Stone Glossary

“One cannot overestimate the power of persistence. It is persistence that guides a stonemason’s hands and causes mighty castles and temples to be built.”

– Jeff Wheeler




A wooden or metal rack constructed in the shape of an “A” on which large stone slabs are shipped and stored.
To cut away so as to leave parts in relief.
Abrasion Resistance
The property of a surface by which it resists being worn away as a result of friction.
Abrasive Finish
A flat non-reflective surface finish. Recommended for exterior use.
Abrasive Hardness (Ha)
Refers to the wearing qualities of stone for floors, stair treads and similar uses subjected to abrasion by foot traffic.
A test method for stone from the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). Absorption is the percentage of moisture absorption by weight. The process by which a liquid is taken into (soaked up by) another substance and held there. The weight of water a brick unit absorbs, when immersed in either cold or boiling water for a stated length of time, expressed as a percentage of weight of the dry unit.
The supporting wall or pier that receives the thrust of an arch; a solid stone springer at the lowest point of an arch, vault or beam.
A material used to speed the setting of mortar, epoxy, and polyester resins.
Acrylic Emulsions
Clear water-based repellents which form a film. The acrylic resins come from the polymerization of derivatives of acrylic acids, including esters of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, acrylonitrite, and their copolymers. Acrylics resins vary from hard brittle solids, to fibrous elastomeric structures to viscous liquids, depending on the monomer used and the method of polymerization.
Acrylic Resin
See polyester resin.
Resins resulting from the polymerization of derivatives of acrylic acids including esters of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, acrylonitrite, and their copolymers. They can be carried in a water or solvent solution and they are film-forming materials.
Active Solids
Ingredients of a coating composition which are deposited following co-reaction or reaction with the substrate. Active solids are usually measured as a weight percent of the total.
Stone veneer secured and supported by adhesion of an approved bonding material over an approved backing.
Adhesive, Organic
See mastic.
Chemical additives included in the mixing batch for concrete manufacture or applied to the surface during the curing or setting process of the concrete, which variously accelerate or retard the curing time, provide coloring, waterproofing, tearing, special aggregate finishes fillers, etc…
A volcanic quartz-based stone containing a variety of colored aggregates and pumice in a quartz matrix. Quarried in Mexico and available in several colors.
A variegated variety or quartz allowing colored bands or other markings (clouded, moss-like, etc…).
A man-made product fabricated to look like quarried stone. Usually composed of stone chips or fragments embedded in a matrix of mortar or thermosetting resins.
Materials that are added to mortar or grout at time of mixing to impart special properties to the mortar or grout; quantities of loose fragments of rock or mineral.
A fine grained, translucent variety of gypsum, generally white in color. May be cut and carved easily with a knife or saw. The term is often incorrectly applied to fine-grained marble.
A table form; the center of most liturgical places of worship.
Altar Rail
A railing across the chancel, or in front of the altar.
See reredos.
Any project involving change of, or addition to, an existing building.
Aluminum oxide.
Aluminum Stearate
Complex salt or soap of aluminum and stearic acid. Used as a flattering and antisettling agent for pigments in paint and varnish, water repellents and cement additives.
Ambient Temperature
Temperature of the surrounding environment.
One of the two pulpits or raised stands, usually stone, used in Christian churches.
Metal device for securing dimensional stone to a structure or back-up walls.
The means by which slabs are attached to a self-supporting structure.
Angle Iron
A structural steel angle; used for lintels to support masonry over openings, such as doors, windows or fireplaces.
A hydrate which has given up all its previously held water molecules.
An usually dark-colored igneous rock consisting mostly or entirely of calcic plagioclase.
Top or peak of a pyramidal or conical form.
Apex Stone
Top stone of gable, spire, or pediment.
A trim piece under a projecting stone top, stool, etc…
A translucent white mineral found in calcium carbonate.
A range of arches with their supports; also, a passageway, one side of which is a range of arches supporting a roof.
One skilled in the design of buildings and having technical knowledge of their construction.
The art and science of designing and constructing buildings adapted to their purposes, one which is beauty.
Member of an entablature resting on the capitals of columns and supporting the frieze.
Arcuated Construction
Stone masonry in compression, using arch and vault.
The surface included within specific boundaries.
A compact metamorphic rock composed mainly of clay or shale, and aluminum silicate minerals. Similar to slate in appearance and splitting properties, but usually much harder.
Arkose, Arkosic Sandstone, Feldspathic Sandstone
A quartz-based sandstone containing 10% or more of elastic grains or feldspar.
Aromatic Solvents
Hydrocarbon solvents comprised of organic compounds which contain an unsaturated ring of carbon atoms, including benzene, naphthalene and their derivatives.
The angle, corner, or edge produced by the meeting of two surfaces; the edge of external angle. A natural or applied line on the stone from which all the leveling and plumbing is measured.
Artificial Marble
A man-made product that may look like natural quarried marble, sometimes composed of thermosetting resins as a matrix and fillers.
Artificial Stone
An ugly and poor substitute for natural stone made by casting selected aggregates and cement in molds.
A class of masonry consisting of blocks of accurately dresed, cut, squared, and finished stone, faced and with clean sharp arrises, forming perfect courses, laid in mortar. Sometimes the term coursed ashlar is used for stones having the same height within each course, but with each course varying in height. The term random ashlar is also sometimes used for rectangular stones that appear to be laid without a specific pattern.
The open roofed entrance court of a building.
The surface finish produced by means of masonry axe tool.
An imaginary line in plan or elevation dividing symmetrical parts.


Back Arch
A concealed arch carrying the back lug of a wall where the exterior facing is carried by a lintel.
Back Filling
Rough masonry built behind a facing or between two faces. Or, filling over the extrados of an arch; brickwork in spaces between structural timbers, sometimes called brick nogging.
Back-up Wall
That part of masonry or other type wall behind the stone veneer, die, or facing.
The part of a veneer wall behind the exterior facing which is designed to resist load.
Backing Rod
A flexible and compressible type of closed cell-foam polyethlene, butyl rubber, or open cell and closed cell polyurethane, rounded at surface to contact sealant. It is installed at the bottom or rear of joint and often described as a “filler strip”.
A miniature pillar or column supporting a rail usually used in balustrades.
A railing or parapet consisting of a handrail and balusters, sometimes on a base member and sometimes interrupted by piers.
A bench of timber or stone (may be a single block) on which stone is worked.
Sculpture or carving with slight projection from the background.
A dense textured (aphanitic) igneous rock relatively high in iron and magnesia minerals and relatively low in silica, generally dark gray to black, and feldspathic. A general term in contradistinction to felsite, a light colored feldspathic and highly siliceous rock or similar texture and origin. The colors of basalts are very dark green to black and often sold as granites, but unlike granites, basalt contains little or no quartz or feldspars.
The bottom course of a stone wall, or the vertical first member above grade of a finished floor. Or, in a classical column, it is the part between the shaft and pedestal or paving.
Base Block
The squared block terminating a baseboard at the opening.
Base Course
The lowest course, or footing of a wall or pier.
The skirting member at the junction of wall and floor. See base.
A checkerboard pattern in paving.
A piece of brick, usually half the size or smaller.
Stone surface finish produced with parallel tool marks.
Recessing or sloping masonry back in successive courses; the opposite of corbel.
Battered Wall
Inward slope from bottom to top of the face of a wall. Or, a term used by bricklayers and carpenters to signify a wall, piece of timber, or other materials, which do not stand upright; the opposite of corbel.
Batting Tool
A mason’s chisel several inches wide used to dress stone to a striated surface.
The shape of a sealant in a joint after application.
Bead Joint
A joint with a half-round or half spherical section.
A slot cut into the back of dimension stone to allow entry of a supporting angle or clip.
Bearing Check
A slot cut into the back of dimension stone to allow entry of a supporting angle or clip.
In granites and marbles a layer or sheet of the rock mass that is horizontal, commonly curved and lenticular as developed by fractures. Sometimes applied also to the surface of parting between the sheets. Or, in stratified rocks the unit layer formed by sedimentation; of variable thickness and commonly tilted or distorted by subsequent deformation; generally develops a rock cleavage, parting or jointing along the planes of stratification.
Bed Joint
A horizontal joint between stones, usually filled with mortar, lead, or sealant.
Bedding Plane
Horizontal plane of sedimentary stone in the position of its original formation.
Belt Course
A continuous horizontal course of flat stones place in line marking a division in the wall plane. Sometimes called band course, string course, or sill course.
Steps formed in quarry by removal of stone following bed joints. Or, a long seat of cubic stone.
Bench Mark
A datum point from which differences in level are reckoned.
A bank of earth, such as the piled-up earth against a stone wall.
The angle that one surface or line makes with another, when they are not at right angles; a sloped surface contiguous with a vertical or horizontal surface.
A black, brown, or dark-green mica, a magnesium iron silicate.
Bird’s Beak Molding
A drip mold found notably in the cap of the pilaster of the Doric order.
Black Granite
Dark colored igneous rocks defined by geologists as basalt, diabase, gabbro, diorite, and anorthosite, quarried as building stone, building facings, and specialty purposes and identified as Black Granite when sold.
Staining action caused by corrosive metals, oil-based putties, mastics, caulking or sealing compounds. Rust-colored bleeding can also occur from stone that contains a high concentration of iron pyrite.
Refers to the proper positioning of adjacent veneer panels, or floor slabs, or tiles by their predominant color to achieve an overall uniform pattern.
Mixes of different generic raw materials to form a water repellent.
Blind Header
A concealed brick header in the interior of a wall, not showing on the face.
See Quarry Block.
Internal members of wall furring or the like to afford fastening and rigidity for the veneer. Or, to fill a space within a shipping truck or container with fastened wood to prevent movement of stone.
A hard sandstone of characteristic blue, olive green, gray and buff colors quarried in the states of New York and Pennsylvania (historically quarried near the Hudson River, Appalachian Plateau). Bluestone is most commonly purchased for use as flagstone and other forms of paving.
Film defect which appears as a milky opalescence as a clear coating or paint film dries.
A free-standing stone post or guard. Or, a stone guard protecting a wall corner from damage by encroaching traffic.
Bond Breaker
Normally in tape form. Used to ensure adhesion on both sides of the joint in joints of limited depth, and where a backing rod or other joint filler is not practical.
Bond Coat
An adhesive material used between the back of the stone tile or paver and the prepared surface.
Bond Stone
Used in varying percentages to anchor or bond the stone veneer to the backing material. Bond stones are generally cut to twice the bed thickness of the material being used. Or, stones projecting laterally into the backup wall used to tie the wall together.
Book Matching
Veneer slabs cut and assembled so that one slab will match the other in the horizontal direction, or in a vertical direction, but not both. Slabs must have alternate faces finished in sequence as they are layered in the quarry block.
A flat stone used as an edging material, a border stone is generally used to retain the field of the terrace or platform.
Border Stone
Usually a flat stone used as a edging material. A border stone is generally used to retain the field of a terrace, platform, or floor.
A rough stone placed in a wall and projecting from it, that is left to be sculptured at a later time. Or, coursed stone ashlar with roughly dressed or projecting face.
Paving with cobblestones.
Boulders are heavy, rough stones commonly used in landscaping.
Break Joints
To arrange a course of stone so that its vertical joints are not in line with those of the course just below.
The passing of moisture in gaseous form through stone. Also called “vapor transmission.” To a greater or lesser extent all stone has this process occur.
Marble or limestone in which angular fragments are imbedded in a matrix of the same of another composition.
Brecciated Marble
Any marble composed of angular fragments.
Bridge Saw
A saw that powers a circular diamond blade or blades which travel on a metal rail (bridge), and rests on supports. It is used to fabricate dimension stone slabs and cubic stone into square and rectangular pieces. Some models can be used to fabricate profiles and miters.
To drill or cut out material left between closely spaced drill holes. Also, a mason’s sharp pointed chisel for dressing stone and a type of chisel used for working narrow surfaces.
Broken Flagstone
Irregularly shaped stones, generally ½” to 2 ½” thick. See flagstone.
A sandstone of characteristic brown or reddish-brown color that is due to a prominent amount of iron oxide as interstitial material. Or, a term applied to ferruginous dark brown and reddish brown askosic sandstones extensively used for construction in the U.S. during the 19th century Stone for New York City’s noted “brownstone fronts” came from the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, southeastern Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Brushed Finish
Obtained by brushing the stone with a course rotary-type wire brush.
British Thermal Unit; the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at sea level, used as the basic unit of definite heat generation and transmission.
Capable of improvement in gloss or general appearance, or both, of a polish by a mechanical action.
Bugged Finish
A smooth finish produced by grinding with power sanders.
Building Stone
Natural rock of adequate quality to be quarried and cut as dimension stone as it exists in nature.
Term indicating the assembly of pieces or layers to complete a wall, etc…
Bull Nose
Convex rounding of a stone member, such as a stair tread. A convex, semicircular molding formed on the end of brick.
A wooden framework in which large stone slabs are packed for shipment.
Burnish Finish
See polished finish.
Bush Hammered
A mechanical process which produces textures surfaces. Textures vary from subtle to rough.
Butt Crack
Once thought to be exclusive to the plumbing trade, it is a visible sign of working with intense concentration and expertise.
Butt Joint
An external corner formed by the meeting of two square-edged stones, either one overlapping the other.
To place mortar on a masonry unit with a trowel.
A faulty method of installation which involves the use of spots of mortar at corners and middle of stone tile.
Placing mortar on stone on stone tile units with a trowel before setting into position, to insure adhesion and to aid in leveling.
A projecting mass of masonry set at an angle to or bonded into a wall that it strengthens or supports. A buttress decreases in its cross-sectional area form top to base.
A synthetic rubber formed by the copolymerization of isobutylene and isoprene.


