Glossary of Terms

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SADDLE: A flat strip of stone projecting above the floor between the jambs of a door, such as a threshold.

SAILOR: A masonry unit laid on end to show its broadest face.

SALT GLAZE: A gloss finish obtained by a thermo-chemical reaction between silicates of clay and vapors of salt or chemicals.

SAMPLE: A piece of dimensional stone, usually 12" x 12" showing a general range of marking and color of a given variety.

SANDBLASTED, COARSE STIPPLED: Coarse plane surface produced by blasting with an abrasive; coarseness varies with type of preparatory finish and grain structure of the stone.

SANDBLASTED, FINE STIPPLED: Plane surface, slightly pebbled, with occasional slight scratches.

SANDBLASTING: A cleaning, engraving, or surface finish process achieved by spraying sand on the surface with compressed air.

SAND FINISH: A matte textured surface finish with no gloss; finished by application of a steady flow of sand and water under pressure; suitable for exterior use.

SAND HOLES: Naturally occurring holes visible in some dimension stone; can be filled or waxed.

SAND RUBBED FINISH: Finish obtained by rubbing stone with a sand and water mixture under a rotating horizontal steel plate.This actual process is now little used, and the finish so known is commonly applied with a rotary or belt sander.

SAND SAWN FINISH: The surface left as the stone comes from the gang saw. Moderately smooth, granular surface varying with the texture and grade of stone.

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 or textures.


SAWED EDGE: A clean cut edge generally achieved by cutting with a diamond blade, gang saw or wire saw.

SAWED FACE: A finish obtained from the process used in producing building stone. Varies in texture from smooth to rough and coincident with the type of materials used in sawing characterized as diamond sawn; sand sawn; chat sawn; and shot sawn.

SAWYER: An operator of a bridge saw, gang saw or wire saw.

SCABBLED: Rough dressed stone, with prominent tool marks.

SCABBLING: The process of removing surface irregularities for blocks for storage and shipment.

SCABBLINGS: Small chips of stone.

SCAFFOLD: Temporary elevated structure for the support of plank footing and platforms as aids to workmen.

SCAGLIOLA: Plasterwork used in imitation of ornamental marble, consisting of ground gypsum and glue colored with marble or granite dust; a small piece of marble.

SCALE: Thin lamina or paper-like sheets of rock often loose, and interrupting an otherwise smooth, surface on stone.

SCALING: The loosening of a material normally attached to another by surface adherence, which then peels and breaks away.

SCAMILUS: A block of stone supporting the pedestal of a statue or the plinth of a column; a surplus bevel of stone adjoining a sharp edge, to prevent chipping when the cubic piece is being set.

SCHIST: A foliated metamorphic rock (recrystallized) characterized by thin foliae that are composed predominantly of minerals of thin platy or prismatic habits and whose long dimensions are oriented in approximately parallel positions along the planes of foliation. Because of this foliated structure schists split readily along these planes and so possess a pronounced rock cleavage.The more common schists are composed of the micas and other mica-like minerals (such as chlorite) and generally contain subordinate quartz and/or feldspar of comparatively fine-grained texture; all graduations exist between schist and gneiss (coarse is foliated feldspathic rocks).

SCORE: To scarify the surface of stone to make a better bond; to mark on a stone piece for the purpose of a cutting layout.

SCORIA: Irregular masses of lava resembling clinker or slag; may be cellular (vesicular) dark-colored and heavy.

SCOTIA: A concave molding.

SCRATCH COAT: The first rough coat of Portland cement mortar, which is scored or roughed before completely set, allowing better adhesion of subsequent coats.

SCREED: A strip of wood, metal, or other material applied to a surface. Screeds are used as guides on which a straight edge is used to obtain a true mortar surface.

SCRIBE: To mark the edge of one stone unit to be cut to fit snugly against another.

SCULPTOR: In dimensional stone, an artist whose craft is to carve stone in three-dimensional forms.

SCULPTURE: The work of a sculptor in three-dimensional form by cutting from a solid block of stone.

SEALANT: An elastic adhesive compound used to seal stone veneer joints. Or, a resilient compound used as the final weather face.

SEALING: Making a veneer joint water-tight or leak-proof with an elastic adhesive compound; or application of a surface treatment to prevent staining, moisture penetration and reduce weathering.

SEAM-FACE: The natural bed face of a quarried stone.

SECTILIA: A pavement made up of fitted hexagonal stones.

SEDIMENTARY: Stone formed by precipitation from solution, as rock salt and gypsum, or from secretion of organisms, as most limestones.

SEDIMENTARY ROCK: One of three classes of rock which make up the earth’s outer crust; formed from the disintegration of older rocks, soils, plants, and animals.

SELENITE: Variety of gypsum in transparent, foliated, crystalline form.

