Understanding the Difference Between Type S and Type N Mortar: What You Need to Know

When it comes to construction materials, it’s important to make informed decisions. For instance, those who work with masonry know that not all mortars are created equal. In fact, there are several different types of mortar available, each with its own particular set of uses and properties. Two of the most popular types of mortar are Type S and Type N, and for someone who’s new to the world of masonry, the differences between the two might seem unclear at first.

So what exactly distinguishes Type S from Type N mortar? Both of these mortars are composed of cement, sand, and water, but Type S is distinct in that it also contains a specific type of high-strength limestone. As a result, Type S mortar is stronger and more durable than Type N, and is therefore best suited for use in heavy-load-bearing applications like retaining walls or foundations. Type N mortar on the other hand, is considered a general-purpose mortar suitable for medium- to high-compressive strength applications, such as brick veneers and non-load bearing walls.

That’s not to say that one type of mortar is inherently better than the other- the right choice ultimately depends on the intended use of the mortar. By understanding the properties of each type and their varying strengths and weaknesses, masons can make an informed decision regarding which type of mortar to use in a given situation. Whether working on a large-scale construction project or making updates around the home, knowledge of the different types of mortar can help ensure the best results possible.

Type S Mortar Composition

Type S mortar is a mixture of Portland cement, hydrated lime, sand, and water. Typically, the ratio of the mixture is 1:1:6 (one part Portland cement, one part hydrated lime, and six parts sand), with water added to achieve desired consistency. The composition of Type S mortar makes it one of the strongest and most durable mortar types, suitable for use in masonry projects that require high strength, such as foundations, retaining walls, and other heavy-duty structures.

  • Portland Cement: This is the main binding agent in the mortar mixture. It is made from limestone and shale that are heated in a kiln at high temperatures. The resulting product, clinker, is ground to a fine powder and then blended with gypsum to make Portland cement. This ingredient gives the mortar its strength and durability.
  • Hydrated Lime: This ingredient improves the workability and plasticity of the mortar. It also helps to reduce cracking and shrinkage during the curing process. Additionally, it improves the bond strength of the mortar by allowing it to adhere better to the masonry units.
  • Sand: Typically, sand used in Type S mortar should be clean, well-graded, and free of any organic materials. The texture and size of sand can affect the strength and workability of the mortar. Generally, fine sand is preferred as it provides better workability, while coarse sand can improve the mortar’s strength.
  • Water: Water is the ingredient that activates the cement and creates the chemical reaction needed for it to dry and harden. The amount of water needed will depend on the specific conditions and the desired consistency of the mortar. It is important to use only clean, potable water in the mixing process to prevent impurities from affecting the strength and durability of the mortar.

It is worth noting that Type S mortar is not suitable for use with certain types of masonry units, such as glass blocks or lightweight concrete blocks. Before starting any project, it is important to consult with a professional to ensure that the mortar type and composition is appropriate for the specific application.

Type N mortar composition

Type N mortar is a medium-strength mortar commonly used for general construction. It is ideal for exterior and interior above-grade walls, such as brick veneers, non-load-bearing walls, and flooring. The composition of type N mortar consists of one part portland cement, one part hydrated lime, and six parts sand.

  • Portland Cement: It is the binding agent in the mortar mixture. Type N mortar uses portland cement, which is known for its strength and durability. The cement is derived from limestone, clay, and other minerals, which are mined and processed to produce a fine powder.
  • Hydrated Lime: It is essential for the workability and durability of the mortar. Lime acts as a plasticizer that makes the mortar easier to work with, decreases shrinkage, and enhances bonding. It also helps to resist water penetration in the masonry structure.
  • Sand: It is the bulk of the mortar mixture. Sands used for the type N mortar are fine and well-graded particles that range from 0.05 mm to 2 mm in size. Sand provides bulk and reduces the drying shrinkage of the mortar. The type of sand used should be compatible with the local climate and the brick used.

The combination of cement, lime, and sand creates a mortar that has excellent workability, bond strength, and durability. Type N mortar can withstand a compressive strength of up to 750 psi and is often used in residential construction projects.

It is important to note that the composition of type N mortar may vary depending on the supplier and the geographical region. Therefore, it is crucial to check the manufacturer’s instruction and consult with a professional before using any mortar in construction projects.

Type N Mortar CompositionProportion
Portland Cement1 part
Hydrated Lime1 part
Sand6 parts

Type N mortar is an excellent choice for masonry projects that require medium strength and durability. The appropriate mixture of cement, lime, and sand creates an excellent bonding agent for brick, block, and stone. Before using any type of mortar, consult with a professional to make sure you use the appropriate mixture for your construction project.

