Glossary of Terms

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A-FRAME: A wooden or metal rack constructed in the shape of an "A" on which large stone slabs are shipped and stored.

ABATE: To cut away so as to leave parts in relief.

ABRASIVE FINISH: A flat non-reflective surface finish. Recommended for exterior use.

ABRASIVE HARDNESS (Ha): Refers to the wearing qualities of stone for floors, stair treads and similar uses subjected to abrasion by foot traffic.

ABRASION RESISTANCE: The property of a surface by which it resists being worn away as a result of friction.

ABSORPTION: Percentage of moisture absorption by weight. The process by which a liquid is taken into (soaked up by) another substance and held there. The weight of water a brick unit absorbs, when immersed in either cold or boiling water for a stated length of time, expressed as a percentage of weight of the dry unit.

ABUTMENT: The supporting wall or pier that receives the thrust of an arch; a solid stone springer at the lowest point of an arch, vault or beam.

ACCELERATOR: A material used to speed the setting of mortar, epoxy, and polyester resins.

ACRYLIC EMULSIONS: Clear water-based repellents which form a film. The acrylic resins come from the polymerization of derivatives of acrylic acids, including esters of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, acrylonitrite, and their copolymers. Acrylics resins vary from hard brittle solids, to fibrous elastomeric structures to viscous liquids, depending on the monomer used and the method of polymerization.

ACRYLIC RESIN: See polyester resin.

ACRYLICS: Resins resulting from the polymerization of derivatives of acrylic acids including esters of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, acrylonitrite, and their copolymers. They can be carried in a water or solvent solution and they are film-forming materials.

ACTIVE SOLIDS: Ingredients of a coating composition which are deposited following co-reaction or reaction with the substrate. Active solids are usually measured as a weight percent of the total.

ADHERED: Stone veneer secured and supported by adhesion of an approved bonding material over an approved backing.


ADMIXTURES: Chemical additives included in the mixing batch for concrete manufacture or applied to the surface during the curing or setting process of the concrete, which variously accelerate or retard the curing time, provide coloring, waterproofing, tearing, special aggregate finishes fillers, etc…

ADOQUIN: A volcanic quartz-based stone containing a variety of colored aggregates and pumice in a quartz matrix. Quarried in Mexico and available in several colors.

AGATE: A variegated variety or quartz allowing colored bands or other markings (clouded, moss-like, etc…).

AGGLOMERATE: A man-made product fabricated to look like quarried stone. Usually composed of stone chips or fragments embedded in a matrix of mortar or thermosetting resins.

AGGREGATE: A man-made product fabricated to look like quarried stone. Usually composed of stone chips or fragments embedded in a matrix of mortar or thermosetting resins.

ALABASTER: A fine grained, translucent variety of gypsum, generally white in color. May be cut and carved easily with a knife or saw. The term is often incorrectly applied to fine-grained marble.

ALTAR: A table form; the center of most liturgical places of worship.

ALTAR RAIL: A railing across the chancel, or in front of the altar.

ALTARSCREEN: See reredos.

ALTERATION: Any project involving change of, or addition to, an existing building.

ALUMINA: Aluminum oxide.

ALUMINUM STEARATE: Complex salt or soap of aluminum and stearic acid. Used as a flattering and antisettling agent for pigments in paint and varnish, water repellents and cement additives.

AMBIENT TEMPERATURE: Temperature of the surrounding environment.

AMBO: One of the two pulpits or raised stands, usually stone, used in Christian churches.

ANCHOR: Metal device for securing dimensional stone to a structure or back-up walls.

ANCHORAGE: The means by which slabs are attached to a self-supporting structure.

ANCHORS: Types for stone work:

  OF FLAT STONE: Strap, cramps, dovetails, dowel strap, and dowel and two way anchors.

  CORRUGATED: corrugated wall ties and dovetail anchors.

  ROUND STOCK: Rod cramp, rod anchor, eyebolt and dowel, flat hook, wall tie and dowel, dowel and wire toggle bolts.

ANGLE IRON: A structural steel angle; used for lintels to support masonry over openings, such as doors, windows or fireplaces.

ANHYDROUS: A hydrate that has given up all its previously held water molecules.

ANORTHOSITE: An usually dark-colored igneous rock consisting mostly or entirely of calcic plagioclase.

APEX: Top or peak of a pyramidal or conical form.

APEX STONE: Top stone of gable, spire, or pediment.

APRON: A trim piece under a projecting stone top, stool, etc…

ARAGONITE: A translucent white mineral found in calcium carbonate.

ARCADE: A range of arches with their supports; also, a passageway, one side of which is a range of arches supporting a roof.

ARCH: A curved stone structure resting on supports at both extremities used to sustain weight of bridge or roof or an open space. Or, a curved compression structural member, spanning openings or recesses; also built flat.

Back arch: A concealed arch carrying the backing of a wall where the exterior facing is carried by a lintel.

Jack arch: An arch having horizontal or nearly horizontal upper and lower surfaces. Also called a flat or straight arch.

Minor arch: Arch with maximum span of six feet and a rise to span with a ratio less than or equal to 0.15. Typically forms are jack arch, segmental arch, or multi-centered arch.

Relieving arch: An arch built over a lintel, flat arch, or smaller arch to divert loads, thus relieving the lower member from excessive loading. Also known as a discharging or safety arch.

Trimmer arch: An arch, usually a low rise arch of brick, used for supporting a fireplace hearth.

ARCHITECT: One skilled in the design of buildings and having technical knowledge of their construction.

ARCHITECTURE: The art and science of designing and constructing buildings adapted to their purposes, one of which is beauty.

ARCHITRAVE: Member of an entablature resting on the capitals of columns and supporting the frieze.

ARCUATED CONSTRUCTION: Stone masonry in compression, using arch and vault.

AREA: The surface included within specific boundaries.

ARGILLITE: A compact metamorphic rock composed mainly of clay or shale, and aluminum silicate minerals. Similar to slate in appearance and splitting properties, but usually much harder.

ARKOSE, ARKOSIC SANDSTONE, FELDSPATHIC SANDSTONE: A quartz-based sandstone containing 10% or more of elastic grains or feldspar.

AROMATIC SOLVENTS: Hydrocarbon solvents comprised of organic compounds that contain an unsaturated ring of carbon atoms, including benzene, naphthalene and their derivatives.

ARTIFICIAL MARBLE: A man-made product that may look like natural quarried marble sometimes composed of thermosetting resins as a matrix and fillers.

ARTIFICIAL STONE: A substitute for dimension stone made by casting selected aggregates and cement in molds.

ARRIS: The angle, corner, or edge produced by the meeting of two surfaces; the edge of external angle. A natural or applied line on the stone from which all the leveling and plumbing is measured.

ASHLAR: A flat-faced surface generally square or rectangle having sawed or dressed beds and joints. Or, rectangular blocks having sawed planed, or rock-faced surface, contrasted with cut blocks that are sized accurately and surface tooled. May be laid in courses.

Coursed ashlar: ashlar set to form continuous horizontal joints.

Stacked ashlar: ashlar set to form continuous vertical joints.

Random ashlar: ashlar set with stones of varying length and height so that neither vertical nor horizontal joints are continuous.

ATRIUM: The open roofed entrance court of a building.

AXED: The surface finish produced by means of masonry axe tool.

AXIS: An imaginary line in plan or elevation dividing symmetrical parts.

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