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How To Colour Match Sand and Mortar When Repairing Patio Brickwork Pointing

by Martin Williamson

As time passes, the ground beneath your land can move and settle, and this can cause the mortar between the paving slabs or bricks on your patio to crack. If you enjoy DIY, this is a simple repair job, but the results can look less than perfect if the new mortar colour doesn't match the old. Here's how to colour match sand and cement mixes so that your repairs blend in seamlessly.

Begin with some research

There are literally hundreds of different types of sand, all of which will create mortar of various colours when mixed with cement and water.  Therefore, a good place to start your project is to try to find out where the original sand component of your patio mortar came from.

If your patio is quite new and was constructed by a local company, give them a call and ask where they source their materials. Similarly, if you built the patio yourself using sand purchased from a local builder's merchant, it may be worth a phone call to them. Ask if you can have small samples of all the different building sands that are in use in your area.

Trial and error

Once you've got your sand samples, you'll need to carry out the following exercise.  However, before you start, it's a good idea to draw up a table showing which sample contains what so that you can keep track of the various mixes.

  1. Measure out the first type of sand accurately into a small container.
  2. Make up a mini mortar mix using three parts sand to one part cement.
  3. Make up more mixes by gradually increasing amounts of sand to cement until you reach six parts to one.
  4. Repeat the process with all the sand samples.
  5. Allow the mixes to dry and then look to see which one most closely matches your patio.

If you're still struggling to find the perfect match, you could consider using a cement dye. These dyes come in powder form, and you add them to the cement mix before you add water. You can obtain cement dyes from your local builders' merchants.

In conclusion

In order to achieve a perfectly matched repair to cracked or damaged patio pointing, follow the tips outlined above.  In the event that you can't match the mortar satisfactorily, or if the existing pointing is very old, it might be best to cut your losses and redo the whole patio.