Masonry Cement vs Portland Cement

What’s the difference?

Masonry cement is a blend of portland cement, Type S lime, and probably other additives.  Masonry cement can be mixed with sand to get a portland cement mortar.  The normal mix is 1 part masonry cement to 2.5 parts mason’s sand.

Portland cement has to be mixed with Type S lime in order to be workable on the trowel.  The lime gives it a more sticky and “plastic” consistency that makes it easier to work with and spread.  Portland cement can be mixed with lime at a rate of 1:1, which as the binder can then be used with sand at the normal 1:2.5 or 1:3 that you might use with masonry cement.

If you mix portland cement with sand without adding lime, the mixture will be very sandy and impossible to spread.  It will still get hard, but it is very hard to use.

Please note that Type S lime is not the same lime that was used historically to make lime mortar.  Manufacturers fire the lime at too high a temperature for it to function as the binder by itself in mortar.

To obtain a lime that you can use to make lime mortar, visit Lancaster Lime Works.  Or call us at 717-347-5000 to discuss further.