C/b Ratio
The ratio of the weight of water absorbed by a masonry unit when immersed 24 hours in cold water to the weight of water absorbed after an additional immersion for five hours in boiling water. Also called the saturation coefficient.
Limestone composed predominantly of clastic sand-size grains of calcite, or rarely aragonic, usually as fragments of shells or fossils. Some calcarenites contain oolites and may be termed oolitic limestone. Calareous quart-based stone in which the calcium carbonate is present chiefly as binding material are not included in this category.
Calcium-bearing rock.
The natural mineral form of calcium carbonate.
Calcite Limestone
A limestone containing not more than 5% of magnesium carbonate.
Calcite Marble
A crystalline variety of limestone containing not more than 5% of magnesium carbonate.
Calcite Streaks
Descriptions of a white or milky-like streak occurring in stone. It is a joint plane usually wider than a glass seam and has been re-cemented by deposition of calcite in the crack and is structurally sound.
Calcium Oxide
Calcined limestone.
A slight rising from the horizontal, to gain an actual or apparent effect of arching.
A sheltering roof over a niche or a doorway.
A volcanic quartz-based stone with qualities similar to Adoquin, but not as dense; quarried in Mexico.
A structural member, supported at only one end, that projects from a wall.
Caps are masonry units laid on top of a finished wall, column, door, or molding.
Capacity Insulation
The ability of masonry to store heat as a result of its mass, density and specific heat.
Capillary Action
The movement of a liquid in the interstices of a porous material, as a result of surface tension; the phenomenon responsible for dry materials sucking moisture above the normal water level.
Column cap, the top member or group of members of a column, pier, shaft, or pilaster.
See coping.
The crowning stone of a structure; differing from capital in that it is not a supporting member.
A salt of carbonic acid.
Carbonic Acid
A weak acid.
Shaping by cutting a design to form; the trade of a sculptor.
In the stone industry, the artisan who does carved work.
Cutting of ornamental shapes, figures, etc… from models or details, which are too intricate to produce from patterns.
Cast Stone
A precast concrete building stone manufactured to simulate dimension stone.
A substance which accelerates a chemical reaction but appears to remain unchanged itself (i.e. a hardener that accelerates the cure of synthetic resin adhesive).
A non-staining, non-hardening putty-like mastic, usually applied to stone joints with a pressure gun.
The application of a sealant in a joint or opening to prevent the passage of water, air, dust, and noise. Or, making a joint tight or leak proof by sealing with an elastic adhesive compound.
Cavity Vent
An opening in joints of veneer to allow the passage of air and moisture from the wall cavity to the exterior.
Cavity Wall
An exterior wall, usually of masonry, consisting of an outer and inner wythe separated by continuous airspace.
Cells are distinguished from core holes by being larger in size.
A hydraulic mixture, without aggregate, consisting of a calcined mixture of clay and pulverized limestone.
Cement Putty/cream/butter
A thick, creamy mixture made with pore cement and water which is used to strengthen the bond between the stone and the setting bed.
Made from, or composed of, portland cement.
Temporary formwork for the support of masonry arches or lintels during construction. Also called center (s).
To bevel the junction of an exterior angle. Or, to cut away the edge where two surfaces meet in an external angle, leaving a bevel at the junction.
That part of a church interior reserved for clergy and containing the alter.
A continuous recess in a wall to receive pipes, ducts, conduit, etc….
Chat Sawed
Description of a textured stone finish, obtained by using chat sand in the gang sawing process.
Chat Sawn Finish
A rough gang saw finish produced by sawing with course chat.
A rebate, normally larger than a fillet.
Checker Work
Masonry of square-face stones not breaking joints.
A shaft, approximately vertical, which helps create a draft for conducting the smoke and gases of combustion from above a fire to the outside.
Chimney Breast
The exterior face of the wall directly above the fireplace opening.
Chimney Lining
Fire clay, terra cotta, or refractory cement built inside a chimney.
Chimney Throat
That part of a chimney directly above the firebox where the walls are brought close together.
A small, irregularly shaped stone piece dislodged, usually from the edge, from a stone piece.
Circualar Face
A stone face worked to convex circular (not spherical) shape.
Circualar Saw
Machine with power-driven revolving steel disc, rimmed with diamond or other abrasive elements.
Circular Circular Face
A stone face worked to convex spherical shape.
Circular Circular Sunk Face
A stone face worked to concave spherical shape.
Circular Sunk Face
A stone face worked to a concave circular (not spherical) shape.
An exterior veneer stone covering that is non-load bearing.
Class Of Unit
A ranking of masonry units according to their different grades or types in ASTM specifications, the different raw materials they are manufactured from, or other characteristics.
Stone fragments that are derived from pre-existing rocks or minerals.
Claw Tool
Toothed chisel used in roughing out process.
A natural mineral aggregate consisting essentially of hydrous aluminum silicate. It is plastic when sufficiently wetted, stiff when dried, and vitrified when fired to a sufficiently high temperature.
Clay Mortar
A soft, low lime mortar usually used when lime was expensive and difficult to procure. Its primary usage was in remote areas for small scale buildings.
Clean Back
The visible end of a stone laid as a bond stone.
The removal of marks, dust, and other extraneous materials from the surface of the stone.
Cleanout Holes
Openings at the bottom of a grout space for cleaning mortar droppings and other debris prior to grout placement.
Clear Coating
An invisible to glossy film or penetrate applied to substrates to protect, repel or resist water and hydration of minerals.
Space allowed to facilitate erection of units and provide for thermal and other estimated movements in structure.
The ability of a rock mass to break along natural surfaces; a surface of natural parting. Also used to refer to the plane or planes along which a stone may likely break or delaminate.
Cleavage Membrane
Membrane that provides a separation and slip sheet between the mortar setting bed and the backing or base surface.
Cleavage Plane
Plane or planes along which a stone may likely break or delaminate.
Clipped Header
A bat placed to look like a header for purposes of establishing a pattern; also called a false header.
The last masonry unit or portion of a unit laid in a course.
Supplementary or short length units used at corners or jambs to maintain bond patterns.
A protective or decorative covering applied to the surface or impregnated into stone for such purposes as waterproofing, enhancing resistance to weathering, wear, and chemical action, or altering the appearance of the stone.
A usually rectangular stone used in paving. Cobblestones are commonly used for streets and driveways.
Legal restrictions of a given locality governing the building of various types of structures.
Collar Joint
The vertical longitudinal joint between wythes of masonry filled with mortar or grout.
An isolated vertical member whose horizontal dimension measured at right angles to the thickness does not exceed three times its thickness and whose height is at least three times its thickness.
Commercial Marble
A crystalline rock composed predominately of one or more of the following mineralscalcite, dolomite, or serpentine, and capable of taking a polish.
A construction unit in which stone that is to be exposed in the final use is permanently bonded or joined to concealed material.
Composite Action
Transfer of stress between components of a member designed so that in resisting loads, the combined components act together as a single member.
Composite Masonry
Multi-component masonry members acting with composite action.
A composition material consisting of Portland Cement, aggregate, and water. When mixed together, will result in a chemical action that will set and harden into rock-like mass.
Concrete Masonry Unit
A masonry unit made of Portland Cement, water, and mineral aggregates, formed into a rectangular prism.
Dampness of interior surfaces caused by the release of water as it cools below the dew point; the formation of frost or water when air carrying water vapor comes in contact with a cold surface, cooling the air and reducing its ability to hold moisture.
A sandstone composed of rock particles that are rounded or angular gravel rather than sand; an aggregate of rounded and water-worn pebbles and boulders cemented together into a coherent stone.
Treatment of the stone surface with a liquid solution which is commonly brush or spray applied; various stone consolidation processes can extend the life of stone and retard the decay process, but they cannot permanently arrest deterioration. Consolidation techniques employ both organic and inorganic chemicals. Inorganic processes have long-life and exhibit similar expansion-contraction behavior as treated material. Most inorganic processes cannot reattach loose pieces of stone or fill gaps in large cracks; adhesives may be required for the purposes. Organic processes are based on the use of synthetic resins. Their life span is generally less than that of inorganic material, but they can be especially effective with porous stone as well as comprehensive strengths. Epoxy resins, for example, are good adhesives and weatherizers, but current available epoxies are sensitive to ultraviolet rays which tend to discolor in time and do not weather well. Mixtures and combinations of both organic and inorganic treatments such as ethyl silicate are continually being developed to take advantage of the benefits of both treatments.
An enclosed truck body that is usually used to hold and carry imported dimension stone into the United States.
Contour Scaling
A crust forming across the surface of sandstones and limestones which follows the contour of the surface rather than the bedding planes of the stones; the result of direct pollution; the pores of the stone are blocked by formations of recrystallized calcium sulfates.
Contraction Joints
Spaces where panels are joined and which expand as the panels contract.
One who erects and installs fabricated dimensional stone.
Control Joint
Provision for the dimensional change of different parts of a structure due to shrinkage, expansion, temperature variation or other causes, so as to avoid the development of high stresses.
Cope Stone
The horizontal top stone of a wall or similar stone construction , usually flat.
A cap or covering course on top of masonry wall. Designed to shed water, protect the top and provide a finished, closed appearance to the wall. Commonly extended beyond the wall face and incorporating a drip. SECSingle edge coping; DECDouble edge coping.
Limestone composed predominately of shells or fragments of shells loosely cemented by calcite. Coquina is course-textured and has a high porosity. The term is applied principally to a very porous rock quarried in Florida.
Coral Limestone
A limestone consisting of the calcareous skeletons of corals, often containing fragments of other organisms and usually cemented by calcium carbonate.
Projecting successive courses of masonry out from the face of the wall to increase the wall thickness or to form a shelf or ledge.
Corbel Plates
Concealed plates of nonferrous metal fixed into a structure to support stone cladding at intervals and over openings.
Continuous openings or perforations within extruded clay products.
A stone forming a part of a corner or angle in a wall. Also a stone laid at the formal inauguration of the erection of a building.
A molded projecting stone at the top of an entablature or facade.
Corrosion Resistant
Steel items which have been treated or coated to retard harmful oxidation or other corrosive action.
An added depression below a surface, as to receive the head of a nail, screw, or bolt; also, the sinkage of a small area below the surface plane.
A continuous horizontal band of stone of constant height.
Coursed Veneer
This is achieved by using stones of the same or approximately the same heights. Horizontal joints runs on the entire length of the veneered area. Vertical joints are constantly broken so that no two joints will be over one another.
French for the stone at the top of a pier supporting the lowest stone of an arch.
Cove Base
A concave stone molding.
Cove Joint
A concave joint shaped with a tool.
A break, split, fracture, fissure, separation, cleavage, or elongated narrow opening, however caused, visible without magnification to the human eye and extending from the surface into the stone, through the grain, matrix, or vein.
A ‘U’ shaped metal anchor for holding two adjacent units of stone together.
A multi-pointed hammer for dressing the face of stone.
A wooden protective case in which stone is packed for shipment.
Depression in a coating film usually caused by air or solvent trapped in the coating, forming bubbles which break after the film has set sufficiently to prevent leveling.
Crazing, Craze, Crack
Fine, random cracks or fissures in a network on or under a surface of plaster, cement, mortar, concrete, ceramic coating or paint film; caused by shrinkage.
The permanent and continuing dimensional deformation of material under a sustained load, following the initial spontaneous plastic deformation. In structures particularly concrete, the permanent deflection of structural framing or structural decking resulting from plastic flow under continued stress. In roofing, the permanent elongation or shrinkage of roofing membrane, resulting from thermal or moisture changes.
The arrangements of laminations of strata transverse or oblique to the main planes of stratification.
(Croissette, Crosset) A side lug at the upper side of an arch stone, entering a corresponding space on the adjoining stone.
Crowfoot Vein
(Stylolite) Description of a dark gray to black zigzag marking occurring in stone; usually structurally sound.
Crystalline Limestone
Limestone, either calcite or dolomite, composed of interlocking crystalline grains of the constituent minerals and of phaneritic texture. Commonly used synonymous with marble, and thus representing a recrystallized limestone. Improperly applied to limestones that display some obviously crystalline grains in a fine-grained mass but which are not of interlocking texture and do not compose the entire mass. Crystalline limestones are microscopically, or in part megascopically, crystalline; the term is thus confusing but should be restricted to stones that are completely crystalline and of megascopic and interlocking texture and that may be classed as marbles.)
Cubic Limestone
Dimension units more than two inches thick.
Cubic Marble
Fabricated dimensional marble units more than two inches in thickness.
Material rejected as below the desired or stated grade of stone.
Cultured Marble
An artificial, manmade product, created by mixing minimal amounts of marble dust into a resin.
Slabs and blocks of stone bordering streets, walks, etc, producing the change in level between sidewalk and street.
Formation of a final, more stable, usable state following a chemical or physical reaction induced by heat, radiation, etc… or through evaporation of a solvent.
The drying and hardening process of mortar after installation. Some materials require damp curing.
A course of stones bearing moldings, to produce a string course.
Curtain Wall
A lightweight exterior wall system supporting no more than its own weight, the roof and floors being carried by an independent structural framework. Sometimes used in reference to early 19th century brick buildings but more commonly to mid 20th century metal panel and glass exteriors.
A resilient pad to absorb or counteract severe stresses between adjoining stone units and or other materials.
Cut Stone
Finished, dimensional stone, ready to set in place.
Handwork required to finish a stone which cannot be done by machine.
Cutting Stock
A term used to describe varying size, finish, and thickness which are used in fabricating treads, risers, copings, borders, sills, stools, hearths, mantels and other special purpose stones.
Cutting Tickets
Detailed list for each piece of dimension stone showing exact dimensions including thickness, face finish, edge treatments, carving, molding, hole drilling, and any other fabrication details. These are usually prepared in the drafting department for use in the fabrication plant or shop. Also called shop lists, shop drawings, and shop tickets.


