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The Stone & Worktop Glossary


Decisions are more informed with knowledge!

The jargon used in defining stone terms can often become quite convoluted. The purpose of this section is to try to offer a clear explanation, in layman’s English, of the most common definitions relating to stone, worktops as a whole and their fabrication.

If you are looking for an explanation of a term not contained here please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to try to assist you.

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Stone And Worktop Terms Beginning With The Letter C


Limestone composed predominantly of clastic sand-size grains of calcite, or rarely aragonic, generally as fragments of shells or fossils. Some calcarenites include oolites and may be termed oolitic limestone. Calareous quart-based stone in which the calcium carbonate is present chiefly as binding material are not incorporated in this category.


Calcium-bearing rock.


The natural mineral form of calcium carbonate.

Calcite Limestone

A limestone containing not more than 5% of magnesium carbonate. 

Calcite Marble

A crystalline variety of limestone containing not more than 5% of magnesium carbonate.

Calcite Streaks

Descriptions of a white or milky-like streak occurring in stone. It is a joint plane typically wider than a glass seam and has been re-cemented by deposition of calcite in the crack and is structurally sound.

Calcium Oxide

Calcined limestone.


A slight rising from the level, to gain an real or apparent effect of arching.


A sheltering roof over a alcove or a doorway.


A volcanic quartz-based stone with qualities similar to Adoquin, but not as thick; quarried in Mexico.


A structural part, supported at only one end, that projects from a wall.


Caps are masonry part laid on top of a finished wall, column, door, or moulding.

Capacity Insulation

The capability of masonry to store heat as a result of its mass, concentration and specific heat.

Capillary  Action

The progress of a liquid in the interstices of a porous material, as a result of surface tension; the phenomenon responsible for dry materials sucking moisture above the standard water level. 


Column cap, the top part or group of parts of a column, pier, shaft, or pilaster.


See coping.


The crowning stone of a construction; inconsistent from capital in that it is not a supporting part.


A salt of carbonic acid.

Carbonic Acid

A weak acid.


Shaping by cutting a design to form; a sculptor.


In the stone industry, the trades person who does carved work.


Cutting of decorative shapes, figures, etc… from details or models, which are too intricate to make from patterns.

Cast Stone

A precast concrete structure stone manufactured to simulate dimension stone.


A substance which accelerates a chemical reaction (i.e. a hardener that accelerates the cure of artificial resin adhesive).


A non-staining, non-hardening putty-like mastic, typically applied to stone joints with a handheld pressure gun.


The application of a sealant in a joint or gap to prevent the route of water, air, dust, and noise. Or, making a joint tight or leak resistant by sealing with an elastic adhesive composite.

Cavity Vent

An hole in joints of veneer to let the passage of air and moisture from the wall cavity to the outside.

Cavity Wall

An outside wall, generally of masonry, consisting of an outer and inner wythe separated by a constant airspace.


Cells are distinguished from core holes by being bigger in size.


A hydraulic mixture, without aggregate, consisting of a calcite combination of clay and pulverized limestone.

Cement Putty/Cream/Butter

A fat, creamy mixture made with pore cement and water which is used to add strength to the bond between the stone and the setting bed.


Made from, or composed of, Portland cement.


Temporary formwork for the support of masonry arches or lintels throughout building. Also called center (s).


To bevel the meeting of an exterior angle. Or, to cut away the edge where two surfaces join in an external angle, leaving a bevel at the junction.


A part of a church inside retained for the clergy and containing an alter. 


A nonstop recess in a wall to take pipes, ducts, conduit, etc….

Chat Sawed

Description of a textured stone finish, obtained by means of chat sand in the sawing process.

Chat Sawn Finish

A coarse gang saw finish made by sawing with course chat.

Chat-Sawn Finish

A rough gangsaw finish produced by sawing with coarse chat. 


A rebate, usually bigger than a fillet.

Checker Work

Stonework of square-face stones not breaking joints.


A shaft, roughly perpendicular, which helps to create a draft for the carry out of smoke from the fire to the outside.

Chimney Breast

The outside face of the wall directly above the fireplace aperture. 

Chimney Lining

Fire clay, terra cotta, or stainless steel inside a chimney. 

Chimney Throat

The member of a chimney directly above the fire where the walls are brought close together.


A tiny, unevenly shaped stone piece dislodged, typically from the edge, from a stone piece.

Circular Face

A stone face worked to convex round (not spherical) shape.

Circular Saw

Machine with power-driven revolving steel disc, dusted with diamond or other coarse elements.

Circular Saw Face

A stone face worked to convex round shape.

Circular Sunk Face

A stone face worked to a concave circular (not spherical) shape.


An outside veneer stone covering that is non-load bearing.

Class Of Unit

A grade of masonry units according to their unlike grades or types in ASTM specifications, the different raw materials they are made from, or other features.


Stone parts that are derived from pre-existing rocks or minerals.

Claw Tool

Toothed chisel used in roughing out procedure.