Strength Comparison of Type S and Type N Mortar

When it comes to choosing the right type of mortar for your construction project, you must consider a number of factors. The most important of these is the strength of the mortar. The strength of mortar is usually determined by the ratio of the materials used in the mix. There are two common types of mortar used in construction: Type S and Type N. Understanding the differences between these two types of mortar can help you choose the right one for your project.

  • Type S mortar mix is usually made up of one part Portland cement, one part hydrated lime and five to six parts sand. This type of mortar mix is used for applications that require high bonding strength, such as chimneys and retaining walls.
  • Type N mortar mix typically consists of one part Portland cement, one part hydrated lime, and six parts sand. This type of mortar mix is commonly used for interior and exterior walls.
  • The compressive strength of Type S mortar is 1800 psi, while Type N mortar has a compressive strength of 750 psi.

The table below shows a comparison between Type S and Type N mortars:

TypeCement-Lime-Sand RatioStrength
Type S1:1:5-61800 psi
Type N1:1:6750 psi

It is important to note that the strength of mortar can also be affected by a number of factors such as temperature, humidity, curing time and the type of aggregates used.

Ultimately, the choice between Type S and Type N mortars will depend on the specific requirements of your construction project. If you need a stronger bond, Type S may be the better choice, but if you are looking for an all-purpose mortar for general use, Type N may be the way to go.

Usage of Type S and Type N Mortar

When considering which type of mortar to use, it’s important to understand the differences between Type S and Type N mortar. Knowing when and where to use each type of mortar can ensure a successful project outcome.

  • Type S Mortar: This is a high-strength mortar typically used for applications that require strong bonds, such as retaining walls and outdoor patios. It has a compressive strength of 1,800 psi and is made with a mixture of Portland cement, hydrated lime, and sand. The added strength makes it ideal for projects that require durability and load-bearing capabilities.
  • Type N Mortar: This is a medium-strength mortar typically used for indoor projects such as walls, fireplaces, and chimneys. It has a compressive strength of 750 psi and is made with a mixture of Portland cement, hydrated lime, and sand. Type N mortar is more workable than Type S mortar, making it easier to spread and shape. The lower strength also allows for more flexibility and movement, which can prevent cracking in indoor projects that are subject to temperature changes.
  • Differences: The main differences between Type S and Type N mortar are strength and workability. Type S is stronger and less workable, while Type N is less strong but more workable. It’s important to choose the right type of mortar for the specific project to ensure it is able to withstand the demands placed upon it.

When to Use Type S Mortar

Type S mortar is best used for outdoor projects that require strength and durability. This includes retaining walls, garden walls, and other outdoor masonry projects. Its high strength makes it ideal for bearing the weight of heavy materials, as well as exposure to weather and temperature changes.

When to Use Type N Mortar

Type N mortar is best used for indoor construction projects such as walls, fireplaces, and chimneys. Its workability makes it easier to spread and shape, allowing for a smooth and even finish. It’s also more flexible, which can help prevent cracking and damage due to temperature changes.

Summary Table

FactorType S MortarType N Mortar
Strength1,800 psi750 psi
WorkabilityLess workableMore workable
UseOutdoor projects (retaining walls, garden walls, etc.)Indoor projects (walls, fireplaces, chimneys, etc.)

Understanding the differences between Type S and Type N mortar can ensure that you choose the right type of mortar for your project. By using the appropriate mortar for the job, you can increase the likelihood of a successful outcome for your construction project.

Suitability of Type S for different applications

When it comes to different applications, Type S mortar can be a wise choice for many situations. Here are some examples of where it is suitable:

  • Brick and Block Walls: Because of its higher compressive strength, Type S mortar is perfect for constructing brick and block walls. It can withstand the weight of these larger structures.
  • Flashing: Type S mortar is often recommended for flashing work on roofs and walls.
  • Parging: For parging exterior walls, Type S mortar can help provide excellent adhesion, bonding, and water resistance.

When it comes to indoor applications, this can depend on the specific project. However, Type S mortar is generally not a good choice for areas exposed to prolonged dampness, such as bathrooms or shower stalls.

Below is a table summarizing the suitability of Type S mortar in different circumstances:

Suitable ApplicationsUnsuitable Applications
Brick and Block WallsBathrooms or other damp areas
Flashing on Roofs and Walls
Parging Exterior Walls

When deciding which type of mortar to use for your project, it is important to consider all factors such as required strength, adhesion, and water resistance. Type S mortar has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which will all depend on your specific application.

Suitability of Type N for Different Applications

When it comes to choosing between Type S and Type N mortar, the decision ultimately comes down to the application. While Type S is stronger and more durable, Type N is more flexible, making it a better choice for certain projects.

  • Bricklaying: Type N mortar is the standard choice for bricklaying, as it allows for some flexibility in the joints and can absorb some of the movement that occurs in brick structures.
  • Stone masonry: Type N can also be used for stone masonry projects, particularly those that involve softer stones or stones of irregular shapes. The flexibility of Type N can help prevent cracking or damage to the stones over time.
  • Non-load bearing walls: Type N mortar is suitable for non-load bearing walls, such as interior partitions or walls that do not provide structural support for the building.