To dress the face of a stone by picking with a pointed tool
Fine-grained extrusive (volcanic) rock, intermediate in color and composition between basalt and rhyolite.
Stone treatment on interior walls which does not extend to the ceiling, often ornamented.
Damp Course
A course or layer of impervious material which prevents vertical penetration of water by capillary action.
Prevention of moisture penetration due to capillary action by the addition of one or more coatings of a compound that is impervious to water.
Dampproofing Course
A horizontal or vertical course or layer, usually at least six inches above the ground level, that prevents the capillary entrance of moisture from the ground or a lower course.
A horizontal plane elevation used as a reference plane.
Buried cross timbers, or a bulk of concrete or stone, to which are attached guy pieces of wood, or wire cable, to anchor an upright post or derrick nearby.
The amount by which a horizontal member bends at the center under stress.
A failure in a laminating assembly characterized by the separation or loss of adhesion between plies, such as in built-up roofing or glue-laminated timber.
Block projections on an entablature.
Dentil Course
Mold course immediately below the cornice, having on one of its members, small uniformly spaced blocks, referred to as dentils.
Depth Of Gloss
The optical phenomenon of relative depth perceived when viewing reflective surfaces.
A hoisting device, usually made up of a guyed mast, a boom hinged to it, and pulley ropes.
To bring into being a mental concept.
A graphic representation of a part, usually at a larger scale than the design to which it belongs.
A granular igneous rock, dark gray to black, sometimes called dolerite.
Diamond Matching
(Quarter matching) A veneer panel matching pattern similar to book matching, except that the third and fourth panels are inverted over panels one and two.
Diamond Sawed
Finish produced by sawing with diamond toothed saws (either circular or gang).
Any continuous pattern in brickwork, usually applied in a diamond or other diagonal patterns.
A covering layer of interior stone from wall to ceiling.
Stone-Natural building stone that has been selected, trimmed, or cut to specified shapes and sizes. Final surface treatment, or finish is as specified.
Granular, crystallized igneous stone composed of feldspar and hornblende.
Dogs And Chain
Pair of steel hooks with rings attached into which chain is slung; vertical pull on chain draws hooks together in horizontal direction to grip stone blocks.
Dog’s Tooth
A brick laid with it’s corner projecting from the wall face.
Dolly Pointed
See picked.
A calcium magnesium carbonate; a crystalline variety of limestone, containing in excess of 40 percent of magenesium carbonate as the dolomite molecule.
Dolomite Marble
A crystalline variety of limestone, containing in excess of 49% of magnesium carbonate as the dolomite molecule.
Dolomitic Limestone
A limestone rich in magnesium carbonate, frequently somewhat crystalline in character. It is found in ledge formations in a wide variety of color tones and textures. Generally speaking, its crushing and tensile strengths are greater than oolitic limestones, and its appearance shows greater variety in texture.
Another name for dolomite. Often the word dolomite is used for the mineral dolomite while the name dolostone is used for the rock type composed of the mineral dolomite.
Dovetail Anchor
A splayed tenon that is shaped like a dove’s tail, broader at its end than at its base, which fits into the recess of a corresponding mortise.
Dovetail Molding
A molding in which interlocked triangles are used.
A cylindrical metal pin used in aligning and strengthening joints of adjacent stone units, or to assist in anchoring stone units.
Straight metal bars or rods used to connect two sections of masonry or masonry to other materials.
The tooled strip or border of faced stone, also known as a margin.
One who translates and draws or prepares a design into drawings.
Dressed/ Hand Dressed
The cutting of rough chunks of stone by hand to create a square or rectangular shape. A stone which is sold as dressed stone generally refers to stone ready for installation.
The shaping and squaring, sometimes called scabbling, of blocks for storage and shipment.
To cut a cylindrical hole, or a tool used to drill a cylindrical hole.
A recess cut into the underside of projecting stone to divert water and prevent it from running down the face of a wall or other surface of which it is a part.
Drip Mold
A molding shaped for drip.
A mason’s blunt chisel for facing stone.
One of the cylindrical stone blocks of a column shaft.
Dry Pack
A mixture of Portland Cement and fine aggregate, dampened, but not to the extent that it will flow. It is usually rammed or packed in a hole to secure a bar or anchor, but it is also packed under base plates.
Dry Seam
Unhealed fracture which may be a plane of weakness.
Dry Wall
Dry wall is a stone that is constructed one stone upon the other without the use of any mortar. Generally used for retaining walls.
Dual Finish
Two finishes on one piece of stone, such as thermal and polished.
The measure of the ability of dimension stone to endure and to maintain its essential and distinctive characteristics of strength, resistance to decay and moisture, and appearance.
A small, matching piece of dimension stone that is cut, finished and attached with the tightest possible joint to a floor, wall, top, or other larger piece of stone to increase its length or width or to repair or replace a missing or damaged area. Dutchmen are usually affixed in the fabrication shop with epoxy or polyester resin.


The distance between a vertical load reaction and a centroidal axis of masonry.
A brick set on its narrow side instead of on its flat side.
Effective Height
The height of a member that is assumed when calculating the slenderness ratio.
A deposit or encrustation of soluble salts generally white, usually carbonates or sulfates, that may form on the surface of stone, brick, concrete or mortar when moisture moves through and evaporates from the masonry.
Eggshell Finish
Dull polish or matte surface.
Eight-cut Finish
Fine, bush-hammered; interrupted parallel markings not over 3/32″ apart; a corrugated finish; smoother near arris lines and on small surfaces.
The conic section resulting from cutting a cone obliquely through its curved surface.
Mixture of solid particles of binder and the liquid carrier in which they are suspended but insoluble.
Encrinal Marble
Marble deriving decoration from fossils or shells.
The process of adding color to incised lettering in stone.
A horizontal, projecting group of stones immediately above a column capital. Consists of three major partsarchitrave, cornice, and frieze.
The curve resulting from the gradual diminishing in the diameter of the upper two-thirds of a column.
A class of synthetic, thermosetting resins which produce tough, hard, chemical resistant coating and excellent adhesives.
Epoxy Resin
A flexible, usually thermal setting resin made by polymerization of an epoxide and used as an adhesive. They are characterized by toughness, good adhesion, corrosion, chemical resistance, and good dielectric properties. Most epoxy resins are the two-part type, which harden when blended. It is used as surface coatings, adhesives for composites and for metals, floor surfacing and wall panels, cements and mortars.
The process of and setting vertical dimensional stone in place.
Peeling, swelling or scaling of stone or mineral surfaces in thin layers, caused by chemical or physical weather or by heat.
Enlargement of length and bulk by reason of temperature rise or absorption of water.
Expansion Anchor
A metal expandable unit inserted into a drilled hole that grips stone by expansion.
Expansion Bolt
An anchoring device; a socket that grips a drilled hole in stone by expanding as the bolt is screwed into it.
Expansion-contraction Joint
A joint designed to expand or contract with the temperature change.
One who clerks and hastens the arrival of building materials or equipment to meet a progress schedule.
Exposed Aggregate
Phrase applied to the larger pieces of stone aggregate purposefully exposed for their color and texture in a cast slab. Can be done by casting on a slab or by application to an existing wall over epoxy or cement coat.
The outside of a building or situated on the outside.


