The amount of water absorbed by stone, expressed as percentage by weight


A small mass of rock, having occurred naturally (as in sand or gravel) or by means of manufacture (as in a crushed aggregate product) used either in a loose, no cohesive state, or as an ingredient in mortar or concrete products.


A corrosion resistant mental fastener used for securing dimension stone to a structure of adjacent stone units. Anchor types for stonework include those made of flat stock (straps, dovetails) and round stock (rod cramp, rod anchor, eyebolt and dowel).


A slight although measurable, chamfer where two surfaces meet.


A dark colored igneous rock commercially known as granite when fabricated as dimension stone. The fine-grained and extrusive equivalent of gabbro.


See quarry block


A fine to medium-grain, quartz based stone. The stone is well known for relatively easy cleavage along generally flat planes.

Black Granite

Rock species know to petrologists as diabase, diorite, gabbro and other varieties quarried as dimension stone. As dimension blocks or slabs, they are valued specifically for their dark grey to black color when polished. Scientifically, they are far removed in composition from true granites though they may be satisfactorily used for some of the purposes to which commercial granites are adapted. They possess an interlocking crystalline texture, but unlike granites, they contain little or no quartz or alkalic feldspar, and are characterized by and abundance of one or more of the common black rock-forming minerals (chiefly pyroxenes, hornblende, and biotite).


  • Pattern of joints in successive courses.
  • To stick or adhere

Bridge Crane

A hosting system that consists of a hoist, normally using cables, which moves on a beam or "bridge" spanning an opening between two rails. The hoist moves laterally along the bridge and the bridge moves longitudinally along the rails, allowing the hoist to be over any position within the rectangle contained within the lengths of the two rails.

Bridge Polisher

A single spindle polishing machine that travels along a beam, or "bridge", which travels atop two rails also known as a "gantry" polisher.


Convex rounding of a stone edge, such as a stair treads of countertop.

Bridge Saw

A saw that travels along a beam, or "bridge", which travels atop two rails. These saws are typically powerful and fitted with large diameter blades. A rotating table is positioned below the saw, allowing for skew cuts, and the saw arbor typically rotates, allowing for angled cuts.


  • To drill or cut material left between closely spaced drill holes.
  • A mason's sharp-pointed chisel for dressing stone.
  • An inclined piece of masonry filling the triangular space between the base of an octagonal spire and the top of a square tower.
  • A type of chisel used for working narrow surfaces.

Bush Hammering

A process which produces textured surfaces with small evenly spaced pits produced by hand or pneumatic hammer. The spacing between the pits is often defined as "6-cut", "4-cut" etc.

Butt Joint

An external corner formed by two stone panels with one finished edge in a lap joint configuration.

Brushed Finish

A subtly textured finish achieved by wet brushing a stone with a coarse rotary-type abrasive brush.


Limestone composed predominantly of cemented sand-size grains of the mineral calcite (more rarely aragonite), usually as fragments of shells or other skeletal structures. Some calcarenites contain oolitcs (Small, spherical grains of calcium carbonate that resemble fish eggs) and may be termed oolitic limestone. Calcareous sandstones, in which the calcium carbonate is present chiefly as bonding material, are not included in this category.


A common rock forming mineral. The chief constituent of limestone and most marble.

Calcite Limestone

Limestone containing not more than five percent of magnesium carbonate.

Calcite Marble

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

Calcite Streaks

White or milky streaks occurring in stone. It is a joint plane usually wider than a glass seam which has been recemented by deposition of calcite in the crack. It is structurally sound.


To seal a joint with an elastomeric, adhesive compound.

Chiseled Edge

The rustic, aged appearance produced by mechanically chipping the stone edge.

CNC Machine

A computer numeric controlled, multi axis, vertical spindle machine designed to use rotating milling and profiling tools to produce shapes, cut outs, holes, finishes, and various other operations in stone that are otherwise accomplished by more labor intensive techniques.


A dimension stone large enough for use in paving. A term commonly used to describe paving blocks, usually granite, and generally cut or cleft to approximately rectangular prisms.

Compressive Strength

A measure of the resistance of the stone to crushing loads.

Construction (Cold) Joint

The joint between two separate placements of concrete.

Control Joint

A partial depth joint that is either formed or sawed in concrete to control the location and frequency of shrinkage cracking.


  • The mineral form of calcium-magnesium carbonate. Constituent of some building limestones.
  • A crystalline variety of limestone containing in excess of 40% magnesium carbonate as the dolomite molecule. Also called "dolostone".