While Type N may not be the strongest or most durable option, it is a versatile mortar that can be used in a variety of different projects. However, it is important to note that Type N should not be used in applications where high levels of resistance are necessary, such as in earthquake-resistant construction or with heavy loads.

Below is a comparison table for further clarification:

Mortar TypeCompressive Strength (psi)Flexural Strength (psi)Recommended Applications
Type N750-1,800100-300Bricklaying, Stone masonry, Non-load bearing walls
Type S1,800-2,500150-300Load-bearing walls, Foundations, Retaining walls, Structural projects, Projects with heavier loads, High-wind areas, Earthquake-resistant construction

In summary, Type N mortar is suitable for a variety of projects, particularly those that require some flexibility and movement. However, it is important to choose the appropriate mortar type for each specific application to ensure a successful and durable construction project.

Weather Resistance of Type S and Type N Mortar

Mortar is a crucial component of any masonry structure, and its quality and durability are critical to the longevity of the construction. Two popular types of mortar used in masonry work are Type S and Type N mortar. These two types of mortar have their distinctive features that make them suitable for different applications. One of the key areas where they differ is their weather resistance.

  • Type N mortar can provide excellent adhesion and flexibility, making it ideal for masonry structures that are susceptible to moderate weathering. This type of mortar has a lower compressive strength than Type S, but its high amount of lime gives it a degree of elasticity and resistance to cracking, making it an excellent choice for brick-and-block walls.
  • Type S mortar, on the other hand, is a high-strength mortar suitable for moderate and severe weathering conditions. It is composed of a high amount of Portland cement, lime, and sand, which gives it its excellent strength and durability. Its compressive strength is significantly higher than Type N, making it ideal for masonry structures that are exposed to severe weather conditions.

The weather resistance of Type S and Type N mortar can be further explained by looking into their water absorption rates and freeze-thaw durability.

Type N mortar has a higher water absorption rate than Type S mortar. In areas with high rainfall, this can lead to the rapid degradation of mortar and the weakening of the masonry structure. Additionally, Type N mortar can be more susceptible to freeze-thaw cycles, which can cause cracking and eventual failure.

On the other hand, Type S mortar has a lower water absorption rate and is more resistant to freeze-thaw cycles due to its high compressive strength and low water retention. This resistance to water and freeze-thaw cycles makes Type S mortar particularly useful in areas with harsh weather conditions and prolonged exposure to moisture.

Type of MortarWater Absorption RateFreeze-Thaw Durability
Type N10-18%Moderate
Type S5-8%High

Overall, the weather resistance of Type S and Type N mortar is a critical factor to consider when selecting the appropriate mortar for your masonry project. If you are working on a structure that is exposed to harsh weather conditions, Type S mortar is a better choice due to its water resistance and freeze-thaw durability. If you are working on a project that requires more elasticity and flexibility, such as brick-and-block walls, Type N mortar may be a better option.

What is the Difference Between Type S and Type N Mortar?

1) What are Type S and Type N Mortar?
Type S and Type N are two types of mortar mix used in the construction industry. Type S mortar has a high compressive strength and is commonly used for applications that require high strength, such as masonry walls and retaining walls. Type N mortar, on the other hand, is a general-purpose mortar that can be used for a variety of applications.

2) What are the Differences in Strength Between Type S and Type N Mortar?
Type S mortar has a compressive strength of at least 1800 psi, while Type N mortar has a compressive strength of at least 750 psi. This means that Type S mortar is much stronger than Type N mortar and is more suitable for larger masonry projects.

3) What are the Differences in Composition Between Type S and Type N Mortar?
The main difference between Type S and Type N mortar is the amount of portland cement used in the mix. Type S mortar contains a higher amount of portland cement and less lime, while Type N mortar contains more lime and less portland cement. This difference in composition affects the strength and workability of the mortar.

4) What are the Applications of Type S and Type N Mortar?
Type S mortar is suitable for applications that require high strength, such as masonry walls, retaining walls, and columns. Type N mortar is a general-purpose mortar that can be used for a variety of applications, such as pointing, sealing, and plastering.

5) Which Type of Mortar is Right for My Project?
The choice between Type S and Type N mortar depends on the specific needs of your project. If you are working on a large masonry structure that requires high strength, Type S mortar may be the best choice. If you are working on a smaller project or a project that does not require high strength, Type N mortar may be a better option.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope this article has helped you understand the difference between Type S and Type N mortar. Remember to choose the right type of mortar for your project to ensure the best results. Stay tuned for more informative articles on construction and DIY projects. Thanks for visiting and we hope to see you again soon!