Dimensional stone manufactured and ready for installation.
The work involved in transforming building stone from quarry blocks to cut or finished stone. This includes primary sawing into slabs. It may also include both hand and mechanical techniques such as sawing, drilling, grinding, honing, polishing, and carving.
A face of a building, usually the front.
Refers to the exposed surface of stone on the structure. Or, a horizontal belt of vertical face, often used in combination with moldings.
Face Shell
The wall of a hollow masonry unit, on its front and back surface.
Face Shell Bedding
Mortar applied only to the face shells of hollow masonry units.
Any material forming a part of a wall, used as a finished surface. Also, a wall in which the stone face and the back-up wall are of different materials.
Factor Of Safety
The factor by which the expected weight or stress is multiplied to indicate the surplus of strength or resistance provided for safety’s sake.
False Joint
A groove routed in a solid piece of stone to simulate a joint.
A horizontal band of vertical face, often used in combinations with moldings.
A dislocation of stone strata which may interfere with natural underground drainage, or a break in the layers or bedding plane.
Feather Edge
A sharp arris formed by beveling or cutting a piece of stone
Feather-edged Coping
Coping that slopes in only one direction (not ridged or gabled). In some areas, it implies slope towards rear of wall.
Any group of crystalline minerals, all silicates of aluminum with either potassium, sodium, calcium, or barium. An essential constituent of nearly all crystalline rocks.
Limestone or quartz-based stone (sandstone) containing a high proportion of iron oxide.
The expanse of wall between openings, corners, etc…, principally composed of stretchers.
Field Stone
Loose blocks separated from ledges by natural processes and scattered through or upon the ground cover; applied also to similar transported materials, such as glacial boulders and cobblestones.
Fieldstones are weathered stones found on top of the ground.
Filler Strip
Refers to a resilient material placed in the rear portion of a joint to function as a sealant stop.
Rebate, often used as a decorative feature with moldings.
A trade expression used in the fabrication of marble to indicate the filling of natural voids with color-blended cements, shellac or synthetic resins and similar materials.
The powder, dual, silt-size, and sand-size material resulting from processing (usually crush tog) rock.
Final surface applied to the face of dimensional stone during fabrication.
Finish Floor
The exposed top member of a flooring assembly.
Person or business which operates a plant or machinery for the fabrication of domestic and foreign stones for building and other purposes.
Fire Clay
A clay used for making brick that is highly resistant to heat without deforming.
Fire Resistantive Material
See noncombustible material.
An opening on a hearth, served by a chimney flue, where an open fire may be laid.
Relatively incombustible.
Any material or combination protecting structural members and increasing their fire resistance.
A term used in Europe to describe the installation of stone work.
Flagstones are thin slabs of stone used for flagging or paving walks, driveways, patios, etc…, and is generally a fine-grained sandstone, bluestone, quartzite, or slate, but thin slabs of other stones may be used.
Flare Or Flashed Header
A header of darker color than the field of the wall.
Manufacturing process to produce specific color tones in clay units by creating a reducing atmosphere in the kiln. Or, a thin impervious material placed in mortar joints and through air spaces in masonry to prevent water penetration and provide water drainage. Also, metal or other protective material used to cover joints, tops of walls, parapet walls, or angles, as of a roof.
The mottled effect obtained when certain marble varieties are sawn parallel to their natural bedding plane.
Fleuri Cut
Unique to the marble industry, it is cut parallel to the natural bedding plane.
Dense, fine-grained, naturally occurring form of silica that fractures conchoidally.
A mason’s tool, a flat board with handle on one side, used for spreading and smoothing plaster or cement.
Float Coat
The final mortar coat applied with a float over which the neat coat is applied.
The horizontal surface of a room or building upon which one stands or walks. Also, the area between two adjacent levels of a building.
Floor Plan
The plan, or horizontal section, of a building.
Stone used as an interior pedestrian walking surface.
Descriptive of adjoining surfaces in the same plane.
Flush Joint
A joint where the mortar or sealant is pressed flush with the stone face.
Stone having a regular series of concave grooves.
Flying Buttress
A buttress that includes a rampant arch to carry the inner thrust to the pier.
The layered or banded structure of rock in which the mineral grains became re-aligned at right angles to a directional force that existed during metamorphism.
Four-corner Finish
Coarse bush-hammered finish with same characteristics as 6-cut, but with markings not more than 7/32″ apart.
Four-man Boulders
Rough stones under 750 pounds.
A subordinate space between an entrance and the main interior to which it leads.
A stone that may be cut freely in any direction without fracture or splitting.
Flat member of the entablature occurring above the architrave and below the cornice.
Frith Stool
A stone seat near the altar of a church.
A depression in the bed surface of a brick, sometimes called a panel.
The more important face of a building, or that containing its main entrance.
Full Mortar Bedding
Mortar applied to the entire thickness of a masonry unit.
The method of finishing the interior face of masonry wall to provide space for insulation, to prevent moisture transmittance, or to provide a smooth or plane surface for finishing.
The practice of striking a ‘V’ in a bed of mortar with the point of the trowel.


An igneous granular stone composed chiefly of pyroxene, augite or diallage, and plagioclase.
The exterior triangular section of a wall extending upward from the level of the eaves to the apex. Also, a member resembling the triangular end of a roof.
A stone chip or spall.
Gang Saw
Also known as a frame saw.
Gang Sawed
Description of the granular surface of stone resulting from gang sawing alone.
Gantry Saw
A usually single diamond blade saw with a mobile rail and blade that can be repositioned along its tracks between cuts.
The insertion of small splinters of stone in the mortar joints before the mortar has firmly set.
Gauged Or Gauging
A grinding process to make all pieces of material to be used together the same thickness.
Glass Seam
Description of a narrow glass-like streak occurring in stone. It is a joint plane that has been recemented by deposition of translucent crystalline calcite in the crack and is usually structurally sound.
Luster or shininess, measured as light reflectance.
A metamorphic rock with a banded or coarsely foliated structure, often called “Trade Granite”. Composed essentially of silicate minerals with interlocking and visibly granular texture in which the foliation is due primarily to alternating layers, regular or irregular, of contrasting mineralogic composition.
Grade Course
Beginning course at the grade level, generally waterproofed with a dampcheck or damp course.
The easiest cleavage direction in a stone. Also the particles (crystals, sand grain, etc…) in a stone.
A very hard, crystalline, igneous rock, gray to pink in color, composed of feldspar, quartz, and lesser amounts of dark ferromagnesium materials. Black “granites” are similar to true “granites” in structure and texture, but are composed of different minerals.
Stones having a texture characterized by particles that are apparent to the unaided eye. For sedimentary rocksparticles less than 4 inches in diameter and approximately equal in size.
Composed chiefly of quartz, but may contain granite, limestone, basalt, and other rocks.
A grainy conglomerate stone composed of firmly cemented fragments of quartz.
Green Mortar
Mortar that has set but not dried.
Includes stones that have been metamorphosed or otherwise altered that they have assumed a distinctive greenish color owing to the presence of one or more of the following mineralschlorite, epidote, or actinolite.
Grit Finish
A smooth non-reflective finish primarily used on marble and limestone marble.
Crushed brick that is blended with clay to form new brick.
Group Classification For Soundness
Standard trade practice definitions setting forth extent of shop fabrication normally required for group A,B, C, and D marbles.
A mixture of cement material and aggregate to which sufficient water is added to produce pouring consistency without segregation of the constituents.
Grout Core Masonry
Masonry construction made with hollow units in which all or specific cores are filled with grout.
Grout Lift
The height to which grout is placed in a cell, collar joint or cavity without stopping; an increment of the total grout pour.
Grout Pour
The total height of a masonry wall to be grouted prior to the placement of additional masonry. A grout pour may consist of one or more grout lifts.
Grouted Masonry
Masonry construction made with solid masonry in which the interior joints and voids are filled with grout.
Guide Specification
A recommended specification for the furnishing and installation of building stone.
A rope or wire which, with others, prevents a post or derrick from having side sway.
A hydrated calcium sulfate. It is formed naturally as the result of the reaction of sulfuric acid produced by decomposition of pyrite upon the calcium carbonate of shells existing in clay; a sedimentary rock.


The procedure of stacking brick in a kiln or a kiln car. Or, laying brick with the bottom edge set in from the plane surface of the wall.
Hairline Cracking
Random pattern of superficial cracking in an exposed concrete surface. Usually surface openings of 20 mils or less.
Half Bull Nose
A convex semicircular molding used on exposed edges or stone units such as stair treads, tops and window stools.
Half Round
An exposed edge or molding with a semi-circular section or radii.
Rock salt; sodium chloride; a sedimentary rock.
Hand Cut Random Rectangular
A pattern where all the stone is hand cut into squares and rectangles; joints are fairly consistent. Similar to sawed-bed ashlar in appearance.
Hand Or Machine Pitch-faced Rock-faced
A finish given to both veneer stone and cutting stock. This is created by establishing a straight line back from the irregular face of the stone. Proper tools are then used to cut along the tile line leaving a straight arris and the intended rustic finish on the face.
Nearly vitrified clay products that have been fired at high temperatures.
A quality of stone determined by ASTM C241 test.
The end of a stone which has been tooled to match the face of the stone. Heads are used at outside corners, windows, door jams, or any place where the veneering will be visible from the side.
Head Joint
The vertical mortar joint between ends of masonry units. Also called a cross-joint or a vertical joint.
Headed Course
A continuous course of header brick; also called heading course.
A masonry unit that overlaps two or more adjacent wythes of masonry to tie them together. Also called a bonder.
A priciple stone, as in keystone or cornerstone.
That part of the floor of a room made of stone on which the fire is made or above is a stove, fireplace, furnace, etc…
A hydrate which contains one-half of a molecule of water compared to one molecule of the principal element or compound forming the hydrate.
A pattern of setting in which the units are laid aslant, with the direction of incline reversing in alternate courses, forming a zigzag effect.
Hewn Stone
To rough form by mallet and chisel.
High-strength Adhesive
A bonding agent of high ultimate strength used to join individual pieces of stone into pre-assembled units.
Sinkages in the top beds of stones to engage Lewis pins for hoisting.
Hollow Brick Unit
A brick unit in which the net cross-sectional area in any plane parallel to the bearing surface is less than 75% of its gross cross-sectional area measured in the same plane.
Hollow Wall
A cavity wall, usually exterior, built in two separate parts, structurally connected as necessity with space between for checking the passage of water, or for better insulation created by the closed air space.
Honed/ Hone Finish
A very fine, satin smooth finish on stone. This is the last step before polishing. A super fine smooth finish with little or no gloss. Recommended for commercial floors.
A group of minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, and aluminum silicates. May be present in igneous stones.
A mineral formed by the combination of water and some other elements or compounds.
Hydrated Lime
Quicklime to which sufficient water has been added to convert the oxides to hydroxides.
To harden under (or with) water.
Substance which absorbs or has exhibited affinity for water.
Having no affinity for or is repellent to water. The quality of beading water on a substrate.
Containing chemically combined water.
Hygroscopic Moisture
Water absorbed by hydrophilic porous materials.


Igneous Rock
One of three principle groups of rock that make up the earth’s surface; formed by the solidification of molten matter. More on igneous rocks.
Import Broker
One who acts as an independent sales representative in the United States, its territories and Canada for foreign suppliers.
One who purchases, stocks, and distributes foreign materials in the United States, its territories and Canada, in substantial quantities and reliable quality.
To cut inwardly or engrave, as in an inscription.
Omission of some stones to allow for future bonding-in work.
Initial Rate Of Absorption
The weight of water absorbed when a brick is partially immersed in water for one minute, expressed in grams per 30 square inches of contact surface, also called suction.
Initial Set
The first setting action of mortar, the beginning of the set.
Surface decoration achieved by the insertion of lines or patterns of contrasting material.
Lettering cut in stone.
See erection.
The inside of a room or of a building.


Jack Arch
One having horizontal or nearly horizontal upper and lower surfaces. Also called flat or straight arch.
The vertical side of a window or door opening, against which the sash or the door abuts.
The space between installed units or between dimensional stones and the adjoining material.
Joint Reinforcement
Steel reinforcement placed in or on mortar bed joints.
The finishing of joints between courses of masonry units before the mortar has hardened.
Jointing Scheme
Architectural drawing detailing dimensions, location and configuration of stone units and joints related to the structure.
Flush, rake, cove, weathered, bead, stripped, and “V”.
A horizontal member in the framing of a floor or ceiling.
In ashlar patterns, a piece of stone of higher rise than adjacent stones which is used to end a horizontal mortar joint at the point where it is set.


A hydrous aluminum silicate mineral.
A slot into the edge of stone with saw blade for insertion of anchors.
Key Block
In deepening a quarry, or starting to quarry downward from a horizontal surface, the first block removed from a new ledge, providing space and access for further block removal by undercutting, underdrilling, or lateral shifting.
The last wedge-shaped stone placed in the crown of an arch regarded as binding the whole.
A furnace, oven, or heated enclosure used for burning or firing brick or clay material.
Kiln Run
Brick from one kiln that have not yet been sorted or graded for size or color variation.
King Closure
A brick cut diagonally to have one two-inch end and one full width end.
Gabled cope stone which by its shape is also part of the wall, and may support other cope stones.


