Glossary of Terms
Arch – a curved stone structure
resting on supports at both extremities used to sustain weight, to bridge or roof an open space.
Ashlar – masonry having a face
of square or rectangular stones, either smooth or textured.
Baluster – a miniature pillar or
column supporting a rail – used in balustrades.
Bed – the top or bottom of a joint,
natural bed – surface of stone parallel to it stratification.
Belt Course – A continuous horizontal
course of flat stones placed in line marking a division in the wall plane.
Bevel – When the right angle between
two sides is greater or less than a right angle.
Bull Nose – Convex rounding of
a stone member, such as star tread.
Capital – Column cap.
Coping – A flat stone used as a cap on free standing walls.
Cornerstone – 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, not necessarily
at corner, usually incorporating a date or inscription.
Course – A horizontal range of stone units the length of the wall.
Coursed Veneer – This is achieved by using stones of the same, or approximately
the same, heights. Horizontal joints run the entire length of the veneered area. Vertical joints are constantly broken so
that no two joints will be over another.
Cut Stone – This includes all stone cut or machined to given sizes, dimension,
or shape, and produced in accordance with working or shop drawings, which have been developed from the architect’s structural
Dimension Stone – Stone pre-cut and shaped to dimensions of specified sizes.
Drip – A recess cut under a sill or projecting stone to throw off water preventing
it from running down the face of a wall or other surface as a window or door.
Dry Wall – A dry wall is a stone wall that is constructed one stone upon another
without the use of mortar. Generally used for retaining walls.
Face – This refers to the exposed portion of the stone. The word face can also
be used when referring to the edge treatment on various cutting stone materials.
Fascia – A horizontal belt of vertical face, and often used in combination
Flagstone – Thin slabs of stone used for flagging or paving walkways, driveways,
patios, etc. It is generally fine-grained sandstone, bluestone, quartzite, or slate, but thin slabs of other stones may be
Grout – Mortar of pouring consistency.
Hand or machine pitch 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 line leaving a straight arris and the intended rustic finish on the face.
Hearth – the part of a fireplace where the fire is laid.
Hearth Stone – Originally the single large stone or stones used for the hearth.
Now, most commonly used to describe the stone in front of the fire chamber and many times extending on either or both sides
of the front of the fire chamber.
Honed Finish – a super-fine, smooth finish.
Joint – The space between stone units, usually filled with mortar. The types
are flush, rake, cove, weathered, bead, stripped, and “v”.
Jumper – 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.
Keystone – The last wedge-shaped stone placed at the crown of an arch regarded
as binding the whole arch.
Limestone – A sedimentary rock composed of calcium carbonate; includes many
Marble – A metamorphic rock composed essentially of calcite and/or dolomite,
generally a re-crystallization of limestone to marble.
Masonry – Built-up construction, usually of a combination of materials set
Miter – The junction of two units at an angle, of which the junction line usually
bisects on a 45 degree angle.
Mortar – A plastic mixture of cement, lime, sand, and water, used to bond masonry
Natural Bed – The setting of stone on the same plane as it was formed in the
ground. This generally applies to stratified materials.
Pilaster – An engaged pier of shallow depth; in classical architecture it follows
the height and width of related columns, with similar base and cap.
Pitched Stone – Stone having arris clearly defined, the face, however, is roughly
cut with pitching chisel used along the line, which becomes the arris.
Pointing – The final filling and finishing of mortar joints that have been
Polished – The finest and smoothest finish available in stone characterized
by a gloss or reflective property, generally only possible on hard, dense materials.
Projections – This refers to the pulling out of stones in a wall to give an
effect of ruggedness. The amount each stone is pulled out can vary between ½” 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.
Quarry –The location of an operation where a natural deposit of stone is removed
from the ground.
Quoins – Stones at the corner of a wall emphasized by size, projection, rustication,
or by a different finish.
Recess – A sinkage in a wall plane.
Relieving Arch – one built over a lintel, flat arch, or smaller arch to divert
loads, thus relieving the lower member from excessive loading.
Roman Arch – semi-circular arch.
Sandstone – a sedimentary rock consisting usually of quartz cemented with silica,
iron oxide, or calcium carbonate. Sandstone is durable, has a very high crushing and tensile strength, and a wide range of
colors and textures.
Sawed Edge – a clean cut edge generally achieved by cutting with a diamond
blade, gang saw, or wire saw.
Sill – a flat stone used under windows, doors, and other masonry openings.
Slab – a lengthwise cut of a large quarry block of stone.
Snapped Edge – this refers to the natural breaking of a stone either by hand or machine.
Soffit – the finished lower underside of a lintel, arch, or portico.
Slit – division of a rock by cleavage.
Tolerance – dimensional allowance made for the inability of men and machines
to fabricate a product of exact dimensions.
Tread – a flat stone used as the top walking surface on steps.
Trim – stone used as decorative items only, such as: sills, coping, enfacements,
etc., with the facing of another material.
Veneer Stone – any stone used as a decorative facing material, which is not
meant to be load bearing.
Wall Tie – a bonder or metal piece, which connects wythes of masonry to each
other and other materials.
Water Table – A projection of lower masonry on the outside of the wall slightly
above the ground. Often a damp course is placed at the level of the water table to prevent upward penetration of ground water.