SEMI-RUBBED: A finish achieved by rubbing hand or machine the rough or high spots off the surface to be used leaving a certain amount of the natural surface along with the smoothed areas.

SERPENTINE: A commercial marble characterized by a prominent amount of the mineral serpentine. Most commonly dark green in color, but may be brownish-red. Or, a hydrous magnesium silicate matonal of igneous origin, generally a very dark green color with markings of white, light green, or black; one of the hardest varieties of natural building stone.

SET: A change in mortar consistency from a plastic to a hard state.

SETTER: An experienced journeyman who installs dimensional stone units.

SETTING: The trade of installing dimensional stone units.

SETTING BED MORTAR: The troweling of mortar to set building units, but with the exposed joint raked out for the application of the pointing mortar or grout to be done later.

SETTING SPACE: Terminology referring to the distance from the finished face of a stone unit to the face of the back-up material.

SHALE: Clay that has been subjected to high pressure until it has hardened rock-like.

SHEAR: A type of stress; a body is in shear when it is subjected to a pair of equal forces which are opposite in direction and which act along parallel planes.

SHELF ANGLE: A steel angle usually connected to a spandrel beam which supports brick veneer, typically at every floor level.

SHIM: A piece of plastic or other non-corrosive, non-staining material used to hold joints to size.

SHINER: A stretcher laid on its edge to show its broadest face.

SHOP DRAWING: Depending on the specified product use, the shop drawing is a detailed fabrication and installation drawing showing dimensions and methods of anchorage usually prepared by the stone manufacturer.

SHOT SAWN: Description of a finish obtained by using steel shot in the gang sawing process to produce random markings for a rough surface texture.

SHOT SAWN FINISH: A rough gang saw finish produced by sawing with chilled steel shot.

SHOVED JOINTS: Vertical joints filled by shoving a unit against the next unit when it is being laid in a bed of mortar.

SHRINKAGE: Contraction on size of a material through cooling or drying.

SILANE: Generally refers to alkyltrialkoxysilanes.A monomeric organosilicon compound with one unhydrolyzable bond, which forms a chemical bond with siliceous minerals providing water repellent protection to masonry substrates. Silicanes are usually dissolved in organic solvents, but some are dispersed in water.They are properly classified as penetrates.

SILICATE, ALKALI: It is diluted with water and is, consequently noncombustible. Silicate is a highly alkaline solution and is used mostly as an admixture in mortars and cements to harden and densify surfaces.A reactive material which comes from CI stock. (Also see magnesium fluosilicate and sodium silicate.)

SILICATE, ETHYL: Silicane ethers or orthosiliate esters of general structure (RO)4Si, where R is an organic group in which all bonds are hydrolyzable.An example is tetraethoxysilane or tetraethylorthosilicate which is used in consolidative restoratives for stone, as a base for high temperature zinc-rich paints and as an additive to organsilicane and siloxide water repellents.

SILICATE, SODIUM: Strongly alkaline compound commonly referred to as water glass, used in soaps, detergents, adhesives, waterproofing mortars and cements.

SILICEOUS: Silica-bearing rock.

SILICONATE: Organic modified alkali silicates. Siliconates are generally applied in aqueous solution to harden and/or protect masonry substrates.Although sometimes associated with crust formation treatments, they are best classified as penetrants.

SILICONE: Any of the organopolysiloxanes applied to masonry materials for water repellency. Silicone water repellents are generally highly polymerized resins applied in any of several organic solvents.Application is accompanied by chemical bonding to the substrate if silicate minerals are present.The size and shape of the polymer of which the resin is composed determines whether the silicone treatment is classified as a film former or a penetrant.

SILL: A flat stone used under windows, doors, and other masonry openings. Or, a horizontal unit used at the base of an exterior opening in a structure.

SILL COURSE: A course set at window sill level, and commonly differentiated from the wall by projecting, by finish, or by being sill thickness, to continue the visual effect of the sill.

SILOXANE: Generally refers to alkylalkoxysiloxanes that are oligimerous (i.e. siloxane or low molecular weight with the polymer consisting of two, three, or four monomers).As with other silicones, application is accompanied by chemical bonding to the substrate if silicate minerals are present. Oligomerous siloxanes are properly classified as penetrants.

SILTSTONE: A fine-grained non-carbonate clastic rock compose of detrital grains of quartz and silicate minerals of silt size. Siltstones are rarely marketed as such but commonly are considered as fine-grained quartz-based stones (sandstones). Siltstone is texturally transitional between quartz-based stones and shales (mudstones). Many bluestones and siliceous flagstones fall within this category.The term is included in these definitions chiefly to explain the relationship of some siliceous flagstones to the quartz-based stone category.

SIMULATED MARBLE: See artificial marble.

