Share You are here : Home > Resource Centre > Stone & Worktop Glossary > Stone Terms S

Get Quote Now!

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.

Happy reading!


Click The Letters To Get To The Word You Are Looking For

Stone And Worktop Terms Beginning With The Letter S


A flat narrow piece of stone projecting above the floor between the jambs of a door, such as a threshold.


A stonework component laid on end to show its broadest face.

Salt Glaze

A shiny finish maded by a thermo-chemical reaction involving silicates of clay and vapours of salt or chemicals.


A piece of dimensional stone, usually 100mm x 100mm showing a universal variety of colour of a given.

Sand Finish

A mat textured surface finish with no gloss; finished by application of a steady flow of sand and water under stress; suitable for outside use.

Sand Holes

Naturally going on holes observable 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 parallel steel plate. This actual procedure is now little used, and the finish so known is normally applied with a rotary or belt sander.

Sand Sawn Finish

The surface left as the stone comes from the gang saw. Reasonably smooth, granular surface altering with the texture and rank of stone. 

Sandblasted - Coarse Stippled

Coarse plane surface made by blasting with an abrasive; coarseness differ with type of preparatory finish and grain structure of the stone.

Sandblasted - Thin Stippled

Plane surface, a little pebbled, with irregular slight scratches.


A cleaning, engraving, or surface finish procedure obtained by spraying sand on the surface with compressed air.


Sandstones are sedimentary rocks typically composed of quartz cemented with silica, iron oxide or calcium carbonate. Sandstones array from soft and friable to hard and robust, depending on the depth at which is buried and the nature of the cement. Usually, the most hardwearing sandstones are cemented with silica. Sandstone has a wide range of colours or textures. Look at sandstones.

Saturation Coeffecient

Look at C/B ratio. 

Sawn Edge

A clean cut edge usually made by cutting with a diamond blade , gang saw or wire saw.

Sawed Face

A finish made from the process used in producing construction stone. Varies in texture from smooth to coarse and coincident with the type of materials used in sawing characterized as diamond sawn; sand sawn; chat sawn; and shot sawn. 


An operative of a bridge saw, gang saw or wire saw. 


Coarse dressed stone, with prominent tool marks. 


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


Tiny chips of stone.


Temporary lifted construction for the support of plank footing and platforms as aids to workmen.


Plasterwork used in imitation of ornamental marble, consisting of ground gypsum and glue coloured with marble or granite dust; a little piece of marble. 


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


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


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


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


To scarify the surface of stone to craft a better bond; to highlight on a stone piece for the purpose of a cutting layout.


Random masses of lava resembling clinker or slag; may be cellular (vesicular) dark-coloured and weighty.


A concave moulding. 

Scrath Coat

The first coarse coat of Portland cement mortar, which is scored or roughed before completely set, giving better adhesion of subsequent coats.


A narrow piece of wood, metal, or other material applied to a surface. Screeds are used as guides on a straight edge is used to make a true mortar surface.


To highlight the edge of one stone part to be cut to fit closely alongside another. 


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


The art work of a sculptor in three 3d form by cutting from a solid chunk of natural stone.


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


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


The natural bed face of a quarried stone. 


A pavement made up of installed hexagonal stones.


Stone formed by precipitation from solution, as rock salt and gypsum, from secretion of organisms, as most limestone’s, or from the deposition of sand (sandstone) or clay (shale, claystone). 

Sedimentary Rock

One of three classes of rock (igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic) which make up the earth’s outer crust. Sedimentary rocks (sandstones, limestone’s, shale’s) formed from the disintegration of older rocks, soils, plants, and animals. More on sedimentary rocks.


Assortment of gypsum in transparent, foliated, crystalline form. 


A finish achieved by rubbing hand or machine the coarse or high spots off the surface to be used leaving a certain amount of the natural surface along with the smoothed zones. 


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


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


 An knowledgeable person who fits dimensional stone parts.


The trade of fitting dimensional stone parts. 

Setting Mortar Bed

The towelling of mortar to set construction 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 part to the face of the back-up material. 


Clay that has been subjected to high stress until it has hardened rock-like, 


A type of pressure; a body is in shear when it is subjected to a pair of equal forced which are opposite in way and which act along parallel planes. 

Shelf Angle

A steel angle typically connected to a spandrel beam which supports brick veneer, naturally at every floor level.


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


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

Shop Drawing

Depending on the specified produce used, the shop plan is a detailed fabrication and fitting plan showing dimensions and methods of anchorage typically prepared by the stone producer. 

Shot Sawn

Description of a finish made by using steel shot in the gang sawing process to produce random markings for a coarse surface texture.

Shot Sawn Finish

A coarse gang saw finish produced by sawing with chilled steel shot.

Shoved Joints

Perpendicular joints filled by shoving a part against the next unit when it is being laid in a bed of mortar.


Contraction on size of a material through cooling or drying.


Usually 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 typically 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 non-combustible. Silicate is a very alkaline solution and is used mostly as an admixture in mortars and cements to harden and density surfaces. A reactive material, which comes from CI stock. (Also see magnesium fluosilicate and sodium silicate.)

