I'm trying to find a good sand that matches the mortar that I have in our house right now. I live in Chicago.
The house is 30+ years old and as I look at the existing mortar, I see that it has large grains that are pretty diverse in color - whites, blues, reds, pinks, tans, etc. The grains in the mortar also seem to be fairly large.
In order to find an appropriate sand, I've gone to some construction material stores as well as some big box stores. The best sand I've found so far is a Quikrete masonry sand.
I spoke to a guy at the construction material store that seemed to know about concrete and mortar and according to him, the sample of mortar that I brought him seemed "washed out" which is why the large grain sand was showing up. Over time the smaller grained sand washed away exposing a large number of the larger grains that managed to hold on.
Should I be trying to match the large grain size sand? The Quikrete stuff seems pretty close however my "test" mixtures don't have that "washed out" quality. It's just nice, fresh mortar.
I also have this color powder that I add as I'm mixing the mortar. How long should I wait for it to harden in order to get a sample? Are 24 hours enough? Would a hairdryer be an appropriate way to speed this up?