SIMULATED STONE: An artificial man-made product.

SIX-CUT FINISH: Medium bush-hammered finish, similar to but coarser than 8-cut, with markings not more than 1/8" apart.

SIZE: A measurement in extent.

SKEW: A bevel-faced stone, particularly at the eaves end of a gable; a kneeler.

SKEW BACK: The inclined surface on which the arch joins the supporting wall.

SKID: Logs or timbers used as support and track in sliding quarry blocks and heavy cubic pieces of stone; a platform upon which dimension stone tile are temporarily stored.

SLAB: Lengthwise cut of a large quarry block of stone. Or, a piece of stone cut form the quarry block prior to fabrication.

SLATE: A fine-grained metamorphic rock derived from clay and shales, which possesses a cleavage that permits it to be split readily into thin, smooth sheets.

SLENDERNESS RATIO: Ratio of the effective height of a member to its effective thickness or radius of gyration.

SLIP JOINT: A connection which permits vertical or horizontal movement of the cladding with respect to the structural frame.

SLIP MATCHING: Veneer panels all finished on the same face and placed side by side forming a repetition of the same pattern in each panel.

SLIP SILL: A stone sill set between the jambs.

SLUSHED JOINTS: Vertical joints filled, after units are laid, by throwing mortar in with a trowel.

SMOOTH FINISH: Description of the finish produced by planer machines plus the removal of objectionable tool marks.Also known as "smooth planer finish" and " smooth machine finish".

SNAPPED EDGE-QUARRY CUT OR BROKEN EDGE: This generally refers to a natural breaking of a stone either by hand or machine.The break should be at right angles to the top and bottom surface.

SNIP: The stone area where a chip has been dislodged.

SNIPPING: Breakage of very small pieces off the top or bottom edge, or a corner, of a dimension stone unit.

SOAP: A masonry unit of normal face dimensions, having a nominal two-inch thickness.

SOAPSTONE: A massive variety of talc with a soapy or greasy feel, used for hearths, washtubs, tabletops, curved ornaments, chemical laboratories, etc… Known for its stain proof qualities.

SOCLE: Stone piece directly above a plinth on which a sculpture, statuary, bust or the like rests.

SOFFIT: The exposed lower surface of any overhead component of a building such as a lintel, vault, or cornice, or an arch or entablature.

SOFT-BURNED: Clay products that have been fired at a low temperature range, producing units of relatively high absorption and low compressive strengths.

SOLDIER: A masonry unit laid on end with its stretcher face showing on the wall surface.

SOLID MASONRY UNIT: A masonry unit whose net cross-sectional area in every plane parallel to the bearing surface is 75 percent or more of its cross-sectional area measured in the same plane.

SOLIDS: Nonvolatile matter in a coating composition (i.e. the ingredients of a coating composition which, after drying, are left behind and constitute the dry film). Solids are usually measured as weight percent of the total.

SOLVENT: Liquid which is used in the manufacture of paint or clear repellents to dissolve or disperse film-forming constituents, and which evaporates during drying and does not become a part of the dried film. Solvents are used to control the consistency and character of the finish and to regulate application properties.

SOUNDNESS: A property of stone used to describe relative freedom from cracks, faults, and similar imperfections in the untreated stone. One of the characteristics encountered in fabrication. Marble and limestone marble have been classified into four groups:A, B, C, and D, to distinguish method and amount of repair.

SPALL: As a verb, it is to flake or split away through action of the elements or pressure.As a noun, it is a chip or flake so formed.

SPALTED FINISH: An edge cut from one side of the stone, leaving an undercut look.

SPANDREL: A flat vertical face in an arcade bounded by the adjacent curves of two arches and the horizontal tangent of their crowns. Or, the vertical face on buildings supported by a skeleton structure between the sill of one window and the top (or lintel) of the window next below.

SPANDREL WALL: That part of a stone wall above the top of a window in one story and below the sill of the window in the story above.

SPECIFICATION: The description, which is part of project documents or attached to a contract, of the materials and workmanship required in a structure, and which may have related drawings.

SPLAY: A beveled or slanted surface, inclined to another surface.

SPLINE: A thin strip of material, such as wood or metal, inserted into the edges of two stone pieces or stone tiles to make a butt joint between them.

SPLIT FACE MACHINE: Device that splits slabs of stone into usable thicknesses for job-fabricated stone patterns. Generally hydraulic, but may operate on impact. Blades are used to split bullets from slabs for most limestones and sandstones, but toothed bars may be used for harder stone, such as granite.

SPLIT FACE SAWED BED: Usually split face is sawed on the beds and is split either by hand or by machine so that the surface face of the stone exhibits the natural quarry texture.

SPLITSTONE: Finish obtained by diamond sawing to accurate heights, then breaking by machine to required bed widths.