A natural mineral aggregate consisting fundamentally of hydrous aluminium silicate. It is plastic when adequately wetted, stiff when dried, and vitrified when fired to a sufficiently high temperature.

Clay Mortar

A soft, low lime mortar generally used when lime was costly and difficult to make. Its primary usage was in remote areas for small-scale structures.

Clean Back

The observable end of a stone laid as a bond stone.


The taking away of marks, dust, and other irrelevant materials from the surface of the stone.

Cleanout Holes

Gaps at the base of a grout space for cleaning mortar droppings and other debris prior to grout position.

Clear Coating

A unseen to glossy film or penetrate put on to substrates to protect, repel or resist liquid and hydration of minerals.


Space allowed to facilitate assembly of units and provide for thermal and other estimated movements in structure.


The ability of a rock mass to break along natural surfaces; a surface of natural parting. 

Cleavage Plane

Plane or planes along which a stone may likely break or delaminate.  

Clipped Header

A bat placed to look like a header for purposes of establishing a pattern; also called a false header.


The last masonry part or portion of a unit laid in a course.


Supplementary or short length parts used at corners or jambs to maintain bond patterns.


A decorative or protective covering put on to the surface or impregnated into natural stone for such purposes as waterproofing, enhancing resistance to weathering, wear, and chemical action, or changing the appearance of the stone.


A natural rounded stone, large enough for use in paving; commonly used to describe paving blocks, usually granite, generally cut to rectangular shapes. 


Legal restrictions of a given locality governing the structure of various types of building. 

Collar Joint

The perpendicular longitudinal joint between wythes of stonework filled with mortar or grout.


An isolated perpendicular part whose level dimension measured at right angles to the depth does not exceed three times its depth and whose height is at least three times its depth.

Commercial Marble

A crystalline rock composed predominantly of one or more of the following materials: calcite dolomite or serpentine, and capable of taking a polish. 


A building part in which stone that is to be exposed in the final use is permanently bonded or joined to concealed material.

Composite Action

Transfer of pressure between components of a part designed so that in resisting loads, the combined components act together as a single part.

Composite Masonry

Zulti-component masonry parts acting with composite action.


 A composition material consisting of Portland Cement, aggregate, and water. When mixed simultaneously, will result in a chemical action that will set and harden into rock-like mass.

Concrete Masonry Unit

 A stonework unit made of Portland Cement, water, and mineral aggregates, formed into a rectangular prism.


Wetness of interior surfaces caused by the release of water as it cools below the dew point; the formation of frost or water when air carrying water vapour comes in contact with a cold surface, cooling the air and reducing its ability to hold moisture.


A sandstone composed of rock parts that are rounded or angular gravel other than sand; an aggregate of rounded and water-worn boulders and pebbles cemented together into a coherent stone.


Treatment of the stone surface with a liquid solution which is usually spray or brush applied; various stone consolidation processes can expand the life of stone and slow down the decay process, but they cannot permanently arrest deterioration. Consolidation techniques employ both organic and inorganic chemicals. Inorganic processes have long-life and exhibit similar expansion-contraction behaviour as treated material. Most inorganic processes cannot reaffix loose pieces of stone or fill holes in big cracks; adhesives may be necessary for the purposes. Organic processes are based on the use of synthetic resins. Their life span is usually less than that of inorganic material, but they can be especially effective with porous stone as well as comprehensive strengths. Epoxy resins, for example, are good adhesives and weatherizes, but current available epoxies are sensitive to ultraviolet rays which tend to discolour in time and do not weather well. Mixtures and combinations of both organic and inorganic treatments like as ethyl silicate are frequently being developed to take advantage of the benefits of both treatments.


An enclosed body that is frequently used to hold and carry imported dimension stone into the UK.

Contour Scaling

A crust forming across the surface of sandstones and limestone’s which follows the curve of the surface rather than the bedding planes of the stones; the result of direct pollution; the holes of the stone are blocked by formations of recrystallized calcium sulphates.

Contraction Joints

Gaps or space where panels are joined and which can expand as the panels contract.


One who fits fabricated natural stone.

Control Joint

Provided so that the movement of different parts of the structure due to shrinkage, expansion, temperature changes or other causes do not transfer loads across the joint. 

Control Joint

Provision for the dimensional alteration of different parts of a structure due to reduction, expansion, temperature variation or other causes, so as to avoid the progress of high stresses.

Cope Stone

The straight top stone of a wall or alike stone structure , typically level.


A flat stone used as a cap on freestanding walls. 


A top or covering course on top of stonework wall. Designed to dissipate water, protect the top and provide a finished, closed appearance to the wall. Commonly extended away from the wall face and incorporating a drip. SECSingle edge coping; DECDouble edge coping.


 Limestone composed predominately of shells or small parts of shells loosely cemented by calcite. Coquina is course-textured and has a high porosity. The term is applied principally to a permeable rock quarried in Florida.