To overlap one surface with another.
Lateral Support
Method wherby walls or columns are braced in the vertical span by beams, floors or roofs, or walls in the horizontal span by columns, pilasters, buttresses or cross walls.
Latex Additive
Rubber or resins in water which coalesce to form a continuous film that imparts specific properties to portland cement products.
Machine for turning columns, balusters, and other circular stone work; also for rubbing and polishing surfaces of same.
A general term applied to igneous rocks such as basalt and rhyolite, that erupted from the earth by volcanic action.
The section of a wall built up and racked back on successive courses. A line is attached to leads as a guide for constructing a wall between them.
Lead Buttons
Lead spacers in the solid horizontal joints to support the top stones until mortar has been set.
A slab of stone used horizontally to cover a tomb.
Vertical dimension stone used on sides of a fireplace opening.
Lewis Bolt
A tapered head device wedged into a tapered recess in the edge of a dimensional stone unit, used for lifting purposes and hanging soffits.
Lewis Holes
Holes in cut stones for lifting and supporting during setting of cut stones and sometimes for permanent support. Holes are checked for the particular Lewis (lifting device or hook) to be used.
Lime Putty
Hydrated lime on plastic form ready for addition to mortar.
Carbon hydroxide or slaked lime that has been reduced to dry powder.
Containing compounds which cause a chemical set in reaction with water.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcite or dolomite. The varieties of limestone used as dimensional stone are usually well consolidated and exhibit a minimum of graining or bedding direction. Limestones that contain not more than five percent magnesium carbonate may be termed calcite limestone, as distinguished from those that contain between five and forty percent magnesium carbonate, and from those that contain in excess of forty percent as the mineral dolomite. Recrystallized limestones and compact, dense, relatively pure microcrystalline varieties that are capable of taking a polish are known as marbles. More on limestone.
A string stretched taut as a guide for laying the top edge of a course of masonry units.
Line Pin
A metal pin used to attach line used for alignment of masonry units.
Structurally sound sections of stone cemented and doweled to the back of thin stone units; to give greater strength, additional bearing surface, or to increase joint depth.
A beam placed or constructed over an opening in a wall to carry the superimposed load.
A condition where one edge of a stone is higher than adjacent edges, giving the finished surface a ragged appearance.
Usually refers to flagging materials. Lipping is caused when two pieces of material to be joined together are slightly warped or twisted causing one or more edges to be higher or lower than the adjoining material.
A structural system or element designed to carry loads in addition to its own dead load.
A small projecting member of a larger stone piece, to engage an adjoining unit or to serve as an aid in handling.
Lug Sill
Stone sill set into the jambs on each side of masonry opening.


Machine Finish
The generally recognized standard machine finish produced by the planers.
Type of wood or plastic hammer, used to drive chisels.
Literally, badland; refers to dark-colored rock, commonly lava, in rough terrain.
The structural member spanning the opening of a fireplace. Also, a shelf (usually cubic stone) which is part of the finish and above the fireplace opening.
Dimensional stone fabricated, ready for installation.
One who fabricates dimensional stone.
Marble Institute Of America
An international trade association whose membership is composed of contractors, exporters, importers, manufacturers, producers, and wholesalers of dimensional stone, as well as those who supply products and services to the industry.
Mash Hammer
A short-handled heavy hammer with two round or octagonal faces, used to drive hammer-head shaping tools.
Worker or installer of stone.
Masonry Cement
A mill-mixed cementious material to which sand and water is added to make mortar.
Masonry Unit
Natural or manufactured building units of fired clay or shale, concrete, stone, glass, gypsum, etc…
A pasty, mortar-like material composed of solvent-based organic adhesives that cures quickly by evaporation of the solvents.
Selecting, cutting, and placing finished stone slabs to obtain a uniform and symmetrical pattern of natural veining and color.
The rock in which a crystallized mineral is embedded.
One skilled in installation of dimensional stone.
A stone of great size.
The top horizontal member or surface of an altar, usually of stone.
Metamorphic Rock
Rock altered in appearance, density and crystalline structure, and in some cases mineral composition, by high temperature or pressure, or both. Slate is derived from shale; quartzite from quartz sandstone; and true marble from limestone. Gneiss can be derived from both sedimentary, igneous, and pre-existng metamorphic rocks. More on metamorphic rocks.
The change or alteration in a rock caused by exterior agencies, such as deep-seated heat and pressure, or intrusion of rock materials.
A unit of linear measure in the metric system; equivalent to 39.37 inches.
Any group of mineral silicates in a multi-layered form; characterized by cleaving which permits splitting into thin sheets.
Microcrystalline Limestone
A limestone that consists largely or wholly of crystals that are so small as to be recognizable only under magnification.
Processing of quarry blocks through sawing, planing, turning, and cutting.
The junction of two units at an angle, of which the junction line usually bisects on a 45’ angle.
A large or full size stone sample panel installed to show full range of color, shading and texture.
Modular-multiple Cut Pattern Cut
This refers to standard patterns used throughout the stone industry. These patterns are usually based on multiples of 3″ or 6″, stone that is multiple cut or pattern cut is pre-cut to allow for ¼” or ½” joints or beds.
Modulus Of Rupture
The stress at which a specimen of stone breaks in the testing.
Moh’s Scale
A gauge of hardness among minerals. Not to be confused with hardness as determined by ASTM C241 test.
Formed template. Sometimes spelled in the trade as “mould.”
Decorative stone deviating form a plane surface by projections, curved profiles, recesses, or any combination thereof.
Mono Saw
Similar to gang saw, except it has only one blade for cutting large stone units.
Shaped from a single block of stone, as a monolithic column, in contrast with a stacked column consisting of superimposed stone drums. Also, a bed of portland cement cast over a concrete slab without an isolation membrane.
Mortar Bed
A troweled layer of mortar, in a plastic state, in which building units will be set.
A veneering which is generally irregular with no definite pattern. Nearly all the stone used in a mosaic pattern is irregular in shape.
Vertical division member between windows or doors
Multiple Pattern
Stone cut in rectangular multiples of a certain dimension. Usually cut to allow for standard ¼” or standard ½” joint.
Multiple-rise Ashlar
Stone, usually splitface, which is cut in various rises which will “course out” (level with) each other when used in proper combination with standard-width mortar joints.
A white, aluminum-rich mica found in granite.


National Association Of Marble Producers
The National trade Association of the American Marble Industry whose membership is composed of marble producers (quarries) in the United States, its territories and Canada.
Natural Bed
The setting of the stone on the same plane as it was formed in the ground. This generally applies to all stratified materials.
Natural Cement
Lime with high clay content.
Natural Cleft
This generally pertains to stones which are formed in layers in the ground. When such stones are elevated or separated along a natural seam, the remaining surface is referred to a natural cleft surface.
Natural Stone
Although technical a redundancy, as a stone its occurrence by definition, the term is used to distinguish true stone from imitation materials.
Neat Cement
A pure cement uncut by a sand admixture.
Net Cross-sectional Area
See cross-sectional area.
Nicked Bit Finish
Obtained by planing the stone with a planer tool in which irregular nicks have been made in the cutting edge.
Nominal Dimension
A dimension greater than a specified masonry dimension by the thickness of a mortar joint.
Not containing iron material.
Non-staining Mortar
Mortar composed of materials which individually or collectively do not contain material that will stain and usually have a very low alkali content.
Any material that will neither ignite nor actively support combustion in air at a temperature of 1.200’F when exposed to fire.
Resistant to harmful oxidation or other corrosive actions because of its composition (i.e. stainless steel, bronze, copper).
The rounded front edge of a stair tread.
Notched Trowel
Trowel with a serrated or notched edge used for spreading mortar or adhesive in ridges of a specific thickness.


On centers, an abbreviation frequently used in dimensioning shop drawings, designating dimensions from the center of one member to the center of the next.
A glassy phase of lava, usually black.
A course or unit that is set in from the course directly under it, the opposite of a projection.
A stone molding with a reverse curved edge, concave above, convex below.
One-man Boulders
Rough stone under 150 pounds.
A variety of quartz in crystalline form of calcium carbonate. It is characterized by a structure of parallel brands each differing in color or in the degree of translucency. Considering to be a marble because it can take a polished.
Onyx Marble
A crystalline from, commonly microcrystalline, of calcium carbonate deposited usually from cold water solutions. It is generally translucent and shows characteristic layering. Commercially, onyx is considered a marble because it can be polished.
Oolitic Limestone
Rock consisting mainly of calcite, made up of largely oolites or granular particles (generally tiny fossils or fossil fragments) that have calcium coatings. A calcite-cemented calcareous stone formed of shells and shell fragments, practically non-crystalline in character it is found in massive deposits located almost entirely in Lawrence, Monroe, and Owen counties in Indiana, also in Alabama, Kansas, and Texas. This limestone is characteristically a freestone, without cleavage planes, possessing a remarkable uniformity of composition, texture and structure. It also possesses a high internal elasticity, adapting itself without damage to extreme temperature changes.
The introduction into a rock of sill ceous material in the form of opal, a hydrous silicate.
Open-faced Quarry
Open, fairly level quarry at or near ground level.
Designation of any chemical compound containing carbon (some of the simple compounds of carbon, such as carbon dioxide, are frequently classified as inorganic compounds). To date, nearly one million organic compounds have been synthesized or isolated. Many occur in nature; others are produced by chemical synthesis.
Rock protruding above or at ground level.
Out-of Wind
Generally refers to veneer stone. To be out of wind is to have the arris of the stone not in parallel or perpendicular lines; stone which is out of wind has an irregular or rustic appearance.
Over Burden
Waste stone, earth or other quarry material covering useful stone.


A system of stacking stone on wooden pallets for shipment or storage. Stone which comes palletized is easily moved and transported by modern handling equipment. Palletized stone generally arrives at the site in better condition then non-palletized material.
A single unit of fabricated stone veneer.
Panel Wall
A non-bearing wall consisting of panels of various materials, each panel being separately held in frame. The frame may be the structure itself or fastened to the structural framework of the building.
A low wall around the perimeter of a building at roof level or around balconies.
Parapet Wall
Part of any wall entirely above the roof line.
A screen of stone separating chapels, especially at the east end of the aisles, from the body of the church.
Dampproofing by applying a coat of mortar to the back of the stone units or to the face of the back-up material.
Inlay of stone floors in geometrical or other patterns consisting of two or more colors or materials.
An interior wall one story or less in height, generally non-loadbearing.
SI unit expressing force per unit area (PSI is the English equivalent).
Repair compound used to fill natural voids or to replace chips and broken corners or edges in fabricated pieces of dimension stone. Mixed or selected to match the stone in color and texture.
The color and texture added to a surface by time and various allies.
A single unit of fabricated stone for use as an exterior paving material.
A stone supporting structure or piece for a bust, column, statue, or vase.
The triangular face of a gable, if separated by entablature or molding from the lower wall and treated as decorative unit.
A protective treatment that lines masonry pores; no film is formed on the surface.
Perforated Wall
One which contains a considerable number of relatively small openings. Often called pierced wall or screened wall.
The rate of vapor transmission of one grain per square foot per inch of mercury vapor pressure difference.
The property of a substance which permits passage of water vapor; moisture vapor transmission.
A stone extending through the thickness of a wall and finished on both ends.
Slabs of stone set on other stones serving as stops and arches in gardens.
Primitive stone carving.
Ph Value
A number denoting the degree of acidity or alkalinity; 7 is a neutral value. Acidity increases with decreasing values below 7, while alkalinity increases with increasing values above 7.
In igneous rocks, the relatively large and conspicuous crystals in a finer-grain matrix or ground mass.
A class of acid organic compounds used in the manufacture of epoxy resins, phenolformaldehyde resins, plasticizers, plastics and wood preservatives.
Pick & Dip
A method of laying brick with one hand and, with the other hand, dip enough mortar on a trowel to lay the brick. Sometimes called the Eastern or New England Method.
Stone dressed using mason’s point
Solid stone support, smaller than and distinct from a column.
Engaged pier of shallow depth; in classical architecture it follows the height and width of related columns with similar base sod cap. In classical architecture, it follows the height and width of related columns, with similar base and cap.
In ecclesiastical architecture, a basin of stone or marble in which the challice is washed after the rite of the Eucharist.
Pit Quarry
Below ground-level quarry.
Surface resembling rock-faced produced with pitching tool.
Pitched Stone
Stone having arris clearly defined, face however is roughly cut with pitching chisel used along the line which becomes the arris.
Pitching Tool
Similar to large chisel but with blunt, not sharp, broad edge, about 6mm thick.
Machine for planing moldings on to stone; machine used to reduce thickness and gauge stone; machine used to produce a machine finish on limestone.
Plaster Of Paris
A calcined gypsum in a hemihydrate state.
Plate Tracery
Tracery designs, usually simple and geometrical, cut through a thin slab of stone, as distinguished from a tracery proper, which is formed by mortared sections of molding.
The lower square part of the base of a column. A square base or a lower block, as in a pedestal. The base block at the juncture of base-board and trim around an opening.
Plucked Finish
Obtained by rough planing the surface of stone, braking or plucking out small particles to give rough texture.
Plug And Feathers
Tools used for splitting stone blocks.
Plumb Bob
A shaped metal weight that is suspended from the lower end of a line to determine the vertical trueness.
Plumb Rule
A narrow board with parallel edges having a straight line drawn through the middle and a string attached at the upper end of the line for determining a vertical plane.
Laminated wood in sheet form, with alternate laminations, changing direction of grain. Dimensionally unstable in the presence of moisture.
Chisel drawn nearly to a point.
Point Finish
A rough, tooled surface.
The final filling and finishing of mortar joints that have been raked out.
The finest and smoothest finish available in stone, generally only possible on hard, dense materials. Or, a glossy finish which brings out the full color and character of the stone.
Polyester Resin
A flexible, usually thermal setting resin formed by a polymerization process using a small amount of accelerator compound and used as an adhesive or to repair or fill certain stones.
Polyethylene Film
Plastic film sheet used for curing or as a cleavage or isolation membrane.
Ratio of pore space to the total volume of material expressed as a percent..
An igneous rock characterized by distinct and contrasting sizes of course and fine grained crystals. Used as a decorative building stone.
Portland Cement
A hydraulic cement product obtained by pulverizing and calcimining a properly proportioned mixture of three mineralslime, silica, and alumina.
Method of drawing soluble salts or stains out of stone by applying an absorbent such as clay or diatomaceous earth, mixed to a paste with water or cleaning solvent.
Preabricated Masonry
Masonry fabricated in a location other than its final location in the structure. Also known as preassembled, panelized, and prelaid masonry.
Preassembled Units
Two or more stones combined into a single unit by use of epoxy resins, steel framing or concrete backing.
Having received its final form before introduction into a structure, as in precast concrete slabs.
Platform surrounding an altar.
Pressure Relieving Joint
An open horizontal joint below the supporting angle or hanger located at approximately every floor line and not over 15 ft. apart horizontally, and every 20-30 ft. vertically, to prevent the weight from being transmitted to the masonry below. These joints are to be caulked with a resilient nonstaining material to prevent moisture penetration.
A small assemblage made with masonry units and mortar and sometimes grout. Primarily used to predict the strength of full scale masonry members.
One who quarries stone.
The outline of the exposed face of a cross section.
Profile Machine
Machine for cutting moldings on to stone.
Refers to the pulling out of stones in a veneered wall to give an effect of ruggedness. The amount each stone is pulled out can vary between ¼” and 1 ½”; stones are either pulled out at the same degree at both ends or sometimes one end is pulled out leaving the other flush with the majority of veneer.
An exceptionally cellular, glassy lava, resembling a solid froth.
Chisel drawn to a narrow blade used for roughing process.
The natural sulfides of certain metals. The most common is iron pyrite, which is iron disulfide, a brittle mineral that is brassy yellow in color with greenish-black streaks.


