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Glossary of Terms


adhered – veneer secured and supported through adhesion to an approved bonding material applied over an approved backing.

aggregate– coarse to medium grained particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, and recycled concrete.

anchors – Metal or strap usually made of stainless steel which also comes galvanized- used to tie a wall (brick, block or stone) to another structure.


backer rod– usually round, flexible lengths of foam that are used as a “backing” in joints or cracks to help control the amount of sealant/caulking used and create a back stop.

baluster – a small pillar or column supporting a rail, used in balustrades.

balustrade – aesthetically pleasing type of fencing consisting of a series of balusters supporting a handrail or molding.

bevel edge– when the angle between two sides of a stone is greater or less than a right angle.

bluestone – a dense, hard, fine-grained, commonly feldspathic sandstone or siltstone of medium to dark bluish-gray color. The term has been applied particularly to sandstones of Devonian age that are being or have been quarried in eastern New York and Pennsylvania and in western New Jersey, but similar stones that occur elsewhere may be included.

brushed finish – obtained on the face of the stone by brushing with a coarse rotary-type wire brush.

building stone, natural – rock material in its natural state of composition and aggregation as it exists in the quarry and is usable in construction as dimension building stone.

brick-a molded rectangular block of clay baked in a kiln until hard and used as a veneer, building and paving material.

bullnose/fullnose – convex rounding of a stone member, such as a stair tread.


cavity wall-a wall built in two wythes of masonry tied together with a continuous air space in between.

cladding – non-load-bearing thin stone slabs used for facing buildings, masonry and accent walls.

cobblestone – a naturally shaped granite stone, large enough for use in paving; commonly used to describe paving blocks, cut to rectangular shapes.

concrete-a hard, strong construction material consisting of sand, conglomerate gravel, pebbles, broken stone, or in a mortar or cement matrix.

contraction joints – spaces where panels are joined and which expand as the panels contract.

coping – a flat stone used as a cap on freestanding walls, also could be used for a pool’s edge-can have sawcut, full nose, or rock faced edge.

course – a horizontal range of stone units the length of the wall.


dimensional stone – quarried stone, of a specified thickness cut down to a certain length and width. Usually with one or more mechanically altered surfaces.

dowel – a short piece of non-ferrous metal placed in transversal contraction or construction joints of concrete pavements and help to transfer loading between individual slabs.

dry stack – a stone wall that is constructed one stone upon the other without the use of any mortar. Generally used for retaining walls.


efflorescence – a crystalline deposit appearing on stone surfaces typically caused by soluble salts carried through or onto the stone by moisture. It will go away naturally or treated with efflorescence cleaner.

expansion-contraction joint – a joint designed to allow the expansion and contraction of a wall due to temperature change. An expansion joint compresses as panels expand, a contraction joint expands as panels contract.

exposed aggregate – phrase applied to the larger pieces of stone aggregate purposefully exposed for their color and texture in a cast slab.


fabrication – process of cutting stone to a custom size then finishing the face and edges to specifications.

face – this refers to the exposed portion of stone. The word “face” can also be used when referring to the edge treatment on various materials.

finish – the final appearance exposed stone slab surfaces are fabricated to meet- can be brushed, flamed, antiqued, honed, or polished.

fire brick – brick made of refractory ceramic material which will resist hot temperatures.

flagstone – thin slabs of stone used for flagging or paving walks, driveways, patios, etc. It is generally sandstone, bluestone, limestone, marble, limestone, quartzite, or slate.

flame finish – the process of using a flame to pop off the surface of the stone face. This is performed on the face and edge of the stone for a finished look opposed to a natural look.

flashing – sheet metal or plastic placed in mortar joints and air spaces in masonry for protection against water seepage.

footing – a structural element that transmits loads directly to the soil.


granite – a fine to coarse-grained, igneous rock formed by volcanic action consisting of quartz, feldspar, and mica, with accessory minerals.

grout – consists of one part Portland cement and two-and-a-quarter to three parts sand.


hearth stone – 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 – honed is a super smooth finish, though not as fine as a high polish-great for coping, countertops, and hearth stones.


joint – the space between stone units, usually filled with mortar or sand.


