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What Is Refractory Mortar?

Refractory mortar is a mortar that is prepared in the factory to withstand high temperatures and meet all codes. Refractory offers an alternative to traditional mortar mix and is designed to be more durable and longer-lasting despite use. In addition to its durability, refractory mortar is valued for its ease of use. The mortar mix is typically a combination of clay, aggregates, and binders, and requires very little if any mixing. Refractory mortars basically eliminate the possibility of improper mixing ratios and are designed to be easy to apply and work with. Because the mortar is prepared in a factory, it is guaranteed to meet all codes and withstand the extreme heat of a fire, use after use.

The two types of refractory mortar are:

  • Pre-mixed refractory mortar – Pre-mixed refractory mortar is a favored combination of clay, aggregates, and a binder, and essentially involves no mixing on-site. This mortar mix is incredibly strong and requires almost no drying time during installation. Although it can be a bit messy at times, cleanup is incredibly simple and only requires the use of a little water. While drying, the product is water-soluble, so the sooner you clean up your mess, the easier clean up is.
  • Non-water soluble refractory mortar (also known as hydraulic setting mortar) – Non-water soluble refractory mortar is a mortar mix that is made up of aggregates and binders, and simply requires the addition of water on-site. The benefit of using this type of refractory mortar is that it is acid resistant and non-water soluble, making it extremely durable in even the worst weather conditions. Due to its acid resistance, durability despite water exposure, and ability to take a beating, non-water soluble refractory mortar is the best choice for outdoor masonry fireplaces. It is also the ideal material for use with gas or oil appliances which produce moisture during combustion. By constructing the flue using non-water-soluble refractory mortar, you eliminate decay and deterioration within the flue, as a result of oil or gas created condensation.

If you are considering having a masonry fireplace installed, we can discuss the benefits of each type of refractory mortar with you to help you make the best choice for your needs. We have extensive experience working with these mortars and guarantee a tidy, timely installation every time. With refractory mortar, you be confident in the durability and safety of your investment and enjoy your fireplace for years to come. Call Chief Chimney Services, Inc. today or click here to schedule an appointment online to discuss your refractory fireplace installation!


Rumford is a very popular type of pre-fabricated fireplace and is one we have a lot of experience installing. Talk to us about the style and efficiency advantages before making a final decision on your chimney and fireplace installation.

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