Mortars - Dry Vs. Wet

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Refractory mortars are available in two different forms; wet, premixed form for or a powdered dry form. The following compares the two forms of refractory mortars so customers can make a decision on which form to use for their specific situation.


Wet mortars are made and shipped in a premixed, wet form with a slurry like consistency. At the manufacturing plant, the wet mortar is made to a specific consistency. It would be difficult to change that consistency without additional effort.

Wet mortars are shipped in plastic pails and are in a “ready to use” form when received. No additional mixing is needed when used on a job site, except for recommended stirring prior to use. But, wet mortars can exhibit refractory particle settling over time (with a resulting liquid layer on top of mortar). 
This also means the consistency cannot be made to another consistency if needed (Adding additional water can thin out the wet mortar but a wet mortar cannot be made thicker onsite without additional mixing and additives).

Wet mortars have a shelf life of 3 to 6 months so proper storage is recommended for acceptable shelf life. The wet mortar can stiffen over extended time period so enough quantity of mortar should be ordered for a specific time frame. Wet mortars are not known for extended or long shelf lives.

RESCO wet mortar brand names are LADLELOCK, ADAMANT, ADACOR , and ADAPHOS along with RESCOSET. All wet mortars are made in the U.S.A at Resco’s East Canton, Ohio, plant.


Dry mortars are made by blending refractory powders and packaging in a paper sacks. When used on a job site, a paddle mixer or mortar mixer is needed to mix water into the dry mortar to achieve the desired consistency. The desired consistency can be adjusted on-site by the amount of water added to the mixer.

Dry mortars have a much longer shelf life (with proper storage) than that of wet mortars since water is not added until it is used.

Also, dry mortars are ideal for shipping overseas for on-site use; especially with ocean shipping which requires several weeks of ocean transit to arrive at the customer’s site. The extended shelf life of dry mortars allows for the extended transit time of ocean shipping.

RESCO dry mortar brand names are LO SET, ALUTAB, METALDAM, and ADAMANT AIR SET DRY

All dry mortars are made in U.S.A at Resco’s Greensboro, NC, plant.

Properly Mixed Mortars Must:

  1. Be carefully measured/weight.  Follow mixing instructions
  2. Regular tap/hose water isn't appropriate
  3. Mix for the desired time ensuring proper mixture.  Follow mixing instructions
  4. Mix to the consistency for desired application

Consistency changes based off desired installation method.  Casting, pouring, and troweling are the most common types.  Casting and pouring need enough water to allow the castable to pour into desired molds.  While trowelling requires a consistency that allows the ability to put thin layers on by hand.  The material must be sticky enough to place the material on a verticle surface without falling.