I have two small areas at the base of my foundation I would like to repack with mortar. I don't fully understand the properties of mortar. Living in New England where the summers get really hot and the winters get really cold, would the fall or spring be the best time to pack it?

My mind is stuck on the drying process and whether or not the mortar will expand or contract. Or will the mortar always dry in the same shape it was applied?



Mortar (along with all other Portland cement-based masonry products) doesn't "dry". Well, it does, but the critical point is that it cures. It absorbs and chemically combines with the water used in the mix. For this reason, it's crucial that it not 1) dry out too quickly due to solar or other heat, and 2) freeze before it's had a chance to cure over several days, at least. It also doesn't shrink or expand appreciably.

Essentially, any temperature between 32F and around 90F is fine. Outside that range and you need to protect the mortar with tarps or other means, and you may need to mist it with water to keep enough moisture present. Inside that range and you're generally good to go.

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