Coral Limestone

A limestone consisting of the calcareous skeletons of corals, often include small parts of other organisms and typically cemented by calcium carbonate.


Projecting successive courses of stonework out from the face of the wall to add to the wall depth or to form a shelf or ledge. 

Corbel Plates

Concealed plates of nonferrous metal fixed into a construction to support stone cladding at period and over gaps.

Corbel Plates

Plates of non-ferrous metal fixed into a structure to support stone cladding at intervals and over openings in such a way as not to be visible. 


Nonstop openings or perforations within extruded clay merchandise.


A stone forming a part of a corner or angle in a wall. Also a stone fitted at the formal inauguration of the elevation of a building.


A stone forming a part of a corner or angle in a wall. Also a stone laid at the formal inauguration of the erection of a building, not necessarily at a corner, usually incorporating a date or inscription.  


A moulded sitting forward stone at the peak of an entablature or facade. 

Corrosion Resistant

Steel matter which have been treated or coated to hold back harmful oxidation or other corrosive action.


An added depth below a surface, as to accept the head of a screw, or bolt. 


A continuous straight band of stone of regular height. 

Coursed Veneer

This is achieved by using stones of the same or roughly the same heights. Parallel joints runs on the whole length of the veneered zone. Perpendicular joints are constantly broken so that no two joints will be over one another.


French for the stone at the apex of a pier supporting the lowest stone of an arch. 

Cove Base

A concave stone moulding. 

Cove Joint

A curved in joint shaped with a tool.


A split, break, fracture, fissure, separation, cleavage, or stretched out narrow opening, however caused, visible without magnification to the human eye and extending from the surface into the stone, through the grain, matrix, or vein.


A ‘U’ shaped metal anchor for holding two neighbouring units of stone together.


A pointed mallet for dressing the face of stone.


A wooden case in which stone is put in before shipment.


Depression in a coating film typically caused by air or solvent trapped in the coating, forming bubbles which break after the film has set sufficiently to prevent leveling. 

Crazing, Craze, Crack

Fine, indiscriminate cracks or fissures in a network on or under a surface of plaster, cement, mortar, concrete, ceramic coating or paint film; made by shrinkage.


The permanent and continuing dimensional deformation of material under a sustained load, following the initial spontaneous plastic deformation. In structures mainly concrete, the permanent deflection of structural framing or structural decking resulting from plastic flow under continued pressure. In roofing, the permanent elongation or shrinkage of roofing membrane, resulting from thermal or moisture changes. 

Cross Bedding

The arrangement of laminations of strata transverse or oblique to the main planes of stratification. 


(Croissette, Crosset) A side part at the upper side of an arch stone, entering a corresponding space on the adjoining stone.

Crowfoot (Styolite)

Description of a dark gray to black zigzag marking occurring in stone. Usually structurally sound. 

Crowfoor Vein

(Stylolite) Description of a dark gray to black zigzag marking taking place in stone; typically structurally sound.

Crystalline Limestone

Limestone, either calcite or dolomite, composed of interlocking crystalline grains of the constituent minerals and of phaneritic texture. Normally used synonymous with marble, and thus representing a recrystallized limestone. Improperly applied to limestone’s that display some clearly crystalline grains in a fine-grained mass but which are not of interlocking texture and do not compose the entire mass. Crystalline limestones are microscopically, or in part megascopically, crystalline; the term is thus confusing but should be limited to stones that are completely crystalline and of megascopic and interlocking texture and that may be classed as marbles.)

Cubic Limestone

Dimension units more than two inches deep.

Cubic Marble

Fabricated dimensional marble units more than two inches in depth.


Material discarded as below the desired or stated category of stone.

Cultured Marble

An artificial, man made creation, created by mixing minimal amounts of marble powder into a resin.


Slabs and blocks of stone bordering roads, pavements, etc, producing the change in level between sidewalk and street.


Formation of a final, more stable, method state following a chemical or physical reaction induced by heat, radiation, etc… or through evaporation of a solvent. 


The drying and hardening procedure of mortar after fitting. Some materials need damp curing.


A course of stones bearing mouldings, to create a string course. 

Curtain Wall

A heavyweight outside wall supporting only its own weight, the roof and floors being carried by an independent structural framework. Sometimes used in reference to early 19th century brick buildings but more commonly to mid 20th century metal panel and glass exteriors.


A hard-wearing pad to take up or counteract severe pressures between neighbouring stone units and or other materials. 

Cut Stone

Finished, fabricated stone, ready to set in place. 


Hand or machine work needed to finish a stone.

Cutting Stock

A term used to describe altering size, finish, and depth which are used in fabricating treads, risers, copings, borders, sills, stools, hearths, mantels and other special function stones.

Cutting Tickets

Detailed list for each piece of measured stone showing exact dimensions as well as depth, face finish, edge treatments, carving, moulding, hole drilling, and any other fabrication particulars. These are generally prepared in the drafting section for use in the fabrication plant or shop. Also called part lists, drawings, and shop tickets.

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