Abstract Mechanical properties of concrete and mortar structures can be estimated by ultrasonic non-destructive testing. When the ultrasonic velocity is known, there are standardized methods based on considering the concrete a homogeneous material. Cement composites, however, are heterogeneous and porous, and have a negative effect on the mechanical properties of structures. This work studies the impact of porosity on mechanical properties by considering concrete a multiphase material. A micromechanical model is applied in which the material is considered to consist of two phases: a solid matrix and pores. From this method, a set of expressions is obtained that relates the acoustic velocity and Young's modulus of mortar. Experimental work is based on non-destructive and destructive procedures over mortar samples whose porosity is varied. A comparison is drawn between micromechanical and standard methods, showing positive results for the method here proposed.