Quarried Stone
Stone which has been extracted from the earth by means of man power and machines.
One who extracts natural stone from a quarry.
The location of an operation where a natural deposit of stone is removed from the ground.
Quarry Block
Generally a rectangular piece of rough stone as it comes from the quarry, frequently scabbed (dressed) or wire-sawed for shipment.
Quarry Run
In building stone, unselected materials within the ranges of color and texture available from the quarry that is the source.
Quarry Sap
Natural moisture in stone deposits and freshly quarried stone.
Quarter Round
A molding having a profile of one-quarter of a circle
Silicon dioxide occurring in colorless and transparent or colored hexagonal crystals and also in crystalline masses. One of the most common minerals, the chief constituent of quartz-based stone and granite.
Quartz-based Stone
This stone may be either sedimentary in formation or metamorphic.
A compact granular metamorphic rock composed of quartz crystals, usually so firmly cemented as to make the mass homogeneous. The stone is generally quarried in stratified layers, the surfaces of which are unusually smooth, and the crushing and tensile strength are extremely high. The color range is wide. Or, a silver-gray, metamorphic sandstone formed in exceedingly hard layers. In some deposits, intrusion of minerals during the formation process created unusual shades of brown and gold.
Quartzitic Sandstone
A metamorphic sandstone consisting of quartz grains cemented with silica, but not as hard as quartzite. Geologically, it is an intermediate rock between sandstone and quartzite.
Queen Closure
A cut brick having a nominal two-inch horizontal face dimension.
Calcium oxide which is crushed limestone that has been calcined.
Quirk Mitre Joint
An external corner formed by two stone panels, at an angle with meeting edges mitered and exposed portion finished.
A groove separating a bead or other molding from the adjoining members.
Stones at the corner of a wall emphasized by size, projection, rustication, or by a different finish.


A groove cut into the surface along an edge so as to receive another piece similarly cut.
Stepping back successive courses of masonry.
An angular cut on the face of stone.
Raked Joint
A mortar joint formed by removing the mortar a given depth from the face of the masonry.
The concave bend of a handrail where a sharp change in level is required, as at the post of a stair landing.
An arch or vault which springs from one level of support and rests at the other side on a higher level.
A stone pattern where joints are web-like.
Random Ashlar
Masonry of square or rectangular stones with neither vertical nor horizontal joints continuous and installed without patterns.
Random Masonry
That in which the course heights vary in size.
A course of any thickness that is continued across the entire face. All range courses need not be of the same thickness.
Range Of Color
The extent of variation of color, shade, markings, texture, veining, and other characteristics of dimension stone, usually defined by using a number of samples or a mock-up.
Rebated Kerf
An additional cut that countersinks a kerf from to the back edge of another piece of stone for the purpose of additional anchor clearance. It is not a gauged cut. If used for a bearing surface, must be shimmed to allow for tolerance in the cut,
Combined floor and curb used as the bottom of showers.
A sinkage in a wall plane.
Recrystallized Limestone
A limestone in which a new pattern of crystallinity has pervasively replaced the crystal orientation in the original clastic particles, fossils, or fossil fragments, and interstitial cement.
Reversed fluted.
A narrow, flat molding of rectangular profile to receive and secure flashing.
Removing the surface of stone in place by some dressing method to clean by exposing fresh stone.
A fabrication technique often called “rodding”; refers to the strengthening of unsound marble and limestone by cementing aluminum or stainless steel rods into grooves or channels cut into the back of a stone unit. Another method of ” reinforcement” is the lamination of fiberglass to the back of tile units.
Relief Or Relieve
Ornament in relief. The ornament of figure can be slightly, half or greatly projected.
Relieving Arch
One built over a lintel, flat arch, or smaller arch to divert loads, thus relieving the lower member from excessive loading, also known as discharging or safety arch.
Raking out, refilling, and finishing joints with new mortar.
Inside corner of a stone member with a profile other than a flat plane.
The screen behind an altar, usually richly treated in stone.
Work performed, including cleaning, repair, and finishing, to return the stone to its original character, finish, and condition.
Retaining Wallstone
Stones which have multiple widths and thicknesses, used as a self-supporting wall (retaining wall) with no back-up.
Retarding Agent
A chemical admixture to mortar or grout that slows setting or hardening.
To moisten mortar and re-mix after original mixing, to the proper consistency for use.
Reticulated Work
Stone surface hand dressed to show a netlike or veinlike raised pattern. Also, a wall built of square pieces set diagonally, with the joints showing a netlike pattern.
The right angle turn of a wall, molding, or other horizontal projecting member.
Return Head
Stone facing with the finish appearing on both the face and the edge of the same stone; as on the corner of a building.
The depth of stone between its outer face and a window or door set in an opening; the reveal is at 90 degrees to the front face.
The most pronounced direction of splitting or cleavage of a stone. Rift and grain may be obscure, as in some granites, but are important in both quarrying and processing stone.
Irregular shaped stones used for facing bridge abutments and fills; stones thrown together without order to form a foundation, sustain walls, or minimize soil erosion. Also used for rustic stepping stones and patios.
Refers to the heights of stone, generally used in reference to veneer stone.
The vertical member between treads of a stair.
Rising Damp
Ground water that travels upward through a masonry wall by means of natural capillary action.
Split along natural cleavage planes, describes surface finish.
An integral part of the earth’s crust composed of an aggregate of grains of one or more minerals (‘stone’ is the commercial term applied to quarry products).
Rock (pitch) Face
This is similar to split face, except that the face of the stone is pitched to a given line and plain, producing a bold appearance rather than the comparatively straight face obtained in split face.
Rocked Finish
An edge that is spalted from both sides, leaving a bubbled appearance.
Reinforcement of a structurally unsound marble by cementing reinforcing rods into grooves or channels cut into the back of the slab.
Roman Arch
Semi-circular arch with all stone pieces being wedge shaped.
Rose Window
A circular stone window fitted with carved tracery.
Rough Sawn
A surface finish accomplished by the gang sawing process.
Outside cut-slab, having one side sawed and the other rough, from a block that has been gang sawed.
Roughing Out
A preliminary stone cutting or carving process, removing the bulk of unwanted material.
A brick laid on its face with the end surface visible in the wall face. Frequently spelled rolock.
Rubbed Finish
Mechanically rubbed for smoother finish; may have slight scratches.
Rubbing Stone
Abrasive stone that is used to smooth the edges of stone tile.
A product term applied to dimension stone used for building purposes, chiefly walls and foundations and consisting of irregularly shaped pieces, partly trimmed or squared, generally with one split or finished face, and selected and specified within a site range.
Generally local stone, that is roughly hand dressed, and intentionally laid with high relief in relatively modest structures or rural character. Also, a grade of building limestone, characterized by coarse texture.
Emphasized joints, recessed or beveled, which are cut or formed in stonework.
Recessing the margin of cut stone so that when placed together a channel is formed at each joint.


