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Person mixing mortar in wheelbarrow with shovel.

Overview

When you are laying bricks, you need to mix mortar. We will show you how to mix mortar properly in a wheelbarrow. You will also see how to finish the mix off on a mud board. Plus, we will give you a few professional tips as we go.

Steps

1Start mixing the mortar in the wheelbarrow

Tip the dry pre-mix mortar into the wheelbarrow. Then pour water over the top. To find out how much water to use, read the instructions on the bag. Use a square mouth shovel to dig in under the dry pre-mix and fold it into the middle. Then use a stabbing motion across the top to work the moisture through the mixture until it is consistent.
Person pouring water into wheelbarrow full of mortar.

2Transfer the mix across to a mud board

Once the mixture is consistent, transfer it across to the mud board to give it a final mix. Start by wetting down the board and then bring your mixture across. Make sure you wash out your wheelbarrow before any left over mortar has time to set in the tray.
Person shovelling mortar.

3Finish mixing the mortar on the mudboard

Use the bricklayer's trowel to finish off your mix. Start by testing the consistency of the mortar. If the mix isn't quite right, add more water or pre-mix as required. To mix on a mud board, use your trowel to make a hollow in the centre of the mixture. Then fold the mortar from the outside into the centre. Once it's all folded in, chop the surface with your trowel to work the moisture down to the bottom. Repeat this process until the mixture has an even consistency.
Mortar on top of piece of timber that is being supported by bricks.

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.