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      How to Speak Stone

      Mike Gregorio | September 23, 2021

      Natural stone is a beautiful product. As with anything created by nature, it is highly variable. With so many classifications and descriptions there is some industry jargon, we’d love to let you know about.

      Finish Terminology

      Ashlar- stone façade of generally square or rectangular units having sawed or dressed beds. There are three generally recognized distinctions:

      1. random ashlar: ashlar set with stones of varying length and height so that neither vertical nor horizontal joints are continuous.
      2. coursed ashlar: Ashlar set to form continuous horizontal joints.
      3. stacked ashlar: Ashlar set to form continuous vertical joints

      Fieldstone– irregularly shaped stone as found in a field

      Guillotined- stone cut with a wedge, results in edges of low precision with a ragged, chipped appearance

      Natural Cleft- Stone that is split or cleaved parallel to its stratification, yielding a surface with minor imperfections.

      Quarried or Quarry Run– stone that has not been selected for its color (full-range of variability)

      Rock-faced– rustic finish for veneer stone created with a split or chiseled face, and dressed along the stone’s perimeter to produce convex projection. Standard with limestone.

      Sawed edge on top, Rock-faced edge on bottom (Pennsylvania flagstone treads)

      Thermal Finish– a high temperature finishing process used to create a consistent textured finish

      Dimensional Terminology

      Thin Building
      Squares and Rectangles Ashlar Ashlar
      Irregularly Shaped Mosaic Rubble
      Thickness 1”-3” 3”-6”




      Flag or Flagstone- thin (1″-3″) rectangular shapes of stone used as paving surfaces. The top, bottom, and sides have all been sawed

      Tile– Stone <3/4″ thick

      Treads– Larger stone > 4 feet long. Depending on their use they may also be called:

      • Treads– flat stone used as the step on a stair
      • Hearths- large stone placed in front of a fireplace or fire chamber
      • Caps or Capstones- stone placed at the top of column, pilaster, or wall

      Color Terminology

      Pennsylvania Flagstone Colors– is categorized into two color categories

      • Select Blue– characterized predominantly by blues
      • Full Color– has the full array of blue, brown, and gray hues naturally found in the stone

      Select Blue Pennsylvania Flagstone

      Full Color Pennsylvania Flagstone








      Want to get even smarter: https://www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/default/assets/File/consumers/glossary.pdf

      VP of Natural StoneMike Gregorio

      MD: Gaithersburg

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