Stone masonry, an ancient craft dating back to ancient times, involves the art of cutting, shaping, and laying stones to create visually appealing structures like temples, houses, walls, and so on, which requires skill, precision, and patience.
Despite its old roots, stone masonry is still in use today, particularly in the preservation and restoration of historical structures and architectural landmarks worldwide.
In this article, we will explore details about stone masonry and its types.
Types of Stone Masonry
Stone masonry can be classified into two types -
- Rubble stone masonry
- Ashlar stone masonry
Rubble stone masonry
The stone masonry known for its rustic and natural appearance involves undressed or roughly dressed stones, mostly irregularly shaped and cut to specific sizes d is known as rubble stone masonry.
This technique involves packing the stones together with mortar or cement to create walls or other structures and does not include uniform thickness. It is commonly used in the construction of retaining walls, boundary walls, and garden walls and in landscaping to create a more organic feel.
Classification of Rubble Stone Masonry
The rubble stone masonry can further be classified into five different types -
- Coursed Rubble Masonry
- Unsourced Rubble Masonry
- Dry Rubble Masonry
- Polygonal Masonry
- Flint Masonry
1. Coursed Rubble Masonry
The construction of coursed rubble masonry involves a technique in which rough-hewn stones of relatively uniform size, height, and shape are laid in horizontal courses.
The stones are often cut or dressed to fit more precisely into the wall, creating a more even surface than with random rubble masonry.
They are highly desired in abutments, creating walls, public buildings, foundations, residential buildings, piers of ordinary bridges, and other structures that require a strong and durable material.
It is a popular technique in traditional masonry construction that provides a classic and timeless look to buildings and other structures.
2. Uncoursed Rubble Masonry
The roughest form of masonry construction: Uncoursed rubble masonry is a type of construction technique in which stones of various sizes and shapes are laid together in a wall without any uniform pattern or course where larger stones are used initially.
The cheapest form of construction involves taking stones directly from the quarry, called as undressed stone blocks.
The stones are typically rough-hewn and irregularly shaped, giving the wall a natural and rustic appearance. Unsourced rubble masonry can be used to create walls, foundations, and other structures that require a strong and durable material, and the spaces between them are filled with spalls or sneak.
It is a popular technique in traditional masonry construction, particularly for buildings and structures with a more organic or natural aesthetic. It can also be a cost-effective option, as the irregularity of the stones often means less cutting and shaping is required.
These are further categorized into two types:
- Random Uncoursed Rubble Masonry
- Square Uncoursed Rubble Masonry
Random Uncoursed Rubble Masonry
A construction technique in which the corners and edges of weak stones of various sizes and shapes are removed with hammers. The stones, although laid together without any uniform pattern or course, offer great strength of masonry at the quoins and jambs.
This provides a natural and rustic appearance to the wall or structure, making it a popular option in landscaping and garden design. It is also a cost-effective option, as the irregularity of the stones often means less cutting and shaping is required.
Square Uncoursed Rubble Masonry
This type of rubble masonry is a construction technique in which roughly squared stones of varying sizes are laid together without any uniform pattern or course.
The squared edges provide some level of uniformity while maintaining a natural and rustic appearance, where a hammer-dressed finish is desired.
It does not involve chips for bedding and includes larger stones as quinos, making it a popular option for traditional masonry construction with an organic or natural aesthetic.
3. Dry Rubble Masonry
This rubble masonry construction is a technique in which stones are laid together without the use of any mortar or adhesive. The stones are typically irregularly shaped and rough, which provide a natural and rustic look to the finished wall or structure on small spaces being filled with smaller stone pieces.
It is used in creating retaining walls, canal slopes, garden walls, pitching earthen dams, and other structures that do not require a high degree of structural integrity.
It is a popular technique in landscaping and garden design, as it allows for flexibility in the placement and arrangement of the stones, creating a unique and personalized look.
4. Polygonal Masonry
Here, in this type of construction technique in which, stones of irregular polygonal shapes are laid together to form a wall or other structure, avoiding vertical joints.
The stones are often carefully selected and shaped to stick together as tightly as possible, creating a strong and durable structure, and are even supported by stone chips.
This type of stone masonry can be found in many historical buildings around the world. It is often used in areas with a ready supply of stone, such as mountainous regions, and to create walls, foundations, and other structures that require a high degree of structural integrity.
5. Flint Masonry
This type of stone masonry includes flint stones of various sizes and shapes, as flint is a hard, sedimentary rock nodule of silica that is often found in areas with chalk deposits.
It is a durable, long-lasting, extremely hard but brittle material that varies from 8 to 15cm and has been used in construction for centuries.
This type of rubble stone masonry is found in many historic buildings throughout Europe, particularly in areas with chalk and flint deposits. The stones are often irregularly shaped and are laid together in a pattern that provides both strength and visual interest.
Ashlar stone masonry
Stone masonry involves finely dressed stones that are large, cut to specific sizes and shapes, with flat faces and straight edges, and are laid in regular courses using mortar.
It is known for its clean and polished appearance and is often used in the construction of public buildings, palaces, and other important structures where the size of the block is in proportion with the thickness of the wall.
It requires high skill and precision to achieve the desired effect and is still used today in modern architecture for its timeless elegance.
The several types of ashlar masonry are:
- Ashlar Fine Masonry
- Ashlar Block in Course
- Ashlar Chamfered Masonry
- Ashlar Rough Tooled Masonry
- Rock or Quarry Faced Masonry
1. Ashlar Fine Masonry
Ashlar fine masonry is a stone masonry technique in which each stone is cut and shaped into rectangular blocks of precise dimensions (mostly rectangular in shape) and then laid in even, horizontal courses with a uniform joint size.
This creates a smooth and refined appearance to the finished wall or structure and is often used in more formal architectural styles and many historical buildings around the world. It requires a high degree of skill and precision in both stone cutting and placement, making it a costlier option.
2. Ashlar Block in Course Masonry
The combination of both ashlar masonry and rubble masonry is a type of stone masonry in which the rectangular blocks of stone are laid in horizontal courses with even joint sizes, creating a uniform and refined appearance. The blocks are typically cut and shaped to precise dimensions, and the joints are filled with mortar or adhesive. The facework of these masonry stones can either be hammer dressed or rough-tooled.
3. Ashlar Chamfered Masonry
The type of ashlar chamfered stone masonry involves the cutting and shaping of stones to precise dimensions and then chamfering or beveling along the edges at an angle of 45 degrees at a depth of 25mm by chisel.
The chamfered edges provide visual interest and texture to the finished wall or structure. The blocks are laid in even, horizontal courses with uniform joint sizes, creating a refined appearance.
4. Ashlar Rough Masonry
In ashlar rough stone masonry, the rectangular blocks of stone are cut and shaped around the perimeter of rough-faced stone to precise dimensions but left with a rough and uneven texture on the surface and fine chisel-dressed sides.
The blocks are laid in even, horizontal courses with uniform joint sizes, creating a rustic appearance. This type of masonry is often used in informal or naturalistic architectural styles.
5. Rock and Quarry Faced
Rock and quarry-faced stone masonry is a type of construction technique in which rectangular or irregularly shaped stones are used in a wall or structure.
The stones in this type of stone masonry are typically left with a rough and unfinished surface in the same form, mas received with a 25 mm wide stripe made by a chisel, providing a natural and rustic appearance.
The stones can be arranged in horizontal courses or randomly, depending on the desired effect. This type of masonry is often used in landscaping and garden design.
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