Stone is an ancient form of masonry.   Stone's indefinite durability and low maintenance requirements make it as financially appealing as it is visually attractive.   There are two principal designs: ashlar and rubblestone.   Ashlar, or cut stone, is commonly used in the construction of commercial buildings because it creates a formal effect.   Rubblestone has a more rustic appearance since the stone is either not cut at all or receives only a rough cut.   Ashlar is more expensive than rubblestone because it is cut to make the stone shapes more even.   However, ashlar can be more beneficial since the even stone shapes are easier to work with.   Example stone structures include walls, piers, tree wells, barbeque pits, and fireplaces.

There are two main methods for building stone structures: dry structure method and mortared (wet) structure method.   Either of the stone types, ashlar or rubblestone, can be laid in courses or at random using either the dry structure method or the mortared structure method.   The dry structure method does not involve mortar in its construction and therefore can be somewhat challenging.   More importantly, it can be an extremely attractive form of wall or pier.   This method relies heavily upon the weight and friction of one stone on another stone for its stability.   

The other method, mortared structure, is applied for more permanent purposes, such as fireplaces, mortared retaining walls, and home facades.   In this approach, cement mortar is used between stones to secure them together and achieve a monolithic wall.   A mortared wall or pier is like that of a dry wall or pier respectively except for the fact that the stability of the wall is dependant upon the mortar that bonds the wall together and not dependant upon the friction of stone upon stone.  

Water is stone masonry's worst enemy because freeze-thaw cycles can cause cracks. Properly sealed stone masonry prevents problems.



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