The Ten Books on Architecture, 2.5.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 2.4.3 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 2.5.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

5Having treated of the different sorts of sand, we proceed to an explanation of the nature of lime, which is burnt either from white stone or flint. That which is of a close and hard texture is better for building walls; as that which is more porous is better for plastering. When slaked for making mortar, if pit sand be used, three parts of sand are mixed with one of lime. If river or sea sand be made use of, two parts of sand are given to one of lime, which will be found a proper proportion. If to river or sea sand, potsherds ground and passed through a sieve, in the proportion of one third part, be added, the mortar will be better for use.

Morgan translation

5Sand and its sources having been thus treated, next with regard to lime we must be careful that it is burned from a stone which, whether soft or hard, is in any case white. Lime made of close-grained stone of the harder sort will be good in structural parts; lime of porous stone, in stucco. After slaking it, mix your mortar, if using pitsand, in the proportions of three parts of sand to one of lime; if using river or sea-sand, mix two parts of sand with one of lime. These will be the right proportions for the composition of the mixture. Further, in using river or sea-sand, the addition of a third part composed of burnt brick, pounded up and sifted, will make your mortar of a better composition to use.