Types of Stone Construction Masonry

Written by steve johnson | 13/05/2017
Types of Stone Construction Masonry
Stone has always had an important role in masonry. (structure, stone, wild stone image by Oleg Guryanov from Fotolia.com)

Stone construction masonry is among the oldest forms of construction since the emergence of civilisation, carried out in regions where stone is readily available. Building using stone is often preferred because of its aesthetic beauty and durability. It has been used to construct a number of ancient monuments, cities, cathedrals and artefacts in various cultures. It is also common in regions that are liable to earthquakes and presents an affordable, cost-effective mode of housing construction, especially in developing countries. Stone construction masonry is generally classified into two types.

Rubble Masonry

In this type of masonry, undressed or roughly dressed stones are laid in a suitable mortar, and their joints' thickness is not uniform. Rubble masonry has three subdivisions. The first is known as random rubble masonry, whereby either undressed or hammer dressed stone is used. The stone can be laid without forming courses and is the cheapest type of masonry. This is called uncoursed random rubble masonry. On the other hand, coursed random rubble masonry is performed when stone is laid in layers of equal height. It is frequently used for constructing residential buildings and boundary walls.

The second type of rubble masonry is the squared rubble masonry. Here the face stones are squared on all joints and beds before laying. It also can be coursed or uncoursed.

The third is referred to as dry rubble masonry, whereby the stones are laid without using mortar. Also known as dry stones, it is suitable for wall construction that does not exceed 6m.

Ashlars Masonry

This type of stone construction masonry deals with finely dressed stones laid in cements or lime mortar. Ashlars masonry has been further subdivided into ashlar fine or coursed, random coursed, rough tooled, rock or quarry faced, chamfered, block-in course and ashlar facing. The courses in ashlars masonry are uniform in height, with regular joints and uniform thickness. It is mostly used for constructing heavy structures, high piers and architectural structures.

Stone Wall Strengths

Stone walls are the prime structures constructed in stone masonry --whether it is a tall building, a housing unit or a perimeter fence. Stone walls are mainly designed to support the weight of the whole building, and it is in this regard that there are many developments made to strengthen it to ensure its durability and cost efficiency without sacrificing its natural beauty. Favourite stone constructions that clearly show this development include veneered stone walls and slip-form stone walls.


Rubble masonry is the earlier form of stone masonry and is often preferred because of its cheapness. Since it utilises undressed stones, it is commonly used as the outer surface of a wall or as a filling of the core of a wall with brick or dressed stone on its outside.

Ashlar masonry involves finely dressed stone and is used in the construction of buildings as a substitute for bricks. Generally, the outside part of the block is smooth and occasionally decorated by small grooves.

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