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The Role of HPMC in Drymix Mortars

Released on Jun. 15, 2023

HPMC (Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose) plays a significant role in the formulation and performance of drymix mortars. Drymix mortars are pre-mixed powdered formulations that are used for various construction applications, including tile adhesives, cement renders, plasters, and grouts. HPMC is a key additive in drymix mortars due to its unique properties and functionalities. In this response, we will explore the role of HPMC in drymix mortars in detail.


 HPMC in Drymix Mortars

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Water Retention:

One of the primary functions of HPMC in drymix mortars is water retention. HPMC has high water-holding capacity, which allows it to absorb and retain water in the mortar mixture. This property helps to prevent rapid drying of the mortar and allows sufficient time for hydration of cement and other binders. As a result, it improves workability, enhances open time, and reduces the risk of cracking and shrinkage during the curing process.


Improved Workability:

HPMC acts as a rheology modifier in drymix mortars, enhancing their workability and application properties. It imparts a desirable consistency to the mortar mixture, making it easier to spread, trowel, and shape. The presence of HPMC improves the flow and cohesion of the mortar, enabling smooth application on various substrates. It also enhances the adhesion properties of the mortar, ensuring better bonding with the substrate.


Increased Adhesion:

HPMC contributes to the adhesive strength of drymix mortars. It forms a thin film on the surface of the substrate, promoting adhesion between the mortar and the substrate. This is particularly crucial in tile adhesives, where strong and durable bonding is required to secure tiles to the substrate. HPMC ensures reliable adhesion, preventing tile detachment or failure over time.


Sag Resistance:

HPMC helps to reduce sagging or slumping of drymix mortars when applied vertically or overhead. The addition of HPMC imparts thixotropic properties to the mortar, meaning it becomes less viscous under shear stress (such as when it is applied) and regains its viscosity when the stress is removed (preventing sagging). This property is essential for vertical applications, such as wall renders or tile adhesives, as it ensures that the mortar stays in place without sliding down the surface.


Improved Cohesion and Flexibility:

HPMC enhances the cohesion of drymix mortars, making them more durable and resistant to cracking. It forms a three-dimensional network within the mortar, increasing its strength and flexibility. This property is especially beneficial in plasters and renders, where the mortar needs to withstand external stresses, such as thermal expansion and contraction or substrate movement. HPMC helps to accommodate these movements and maintain the integrity of the mortar system.


Water Resistance:

HPMC contributes to the water resistance of drymix mortars, protecting them from moisture-related issues. The film-forming ability of HPMC creates a barrier that reduces water absorption by the mortar, preventing water penetration and subsequent damage. This is crucial in exterior applications or areas prone to high humidity, as it helps to preserve the structural integrity and aesthetic appearance of the mortar.


Anti-Crack Properties:

HPMC enhances the crack resistance of drymix mortars by minimizing the formation of shrinkage cracks. It acts as a binder and volumizer, reducing the overall shrinkage of the mortar during drying and curing. By controlling shrinkage, HPMC helps to prevent the development of cracks, ensuring a more durable and aesthetically pleasing mortar finish.


Compatibility with Other Ingredients:

HPMC exhibits excellent compatibility with various additives and ingredients commonly used in drymix mortars. It can be easily incorporated into the formulation without causing any adverse effects on other components. This versatility allows formulators to tailor the properties of drymix mortars according to specific project requirements.




HPMC plays a vital role in drymix mortars by improving water retention, workability, adhesion, sag resistance, cohesion, flexibility, water resistance, and anti-crack properties. It is a versatile additive that enhances the overall performance and durability of drymix mortars, making them suitable for a wide range of construction applications.


 HPMC in Drymix Mortars

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