Silicate, Ethyl

Silicane ethers or orthosiliate esters of common 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 usually referred to as water glass, used in soaps, detergents, adhesives, waterproofing mortars and cements.


Silica-bearing rock.


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


Any of the organopolysiloxanes applied to stonework materials for water repellence. Silicone water repellents are usually 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.


A flat stone used under windows, doors, and other stonework openings. Or, a parallel unit used at the bottom of an outside aperture in a construction.

Sill Course

A course set at window sill level, and usually differentiated from the wall by projecting, by finish, or by being sill depth, to continue the optical effect of the sill.


Usually 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. 


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 usually 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

Look at artificial marble.

Simulated Stone

An synthetic man-made manufactured goods.

Six-Cut Finish

Medium bush-hammered finish, similar to but coarser than 8-cut, with markings not more than 1/8″ apart.


A measurement in extent. 


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

Skew Back

The inclined surface on which the arch joins the supporting wall.


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. 


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


A thin-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 straight up or level movement of the cladding with respect to the structural frame. 

Slip Matching

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

Slip Sill

A stone sill set between the jambs. 

Slushed Joints

 Perpendicular joints filled, after units are laid, by throwing mortar in with a trowel.

Smooth Finish

Description of the finish fashioned 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 usually refers to a natural breaking of a stone either by hand or machine. The break should be right angles to the top and base surface.


 The stone zone where a chip has been dislodged.


 Breakage of very little parts off the top or base edge, or a corner, of a dimension stone part.


A stonework unit of normal face dimensions, having a nominal two-inch depth. 


 A very big range of talc with a soapy or greasy feel, used for hearths, washtubs, tabletops, curved ornaments, chemical laboratories, etc… Known for its stain proof qualities.


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


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


Clay produce that have been fired at a low temperature ranges, making parts of relatively high absorption’s and low compressive strengths. 


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

Solid Masonry Unit

A masonry whose net cross-sectional zone in every plan parallel to the bearing surface is 75 percent or more of its cross-sectional zone measured in the same plane. 


 Non-volatile 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 typically measured as heaviness percent of the total.


Liquid which is used in the produce 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. 


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.


As a verb, it is to flake or split away through action of the elements or stress. 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.


A flat perpendicular 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.


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


A bevelled or slanted surface, inclined to another surface. 


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. Frequently hydraulic, but may operate on impact. Blades are used to split bullets from slabs for most limestone’s and sandstones, but toothed bars may be used for harder stone, such as granite.

Split Face Sawed Bed

Typically 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. 


Finish obtained by diamond sawing to accurate heights, then breaking by machine to necessary 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 perpendicular stone units and Portland cement mortar on the outside. 


The stone lying first above the base of an arch. 

Spur Stone

Fitted at the corner of a structure to prevent traffic damage.


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 fitted with unbroken perpendicular and parallel joints running the entire length and height of the veneered area. 


Temporary platform working gap in and around a structure under construction or repair. 


A phenomenon of discoloration on newly fitted 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. 


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


A little fissure. 


A sculpture of a human or animal figure. 


Salt or ester of satiric acid that functions as a water repellent by forming a “soap” within the stonework pores. Stearates are usually classified as film-formers, but can be considered penetrates in modified forms.


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


One part of tread and riser.


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


Stone that is light and thin enough to adhere to wall surface using chemical adhesives or mastics. The backs of these stones are typically flattened and levelled. Thin building stones are sometimes also called “stick-ons”. 


A perpendicular framing member of a panelled door or of stone partitions. 


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


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


Stonework construction in stone; preparation or setting of stone for construction or paving.


A flat stone, usually polished, used as an interior window sill. 

Stop Chamfer

A chamfer which curves or angles to become narrower until it meets the arise. 


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


Force exerted. 


A unit of stone placed along in a course. 


Cut off with a trowel the excess mortar at the face of a joint. Also known as “struck joint.” 


The external support of stair ends, or the stone covering the ends. 


Defines treatment at edge of stairs, indoors and exterior. 

Strip Rubble

Usually 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.

Stripped Joint

A joint with no mortar; an open joint.


Lengthy pieces of stone typically low height ashlars courses where length to height ratio is at maximum for the material used. 

Struck Joint

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


An intermediate upright part of a frame. 


In limestone and marble, usually 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 coarse when separated. In cross section, the stylolitic surface has the appearance of a jagged, zigzag line of altering amplitude. The boundary may have a fine area of insoluble materials, as clay or iron oxide. Some stylolites constitute a surface of weakness or parting in the stone, but most are firmly annealed. Sawing stone perpendicular to or at a high angle to stylolites produce much if the “veined” stone of the marble and limestone industries, and sawing at a low angle to stylolites causes some of the “flueri” patterns. Stylolites may develop in sandstone or quartzite, butarerare.


One who contracts to carry through a definite piece of the universal contractor’s obligation in structure. 


 A flooring leading which a finish floor is to be laid.


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


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


An angle, plate, or stone which carries a gravity load. 


An enfacement. 


Granite-like rock containing small or no quartz. 

Tell a Friend

Site Map | Login | Privacy Statement | Copyright 2018 Stone Hub Ltd t/a The Worktop Factory