications. It is for foundations to support and its total strength is 2,500psi.

It is vital to note that, bricks are available in various types and sizes. Therefore, when trying to get an estimate of the amount of mortar you need, determine the size of the bricks first.

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