A flat strip of stone projecting above the floor between the jambs of a door, such as a threshold.
A masonry unit laid on end to show its broadest face.
Salt Glaze
A gloss finish obtained by a thermo-chemical reaction between silicates of clay and vapors of salt or chemicals.
A piece of dimensional stone, usually 12″ x 12″ showing a general range of marking and color of a given variety.
Sand Finish
A matte textured surface finish with no gloss; finished by application of a steady flow of sand and water under pressure; suitable for exterior use.
Sand Holes
Naturally occurring holes visible in some dimension stone; can be filled or waxed.
Sand Rubbed Finish
Finish obtained by rubbing stone with a sand and water mixture under a rotating horizontal steel plate. This actual process is now little used, and the finish so known is commonly applied with a rotary or belt sander.
Sand Sawn Finish
The surface left as the stone comes from the gang saw. Moderately smooth, granular surface varying with the texture and grade of stone.
Sandblasted, Coarse Stippled
Coarse plane surface produced by blasting with an abrasive; coarseness varies with type of preparatory finish and grain structure of the stone.
Sandblasted, Fine Stippled
Plane surface, slightly pebbled, with occasional slight scratches.
A cleaning, engraving, or surface finish process achieved by spraying sand on the surface with compressed air.
Sandstones are sedimentary rocks usually composed of quartz cemented with silica, iron oxide or calcium carbonate. Sandstones range from very soft and friable to very hard and durable, depending on the depth at which is was buried and the nature of the cement. Generally, the most durable sandstones are cemented with silica. Sandstone has a wide range of colors or textures. More on sandstones.
Saturation Coeffecient
See C/B ratio.
Sawed Edge
A clean cut edge generally achieved by cutting with a diamond blade , gang saw or wire saw.
Sawed Face
A finish obtained from the process used in producing building stone. Varies in texture from smooth to rough and coincident with the type of materials used in sawing characterized as diamond sawn; sand sawn; chat sawn; and shot sawn.
An operator of a bridge saw, gang saw or wire saw.
Rough dressed stone, with prominent toolmarks.
The process of removing surface irregularities for blocks for storage and shipment.
Small chips of stone.
Temporary elevated structure for the support of plank footing and platforms as aids to workmen.
Plasterwork used in imitation of ornamental marble, consisting of ground gypsum and glue colored with marble or granite dust; a small piece of marble.
Thin lamina or paper-like sheets of rock often loose, and interrupting an otherwise smooth, surface on stone.
The loosening of a material normally attached to another by surface adherence, which then peels and breaks away.
A block of stone supporting the pedestal of a statue or the plinth of a column; a surplus bevel of stone adjoining a sharp edge, to prevent chipping when the cubic piece is being set.
A foliated metamorphic rock (recrystallized) characterized by thin foliae that are composed predominantly of minerals of thin platy or prismatic habits and whose long dimensions are oriented in approximately parallel positions along the planes of foliation. Because of this foliated structure schists split readily along these planes and so possess a pronounced rock cleavage. The more common schistise are composed of the micas and other mica-like minerals (such as chlorite) and generally contain subordinate quartz and/or feldspar or comparatively fine-grained texture; all graduations exist between schist and gneiss (coarse is foliated feldspathic rocks).
To scarify the surface of stone to make a better bond; to mark on a stone piece for the purpose of a cutting layout.
Irregular masses of lava resembling clinker or slag; may be cellular (vesicular) dark-colored and heavy.
A concave molding.
Scratch Coat
The first rough coat of portland cement mortar, which is scored or roughed before completely set, allowing better adhesion of subsequent coats.
A strip of wood, metal, or other material applied to a surface. Screeds are used as guides on which a straight edge is used to obtain a true mortar surface.
To mark the edge of one stone unit to be cut to fit snugly against another.
In dimensional stone, an artist whose craft is to carve stone in three-dimensional forms.
The work of a sculptor in three dimensional form by cutting from a solid block of stone.
An elastic adhesive compound used to seal stone veneer joints. Or, a resilient compound used as the final weatherface.
Making a veneer joint water-tight or leak-proof with an elastic adhesive compound; or application of a surface treatment to prevent staining, moisture penetration and reduce weathering.
The natural bed face of a quarried stone.
A pavement made up of fitted hexagonal stones.
Stone formed by precipitation from solution, as rock salt and gypsum, from secretion of organisms, as most limestones, or from the deposition of sand (sandstone) or clay (shale, claystone).
Sedimentary Rock
One of three classes of rock (igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic) which make up the earth’s outer crust. Sedimentary rocks (sandstones, limestones, shales) formed from the disintegration of older rocks, soils, plants, and animals. More on sedimentary rocks.
Variety of gypsum in transparent, foliated, crystalline form.
A finish achieved by rubbing hand or machine the rough or high spots off the surface to be used leaving a certain amount of the natural surface along with the smoothed areas.
A commercial marble characterized by a prominent amount of the mineral serpentine. Most commonly dark green in color, but may be brownish-red. Or, a hydrous magnesium silicate matonal of igneous origin, generally a very dark green color with markings of white, light green, or black; one of the hardest varieties of natural building stone.
A change in mortar consistency from a plastic to a hard state.
An experienced journeyman who installs dimensional stone units.
The trade of installing dimensional stone units.
Setting Bed Mortar
The troweling of mortar to set building units, but with the exposed joint raked out for the application of the pointing mortar or grout to be done later.
Setting Space
Terminology referring to the distance from the finished face of a stone unit to the face of the back-up material.
Clay that has been subjected to high pressure until it has hardened rock-like,
A type of stress; a body is in shear when it is subjected to a pair of equal forced which are opposite in direction and which act along parallel planes.
Shelf Angle
A steel angle usually connected to a spandrel beam which supports brick veneer, typically at every floor level.
A piece of plastic or other non-corrosive, non-staining material used to hold joints to size.
A stretcher laid on its edge to show its broadest face.
Shop Drawing
Depending on the specified product use, the shop drawing is a detailed fabrication and installation drawing showing dimensions and methods of anchorage usually prepared by the stone manufacturer.
Shot Sawn
Description of a finish obtained by using steel shot in the gang sawing process to produce random markings for a rough surface texture.
Shot Sawn Finish
A rough gang saw finish produced by sawing with chilled steel shot.
Shoved Joints
Vertical joints filled by shoving a unit against the next unit when it is being laid in a bed of mortar.
Contraction on size of a material through cooling or drying.
Generally refers to alkyltrialkoxysilanes. A monomeric organosilicon compound with one unhydrolyzable bond, which forms a chemical bond with siliceous minerals providing water repellent protection to masonry substrates. Silicanes are usually dissolved in organic solvents, but some are dispersed in water. They are properly classified as penetrates.
Silicate, Alkali
It is diluted with water and is, consequently noncombustible. Silicate is a highly alkaline solution and is used mostly as an admixture in mortars and cements to harden and densify surfaces. A reactive material which comes from CI stock. (Also see magnesium fluosilicate and sodium silicate.)
Silicate, Ethyl
Silicane ethers or orthosiliate esters of general structure (RO)4Si, where R is an organic group in which all bonds are hydrolyzable. An example is tetraethoxysilane or tetraethylorthosilicate which is used in consolidative restoratives for stone, as a base for high temperature zinc-rich paints and as an additive to organsilicane and siloxide water repellents.
Silicate, Sodium
Strongly alkaline compound commonly referred to as water glass, used in soaps, detergents, adhesives, waterproofing mortars and cements.
Silica-bearing rock.
Organic modified alkali silicates. Siliconates are generally applied in aqueous solution to harden and/or protect masonry substrates. Although sometimes associated with crust formation treatments, they are best classified as penetrants.
Any of the organopolysiloxanes applied to masonry materials for water repellency. Silicone water repellents are generally highly polymerized resins applied in any of several organic solvents. Application is accompanied by chemical bonding to the substrate if silicate minerals are present. The size and shape of the polymer of which the resin is composed determines whether the silicone treatment is classified as a film former or a penetrant.
A flat stone used under windows, doors, and other masonry openings. Or, a horizontal unit used at the base of an exterior opening in a structure.
Sill Course
A course set at window sill level, and commonly differentiated from the wall by projecting, by finish, or by being sill thickness, to continue the visual effect of the sill.
Generally refers to alkylalkoxysiloxanes that are oligimerous (i.e. siloxane or low molecular weight with the polymer consisting of two, three, or four monomers). As with other silicones, application is accompanied by chemical bonding to the substrate if silicate minerals are present. Oligomerous siloxanes are properly classified as penetrants.
A fine-grained non-carbonate clastic rock compose of detrital grains of quartz and silicate minerals of silt size. Siltstones are rarely marketed as such but commonly are considered as fine-grained quartz-based stones (sandstones). Siltstone is texturally transitional between quartz-based stones and shales (mudstones). Many bluestones and siliceous flagstones fall within this category. The term is included in these definitions chiefly to explain the relationship of some siliceous flagstones to the quartz-based stone category.
Simulated Marble
See artificial marble.
Simulated Stone
An artificial man-made product.
Six-cut Finish
Medium bush-hammered finish, similar to but coarser than 8-cut, with markings not more than 1/8″ apart.
A measurement in extent.
A bevel-faced stone, particularly at the eaves end of a gable; a kneeler.
Skew Back
The inclined surface on which the arch joins the supporting wall.
Logs or timbers used as support and track in sliding quarry blocks and heavy cubic pieces of stone; a platform upon which dimension stone tile are temporarily stored.
Lengthwise cut of a large quarry block of stone. Or, a piece of stone cut form the quarry block prior to fabrication.
A fine-grained metamorphic rock derived from clay and shales, which possesses a cleavage that permits it to be split readily into thin, smooth sheets.
Slenderness Ratio
Ratio of the effective height of a member to its effective thickness or radius of gyration.
Slip Joint
A connection which permits vertical or horizontal movement of the cladding with respect to the structural frame.
Slip Matching
Veneer panels all finished on the same face and place side by side forming a repetition of the same pattern in each panel.
Slip Sill
A stone sill set between the jambs.
Slushed Joints
Vertical joints filled, after units are laid, by throwing mortar in with a trowel.
Smooth Finish
Description of the finish produced by planer machines plus the removal of objectionable tool marks. Also known as “smooth planer finish” and ” smooth machine finish”.
Snapped Edge-quarry Cut Or Broken Edge
This generally refers to a natural breaking of a stone either by hand or machine. The break should be a right angles to the top and bottom surface.
The stone area where a chip has been dislodged.
Breakage of very small pieces off the top or bottom edge, or a corner, of a dimension stone unit.
A masonry unit of normal face dimensions, having a nominal two-inch thickness.
A massive variety of talc with a soapy or greasy feel, used for hearths, washtubs, tabletops, curved ornaments, chemical laboratories, etc… Known for its stain proof qualities.
Stone piece directly above a plinth on which a sculpture, statuary, bust or the like rests.
The exposed lower surface of any overhead component of a building such as a lintel, vault, or cornice, or an arch or entablature.
Clay products that have been fired at a low temperature ranges, producing units of relatively high absorption’s and low compressive strengths.
A masonry unit laid on end with its stretcher face showing on the wall surface.
Solid Masonry Unit
A masonry whose net cross-sectional area in every plan parallel to the bearing surface is 75 percent or more of its cross-sectional area measured in the same plane.
Nonvolatile matter in a coating composition (i.e. the ingredients of a coating composition which, after drying, are left behind and constitute the dry film). Solids are usually measured as weight percent of the total.
Liquid which is used in the manufacture of paint or clear repellents to dissolve or disperse film-forming constituents, and which evaporates during drying and does not become a part of the dried film. Solvents are used to control the consistency and character of the finish and to regulate application properties.
A property of stone used to describe relative freedom from cracks, faults, and similar imperfections in the untreated stone. One of the characteristics encountered in fabrication. Marble and limestone marble have been classified into four groupsA, B, C, and D, to distinguish method and amount of repair.
As a verb, it is to flake or split away through action of the elements or pressure. As a noun, it is a chip or flake so formed.
Spalted Finish
An edge cut from one side of the stone, leaving an undercut look.
A flat vertical face in an arcade bounded by the adjacent curves of two arches and the horizontal tangent of their crowns. Or, the vertical face on buildings supported by a skeleton structure between the sill of one window and the top (or lintel) of the window next below.
Spandrel Wall
That part of a stone wall above the top of a window in one story and below the sill of the window in the story above.
The description, which is part of project documents or attached to a contract, of the materials and workmanship required in a structure, and which may have related drawings.
A beveled or slanted surface, inclined to another surface.
A thin strip of material, such as wood or metal, inserted into the edges of two stone pieces or stone tiles to make a butt joint between them.
Split Face Machine
Device that splits slabs of stone into usable thicknesses for job-fabricated stone patterns. Generally hydraulic, but may operate on impact. Blades are used to split bullets from slabs for most limestones and sandstones, but toothed bars may be used for harder stone, such as granite.
Split Face Sawed Bed
Usually split face is sawed on the beds and is split either by hand or by machine so that the surface face of the stone exhibits the natural quarry texture.
Finish obtained by diamond sawing to accurate heights, then breaking by machine to required bed widths.
Spot Or Spotting
An adhesive contact applied to the back of a dimensional stone veneer unit to bridge the space between the unit and the back-up wall thus helping to maintain the unit in a fixed position. Plaster of paris is used on interior vertical stone units and portland cement mortar on the exterior.
The stone lying first above the base of an arch.
Spur Stone
Installed at the corner of a building to prevent traffic damage.
A plane figure having four equal sides and four interior right angles; also, edges or units that are at right angles to each other.
Stacked Bond
Veneer stone that is cut to one dimensional size and installed with unbroken vertical and horizontal joints running the entire length and height of the veneered area.
Temporary platform working space in and around a building under construction or repair.
A phenomenon of discoloration on newly installed limestone. Buff limestone will exhibit a dark gray stain. This staining is similar to efflorescence but it is the organic matter in the stone which is leaching out through the release of excess water of crystallization of the setting mortar.
A series of steps or flight of stairs, possibly with landings, and with handrail, newels, etc. Also known as ‘stair’ or ‘stairway’.
A small fissure.
A sculpture of a human or animal figure.
Salt or ester of stearic acid that functions as a water repellent by forming a “soap” within the masonry pores. Stearates are generally classified as film-formers, but can be considered penetrants in modified forms.
Soapstone in slab form, as for hearths, fireplace facings, etc…
One unit of tread and riser.
Stone that is light and thin enough to adhere to wall surface using chemical adhesives or mastics. The backs of these stones are usually flattened and leveled. Thin building stones are sometimes also called “stick-ons”.
A trade term describing the butt edge repair of a broken piece of stone, now generally done with dowels, cements, or epoxies. The pieces are “stuck” together, thus the term “sticking”.
A vertical framing member of a paneled door or of stone partitions.
Sometimes synonymous with rock, but more properly applied to individual blocks, masses, o fragments taken form their original formation or considered for commercial use.
A building craftsman skilled in constructing stone masonry. The work of masons includes such preparation of stone as is done on the job.
Masonry construction in stone; preparation or setting of stone for building or paving.
A flat stone, generally polished, used as an interior window sill.
Stop Chamfer
A chamfer which curves or angles to become narrower until it meets the aris.
A structure produced by deposition of sediments in beds or layers (strata), lamina, lenses, wedges, and other essentially tablular units.
Force exerted.
A unit of stone placed lengthwise in a course.
Cut off with a trowel the excess mortar at the face of a joint. Also known as “struck joint.”
The outer support of stair ends, or the stone covering the ends.
Defines treatment at edge of stairs, inside and outside.
Strip Rubble
Generally speaking, strip rubble comes from a ledge quarry. The beds of the stone while uniformly straight, are of natural cleft as the stone is removed form the ledge, and then split by machine to approximately 4″ widths.
Stripped Joint
A joint without mortar; an open joint.
Long pieces of stone usually low height ashlar courses where length to height ratio is at maximum for the material used.
Struck Joint
A joint from which excess mortar has been removed by a stroke of the trowel.
An intermediate vertical member of a frame.
In limestone and marble, generally a bedding plane, along with differential solution of the material on each side has caused interpenetration of points, cones, or columns, forming a contact surface that is rough when separated. In cross section, the stylolitic surface has the appearance of a jagged, zigzag line of varying amplitude. The boundary may have a thin zone of insoluble materials, as clay or iron oxide. Some stylolites constitute a surface of weakness or parting in the stone, but most are tightly annealed. Sawing stone perpendicular to or at a high angle to stylolites produces much if the “veined” stone of the marble and limestone industries, and sawing at a very low angle to stylolites causes some of the “flueri” patterns. Stylolites may develop in sandstone or quartzite, butarerare.
One who contracts to carry through a definite part of the general contractor’s obligation in building.
A flooring upon which a finish floor is to be laid.
Accumulation of soluble salts under or just beneath the masonry surface, formed as moisture evaporates. Subfluorescence can damage the substrate during wet/dry and freeze/thaw cycling.
One who is engaged in supplying auxiliary materials, products, equipment and service to the industry.
An angle, plate, or stone which carries a gravity load.
An enframement.
Granite-like rock containing little or no quartz.