keystone – the wedge-shaped stone at the apex of a masonry arch or typically round-shaped one at the apex of a vault. In both cases it is the final piece placed during construction and locks all the stones into position, allowing the arch or vault to bear weight.


lime – calcium oxide (CaO), a general term for the various chemical and physical forms of quicklime, hydrated lime and hydraulic hydrated lime.

limestone – a sedimentary rock composed of calcium carbonate; includes many varieties.

lintel – A lintel is a beam placed across the openings like doors, windows etc. in buildings to support the load from the structure above.


manufactured stone – veneer or paving material made from concrete in a factory, appearance is very similar to natural stone, the weight of manufactured stone is 1/3 of natural.

marble – a metamorphic limestone in a more or less crystalline state capable of taking a high polish. Occurs in a wide range of colors and variations.

miter – the junction of two units at an angle of which the junction lines usually bisect on a 45-degree angle.

mortar – Mortar is a workable paste which hardens to bind building blocks such as stones, bricks, and concrete masonry units, to fill and seal the irregular gaps between them, spread the weight of them evenly, and sometimes to add decorative colors or patterns to masonry walls.

mosaic – a veneer which is generally made with irregular shapes and with no definite pattern.


natural cleft – this generally pertains to stones which are formed in layers in the ground. When such stones are cleaved or separated along a natural seam the remaining surface is referred to as a natural cleft surface.


palletized – a system of stacking stone on wooden pallets. Stone which comes palletized is easily moved and transported by modern handling equipment. Palletized material generally arrives at the job site in better condition than unpalletized material.

parapet wall – a low wall to protect the edge of a platform, roof or bridge.

paving – concrete, asphalt, natural stone, or porcelain used as an exterior wearing surface, as in patios, walkways, driveways, etc.

pier – a short masonry or concrete column supporting the foundations of the floor structure in spaces without a basement. Pier may be freestanding or bonded at its sides to other masonry or concrete. A masonry column used to support a garden wall. A freestanding column.

pointing – the filling and tooling of mortar joints with mortar or caulking compounds.

polished finish – the finest and smoothest finish available in stone characterized by a gloss or reflective property. Generally only possible on hard, dense materials.

polymeric sand – a fine sand that is combined with additives that form a binding agent when exposed to water. As the sand particles fuse, the joint between two patio pavers becomes impenetrable and the pavers are locked in place.


quartzite – a compact granular rock composed of quartz crystals, usually so firmly cemented as to make the mass homogeneous.


RCA – recycled concrete aggregate also known as crushed concrete, used as a sub base for patios, walkways, driveways, ect.

rebar – rebar is a steel bar that is used in concrete construction. By adding these reinforcing steel bars, you’re creating reinforced concrete.

rockface – this is similar to split face, except that the face of the stone is split with a chisel to give a more uniform split face look.


sandblasted finish – a dull non-glossy finish applied to stone; usually achieved by blasting air blended with sand across the surface.

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.

sealer – applied to the top of pavement-help lock stones in place, limit erosion inside joints, repel stains, and keep the pavers looking their best.

sill – a flat stone used under windows, doors, and other masonry openings.

slab – a lengthwise cut of large quarry block of stone approximately 5′ x 8′ in size, available in 1”-4” thickness.

slate – a very fine-grained metamorphic rock derived from sedimentary rock shale.

stucco – a combination of cement and aggregate mixed with a suitable amount of water to form a plastic mixture that will adhere to a surface and preserve the texture imposed on it.


template – a pattern for repetitive marking or fabricating operation.

thin stone – stone slabs generally of two inches or less in thickness, used as a veneer or can be used for a walkway or patio.

travertine – a form of limestone precipitated from ground waters, as in caves or in orifices of springs.

tread – a flat stone used as the top walking surface on steps-available in different edges.


veneer stone – any stone used as a decorative facing material which is not meant to be load-bearing-available in ledgestone, strip, mosaic, and square and rectangles.


wall tie – stainless steel sometimes called ‘brick ties,’ used in buildings with cavity walls. They are used to join the two leaves of a cavity wall together, allowing the two parts to act as a homogeneous unit.

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.

weep holes – openings placed in mortar joints of facing material at the level of flashing to permit the escape of moisture.