When building with natural stone a great variety of options and opportunities appear. Basalt, marble, limestone, travertine, granite are among the widely used construction materials with different properties and applications. The characteristics applied to most of the stone materials are durability, strength, recyclability, resistance to extreme weather and fire. The stone is used for masonry, paving, tiles, worktops, fireplaces, monuments, interior, and exterior walls.

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Significant historical castles, palaces, churches demonstrate the beauty and durability of stone as a building material for many centuries. Just as the impressive contemporary projects show the new approaches to using natural stone in the construction. The stone as the building material offers a broad range of applications, properties, and design opportunities allowing to use sustainable material in different aspects.

Construction stone is used for building:

  • Masonry
  • Paving
  • Interior walls
  • Tiles
  • Worktops
  • Door frames and window sills
  • Fireplaces
  • Washbasins

Categories of natural stone:

  • Igneous rocks were formed from the cooled magma and applied to create strength in the building’s structure.
  • Granite, basalt, and pumice are examples of igneous rocks.
  • Sedimentary rocks are formed from the fragments of eroded rocks and become compacted. Deposits of sediments are settled mostly on sea beds. Examples of sedimentary stones are sandstone and limestone including its popular form travertine.
  • Metamorphic stone is transformed from an existing rock under intense heat or pressure. Marble and slate are the metamorphic stone kinds used widely in construction.

Stone construction techniques:

  • Dry stone stacking is a technique of stacking one stone upon another without mortar used for the building of the Egyptian pyramids. Regular stone blocks, as well as irregularly shaped stones, are applied in dry stone stack buildings.
  • Stone masonry is the technique of using irregular stones or stone blocks with the mortar similar to the brickwork. The technique is represented in colonial American houses and modern methods like slipform.
  • Stone veneer appears to be the most common technique today. The stone gives an attractive covering to the building being attached to the wall, which is the basis of the construction.

The most common natural stone types in the construction

Granite is a deep-seated stone with a crystalline structure, which is used for building retaining walls, external cladding of walls, foundations, monuments, ballast for railways, bridge components. Granite is durable, has a high value of crushing strength, great resistance to frost, and low absorption value. The stone is available in different colors from light gray to pink.

Limestone is a base material for cement, also applied for flooring, roofing, pavements. It is important to select only limestone kinds suitable for the construction with dense and fine textures, avoiding the ones rich in clay. Marble is a metamorphic rock, which is available in many colors and can be easily cut into different shapes. The stone is very strong and takes a good polish. Marble is used for flooring, steps, facing works, worktops, and ornamental purposes.

Slate is a metamorphic rock consisting of quartz, mica, and clay minerals. The stone is used for tiles, flooring, and roofing. Slate has great variations in building properties as well as a variety of colors. Laterite is a stone available in soft and hard varieties and contains a high amount of iron oxide making it possible to be cut into blocks. Seasoning makes this stone stronger.

Quartzite is a metamorphic rock composed of feldspar and mica. The stone is durable and hard making it difficult to work with. Quartzites are used as blocks, slabs, and aggregates for concrete.

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