A small flat slab or surface of stone especially one bearing one or intended to bear an inscription, carving or the like.
A soft mineral composed of hydrous magnesium silicate, major ingredient of soapstone.
Tapped or pushed down to fill a space or make level.
To moisten and mix clay, plaster, or mortar to the proper consistency.
A pattern for repetitive marking or fabricating operation; made from a hard, waterproof material.
Terra Cotta
Low fired clay, either glazed or unglazed, used primarily in ornamental reliefs.
A type of concrete in which chips or pieces of stone, usually marble, are mixed with cement and are ground to a flat surface, exposing the chips which take a high polish.
Three dimensional surface enrichment independent of color; any finish other than a smooth finish.
Textured Finish
A rough surface finish that tends to subdue color and markings; obtained by bush hammering and machine chiseling.
Thermal Conductivity
K-value; measure of heat-flow through a material or substance.
Thermal Finish
A rough non-reflective finish created with the use of intense heat flaming to exfoliate the surface of the stone and expose the actual grain. Large surfaces may have shadow lines caused by overlapping of the machine or torch.
Thermal Resistance
R-value; the tendency of a material to retard the flow of heat; the reciprocal of the co-efficient of heat transmission.
Thick Bed Mortar
A mortar setting bed over ½” and up to 4″ thick. The minimum required ” thick bed thickness” is a function of application usage, installed material, and the supporting substrate.
Thin Bed
A mixture of portland cement with sand, and additives that improve water retention, used as a thin mortar for installing stone tile.
Thin Bed Mortar
A mortar setting bed up to ½” thick.
Thin Building Stone
Natural stone that is sawn thin and light enough to adhere to a surface which special sticky mortar or ” rich mud” has been applied. The pieces are generally the same thickness as flagging but smaller in surface area. The same item can also be used for flagging, caps, hearth tops, etc….
Thin Stone
Dimension units less than two inches thick.
Threshold Limit Value
Value of airborne toxic materials that are to be used as guides in control of health hazards and present time weighed concentrations to which all workers may be eight hours per day over extended periods of time without adverse effects.
The under-cut of a projected molding to form a drip.
Through Stone
Stone laid across entire thickness of a wall.
Any unit of material that connects masonry to masonry or other material.
Tight Joint
Stone installed with a 1/32″ joint.
A modular unit less than 5/8″ thick.
Dimensional allowance made for the inability of men and machines to fabricate a product of exact dimensions.
Tongue And Groove
Applied to boards or plywood having a tongue formed on one edge and a groove on the other for tight jointing. Not recommended for stone tile sub-floor.
Dressed stone, having regular tool marks.
Tooled Finish
Customarily are four, six, or eight parallel concave grooves to the inch.
Compressing and shaping the face of a mortar joint with a special tool other than a trowel.
Constructing the temporary end of a wall with the end stretcher of alternate courses projecting. Projecting units are toothers.
Ornamentation of panels, circular windows, window heads, etc… A curving mullion of a stone window, as in Gothic architecture.
Transformed Section
An assumed section of one material having the same elastic properties as the original section of two materials.
The slow change from one distinct style to another distinct style following it.
The light-emitting quality of certain marble varieties containing a crystal structure capable of transmitting light.
Horizontal member subdividing a window opening.
A variety of limestone which is a precipitant from cave or spring waters. Some varieties of travertine take a polish and have been marketed as travertine marble.
Travertine Marble
A variety of limestone regarded as a product of chemical precipitation from hot springs. Travertine is cellular with the cells usually concentrated in thin layers that display a stalactitic structure. Some that take a polish are sold as marble and may be classified as travertine marble under the class of “commercial marble”.
A flat stone used as the top walking surface on steps.
Stone used as decorative items only, such as sills, coping, enframements, etc….with the facing of another material.
Trimmer Arch
A stone arch, usually a low rise arch, used for supporting a fireplace hearth.
Pointing of irregularly shaped masonry units with mortar colored to match the units followed by placement of fine stripes of a contrasting colored mortar on top of the first mortar. Also used, incorrectly, for repointing.
Calcareous deposit from saturated limy waters.
Cemented volcanic ash; many varieties included.
Tumbled Marble
A special finish for marble, limestone marble and limestone obtained by rotating pre-cut pieces in a mixer or other container. This rounds the edges and arrises.
Turned Work
In stone fabrication pieces with circular outline, as columns, balusters, and some bases and capitals. Generally cut on a lathe, although spheres and some other shapes may be cut by hand.
A platform flush with floor or tracks, capable of being rotated horizontally.
Two-man Boulders
Rough stones under 400 pounds.


U Value
The overall heat transmission coefficient. Expressed in BTU per inch, per hour, per square foot, per degree Fahrenheit of temperature difference from air to air of a given building section. This is always the final calculation used to determine insulation specifications.
Cut so as to present an overhang part, as a drip mold.
Factory proportioned combination of portland cement, sand and additives used with or without a latex liquid to level an uneven substrate and to provide a suitable stone floor tile setting surface.
A piece of fabricated dimensional cubic or thin stone.
Urinal Screen
A thin stone panel used as a privacy partition between urinals.


V Joint
A joint that has been shaped with a tool to form a “V.”
Vapor Barrier
A material, usually in thin sheet form or combined with a sheathing material, designed to prevent the passage of moisture through a wall or floor with the aim of avoiding condensation within the wall.
Vapor Diffusion
Transfer of water in partially dry solid from regions of high concentrates to those of low concentrates.
Arched stone roof.
A layer, seam, or narrow irregular body of mineral material different from the surrounding formation.
Vein Cut
Unique to the marble industry, it is a cut perpendicular to the natural bedding plane.
An outside, non-bearing load wythe of masonry used as a facing material.
Veneer Stone
Any stone used as a decorative facing material which is not meant to be load bearing.
Veneer Wall
A non-loadbearing stone wall securely anchored to the back-up wall.
Method used to allow air and moisture to escape to the outside from the wall cavity.
Verde Antique
A commercial marble composed chiefly of massive serpentine and capable of taking a high polish. It is commonly veined with carbonate mineral, chiefly calcite and dolomite.
With dressing of irregularity shaped sinkings, leaving worm-like ridges between.
Vertical Joint
See head joint.
Vinyl Resin
These include products in which the unsaturated vinyl grouping is involved. Vinyl resins include polyvinyl, acetate, polyvinyl chloride, copolymers of these, the acrylic methacrylic resins, the polystyrene resins, etc…
The condition resulting when kiln temperatures are so high as to fuse grains and close pores of a clay product, making the mass impervious.
One of the stones in an arch between the impost and keystone.
A cavity in rock; sometimes lines or filled with either amorphous or crystalline material; common in calcareous rocks such as marble or limestone.


An interior veneer of stone less than full wall height.
Wall Plate
A horizontal member anchored to a masonry wall to which other structural elements may be attached. Also called head plate.
Wall Tie
A bonder or metal piece which connects wythes of masonry to each other or to other materials.
Wall Tie, Cavity
A rigid, corrosion resistant metal tie which bond two wythes of a cavity wall. It is usually steel, 3/16″ in diameter, and formed in a ‘Z’ shape or rectangle.
Generally a condition experienced only in flagging or flagstone materials; very common with flagstone materials that are taken from the ground and used in their natural state. To eliminate warping in stones it would be necessary to further finish the material such as machining, sand rubbing, honing, or polishing.
A sloped area or the area water will run over.
Water Base
Water repellents and latex paint coatings containing water soluble or water dispersible binders.
Water Of Crystallization
The extra water required to assist in the crystallization process when forming a hydrate (mortar, cement, concrete, plaster, etc…) When the hydrate gives up this excess water, at ambient temperatures, the result is a surface deposit known as efflorescence or staining.
Water Repellent
Any of several types of clear liquids used to render masonry wall less absorptive. These treatments are said to maintain a material’s ability to breathe away moisture, as distinct from “sealer” which form impervious, non-breathing coatings.
Water Retentivity
The property of a mortar which prevents the rapid loss of water to masonry units of high suction. It prevents bleeding or water gain when mortar is in contact with relatively impervious units.
Water Table
A continuous course of building units on the outside of a wall, near the ground, with a horizontal projection or ledge. It is often shaped with a slope and a drip to limit the amount of water passing over the wall or surface below.
A coating used to treat the surface of the substrate, preventing liquid from entering, but allowing water vapor transmission,
A trade expression used in fabrication of interior marble to describe the process of filling natural voids with cements, shellac, or other materials.
The artificial removal of material, or impairment of the stone surface finish, through friction or impact.
Weathered Joint
A slope to the outside of the upper part of a joint to shed water.
Natural alteration by either chemical or mechanical processes due to the action of the atmosphere, surface waters, soil and other ground waters, or to temperature changes. Changes by weathering are not necessarily undesirable or harmful.
The cross wall connecting the face shells of a hollow masonry unit.
Splitting of stone by driving wedges into planes of weakness.
Weep Holes
An opening for drainage in veneer joints or in the structural components supporting the veneer.
The ability of a coating to flow out, spread, or penetrate a substrate.
A chalk pigment used in paint and putty.
One who purchases dimensional stone in all forms for resale to the trade.
Wind (wined)
A warp in a semi-finished stone slab to be removed by further fabrication.
Window Sill
The bottom section of a window frame and/or the bottom section of an exterior masonry window opening.
Window Stool
A narrow shelf fitted across the lower part on the inside of a window opening.
Wire Saw
A sawing device consisting of one or more wire cables, running over pulleys used to cut natural stone into blocks and slabs by tension and fed slurry of an abrasive and water cuts by abrasion.
Wire Sawn
A method of cutting stone by passing a twisted, multi-strand wire over the stone, and immersing the wire in a slurry of abrasive material.
Wrap Around
The ability of a coating to cover all areas of the substrate to which it is applied, including edges. Also, the effect of an electrostatic charge upon a coating and the ability of the coating to cover all exposed conductive areas.
A masonry wall, one stone or brick thick, that either faces a back-up or is a back-up wall and secured to its neighboring wythes by bond stone or grout; or forms either half of a cavity wall, and is attached to the other half by metal ties.