Mortar mixers are machines made to handle aggregates such as quikrete and rapid set to create a thick mixture for brick and block work. These tools have an internal paddle and barrel made specifically for mortar mixing that does not rotate unlike other machines. They are available in portable and tow behind options in electric, gas, and hydraulic power options for ultimate flexibility.
A mortar mixer has a stationary barrel and an internal paddle that rotates inside to mix mortar, the machine scrapes the sides of the barrel to avoid it from sticking and creating a figure 8 mixing pattern. Mortar mixers differ from a cement mixer as they use a stationary barrel while the cement mixer uses a rotating drum. The advantage of these machines is they can be used to mix stucco, epoxy, dyrwall mud, grout, paint and plaster.
There are 3 different types of drive systems that power these machines, belt drive (in most mixers), enclosed gear box and hydraulic driven. Each one has its own unique advantage, but depends on the type of job it is being used for. Other options to consider are towable vs non-towable, as well as gas, electric or diesel motors/engines
How to mix mortar for stone or block wall
Step 1: If using an 80 pound bag of mason mix, follow directions on the amount of water needed, pour half the water into mortar mixer, before adding in the dry mix.
Step 2: Start adding the dry mix into the machine and let it run for one minute, add additional water as needed
Step 3: Once complete, begin mixing for an additional 3-5 minutes until the proper consistency has been achieved.
Step 4: After mixing for 3-5 minutes turn machine off and let the mixture sit for an additional 3-5 minutes for complete saturation, if more water is needed added more in slowly.
Step 5: Once mixing is complete, the mix can be tested by using a trowel, hold the trowel at a 90 deg angle, if the mortar can hang on the trowel, the mortar is ready to be used.
How to Care For Your Mortar Mixer
-After each use the machine should be washed down to avoid any build up dried mortar, this will help lengthen the life of your investment
-Check the oil levels in the crank case and gear box
-Check the oil filter, air filter and make sure belts, pulleys and any other parts have not loosened up
-Check area around motor cowl to make sure ventilation holes have not been covered up by dried mortar
-Check the wear of the paddles in the machine, most manufacturers recommend 1/16 – 3/8” of clearance between paddles and drum to avoid scraping and weakening the drum
-For electric motors, lubricate ball bearings every few months and with a light oil
-Before placing machine in storage for the season, replace oil and drain gas tank
Buying a mortar mixer is a large investment, if unsure of what the best size machine you will need, try renting one from a rental house, Home Depot or Lowes there are great brands like Stone, Stowe, Whiteman, Imer and Crown. This way you can also speak to an expert about the costs of ownership for replacement parts like paddles or what customers near you are purchasing and what the sales have been on certain machine sizes.