SPOT OR SPOTTING: An adhesive contact applied to the back of a dimensional stone veneer unit to bridge the space between the unit and the back-up wall thus helping to maintain the unit in a fixed position. Plaster of paris is used on interior vertical stone units and Portland cement mortar on the exterior.

SPRINGER: The stone lying first above the base of an arch.

SPUR STONE: Installed at the corner of a building to prevent traffic damage.

SQUARE: A plane figure having four equal sides and four interior right angles; also, edges or units that are at right angles to each other.

STACKED BOND: Veneer stone that is cut to one-dimensional size and installed with unbroken vertical and horizontal joints running the entire length and height of the veneered area.

STAGING: Temporary platform working space in and around a building under construction or repair.

STAINING: A phenomenon of discoloration on newly installed limestone. Buff limestone will exhibit a dark gray stain.This staining is similar to efflorescence but it is the organic matter in the stone which is leaching out through the release of excess water of crystallization of the setting mortar.

STAIRCASE: A series of steps or flight of stairs, possibly with landings, and with handrail, newels, etc. Also known as ‘stair’ or ‘stairway’.

START: A small fissure.

STATUE: A sculpture of a human or animal figure.

STEARATE: Salt or ester of stearic acid that functions as a water repellent by forming a "soap" within the masonry pores. Stearates are generally classified as film-formers, but can be considered penetrants in modified forms.

STEATITE: Soapstone in slab form, as for hearths, fireplace facings, etc…

STEP: One unit of tread and riser.

STICKING: A trade term describing the butt edge repair of a broken piece of stone, now generally done with dowels, cements, or epoxies.The pieces are "stuck" together, thus the term "sticking".

STICK-ON-STONE: Stone that is light and thin enough to adhere to wall surface using chemical adhesives or mastics.The backs of these stones are usually flattened and leveled.Thin building stones are sometimes also called "stick-ons".

STILE: A vertical framing member of a paneled door or of stone partitions.

STONE: Sometimes synonymous with rock, but more properly applied to individual blocks, masses, or fragments taken from their original formation or considered for commercial use.

STONEMASON: A building craftsman skilled in constructing stone masonry.The work of masons includes such preparation of stone as is done on the job.

STONEWORK: Masonry construction in stone; preparation or setting of stone for building or paving.

STOOL: A flat stone, generally polished, used as an interior window sill.

STOP CHAMFER: A chamfer which curves or angles to become narrower until it meets the aris.

STRATIFICATION: A structure produced by deposition of sediments in beds or layers (strata), lamina, lenses, wedges, and other essentially tablular units.

STRESS: Force exerted.

STRETCHER: A unit of stone placed lengthwise in a course.

STRIKE: Cut off with a trowel the excess mortar at the face of a joint.Also known as "struck joint."

STRING: Defines treatment at edge of stairs, inside and outside.

STRINGER: The outer support of stair ends, or the stone covering the ends.

STRIP RUBBLE: Generally speaking, strip rubble comes from a ledge quarry.The beds of the stone while uniformly straight, are of natural cleft as the stone is removed form the ledge, and then split by machine to approximately 4" widths.

STRIPS: Long pieces of stone usually low height ashlar courses where length to height ratio is at maximum for the material used.

STRIPPED JOINT: A joint without mortar; an open joint.

STRUCK JOINT: A joint from which excess mortar has been removed by a stroke of the trowel.

STUD: An intermediate vertical member of a frame.

STYOLITE: In limestone and marble, generally a bedding plane, along with differential solution of the material on each side has caused interpenetration of points, cones, or columns, forming a contact surface that is rough when separated. In cross section, the stylolitic surface has the appearance of a jagged, zigzag line of varying amplitude.The boundary may have a thin zone of insoluble materials, as clay or iron oxide. Some stylolites constitute a surface of weakness or parting in the stone, but most are tightly annealed. Sawing stone perpendicular to or at a high angle to stylolites produces much of the "veined" stone of the marble and limestone industries, and sawing at a very low angle to stylolites causes some of the "flueri" patterns. Stylolites may develop in sandstone or quartzite, butarerare.

SUBCONTRACTOR: One who contracts to carry through a definite part of the general contractor’s obligation in building.

SUBFLOOR: A flooring upon which a finish floor is to be laid.

SUBFLUORESCENCE: Accumulation of soluble salts under or just beneath the masonry surface, formed as moisture evaporates. Subfluorescence can damage the substrate during wet/dry and freeze/thaw cycling.

SUPPLIER: One who is engaged in supplying auxiliary materials, products, equipment and service to the industry.

SUPPORT: An angle, plate, or stone that carries a gravity load.

SURROUND: An enframement.

SYENITE: Granite-like rock containing little or no quartz.

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