Dolomitic Limestone

Limestone that contains more than 10% but less than 80% of the mineral dolomite.

Edge Profile

The specific contour to which an exposed edge has been shaped, normally for decorative purpose.


A salt deposit, in the form of a white powder residue that forms on the surface of stone, brick, ore mortar. It is caused by alkalis leached from the masonry or soil and carried to the surface by moisture.

Engineered Stone

A manmade product composed of a blend of natural minerals (generally quartz) and manmade agents (such as polyester, glass, epoxy, and other such ingredients).

Epoxy Resin

A flexible, usually exothermic curing resin made by the polymerization of an epoxide; used as an adhesive.


A decorative surface pattern created by a variety of methods, produced either by chemical or mechanical methods.


Peeling or scaling of stone surfaces caused by chemical or physical weathering.

Expansion/Contraction Joint

A flexible joint between stone units designed to expand or contract to accommodate movements due to temperature change or dynamic structural movement.


A group of crystalline minerals, all silicates of aluminum with potassium, sodium, calcium, or barium. An essential constituent of nearly all crystalline rocks.

Flamed Finish

See Thermal Finish

Gang Saw

A mechanical device employing a series of parallel reciprocating saw blades to cut stone blocks into slabs of predetermined thickness. The most common variety of gang saw used in the stone industry uses slurry containing steel shot as the abrasive medium; but diamond segments mounted to steel blades are commonly used in gang sawing softer stone as marble or limestone.

Granite (Commercial Definition)

A term that includes granite (as defined below) plus gneiss, gneissic granite , granite gneiss, and the rock species known to petrologists as syenite, monzonite, and granodiorite, species intermediate between them, the gneissic varieties and gneisses of corresponding mineralogical compositions and the corresponding varieties of porphyritic textures. The term commercial granite shall also include other Feld spathic crystalline rocks of similar texture, containing minor amounts of accessory minerals, used for special decorative purposes, and known to petrologists as anorthosite and larvikite.


To remove portions of stone material by any abrasive method. Grinding may be part of producing a finish, shaping a profile, achieving a specific dimension, creating flatness between adjacently installed pieces, or part of a restorative effort.


  • A mixture of cementitious material and water, with or without aggregate, proportioned to produce a plastic consistency without segregation of the constituents; also a mixture of other composition but of similar consistency.
  • '1.() place and tool grout in the joints of stonework.
  • In quarrying: a term describing the product of the quarry which is unusable for dimension stone, often piled near the extraction site.


A satin-smooth surface finish with little or no gloss


Two or more thicknesses of stone slab adhered together at an exposed edge, usually in decorative work such as countertops, creating an aesthetic effect that suggests that the stone is thicker than it actually is. Laminated edges may he dressed or profiled to a variety of shapes for additional decorative value.


A sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcite or dolomite. The varieties of limestone used as dimension stone are usually well consolidated and exhibit a minimum of graining or bedding direction.

Line (edge) Polisher

A large production machine which utilizes one or more spindles to achieve a finished edge profile on a piece of stone as it is fed through a conveying line.

Marble (commercial definition)

A crystalline rock, capable of taking a polish, and composed of one or more of the minerals calcite, dolomite, and serpentine.

Metamorphic Rock

Rock altered in appearance, density, crystalline structure, and in some cases, mineral composition, by high temperature and intense pressure. Includes slate derived from shale, quartz based stone from quartzitic sand, and true marble from limestone.

Moh's Scale

A relative scale of mineral hardness developed by German Mineralogist Friedrich Mobs in 1822 ranking ten common minerals by their scratch resistance.


A mixture of cement paste and fine aggregate used in setting stone units or filling joints between stone units. Mortar may contain masonry cement, or may contain hydraulic cement with lime (and possibly other admixtures) to afford greater plasticity and workability than arc attainable with standard portland cement mortar.


A decorative installation, usually a graphic or artwork display, made up of an assemblage of small units of different colored stones or glass to create the total image or pattern.

Movement Joint

In tile installations, a joint where only the finish material is separated by an elastomeric filler, and the substrate is uninterrupted. Also known as a "generic movement joint".


A V-shaped cut made on the edge or head of a stone.

Natural Stone

A product of nature. A stone such as granite, marble, limestone, slate, travertine, or sandstone that is formed by nature, and is not artificial or manmade.


A stone molding roughly resembling an "S" shape, with a reverse curved edge:concave above,convex below.


A frequently translucent and generally layered, cryptocrystalline calcite with colors in pastel shades, particularly off white, yellow, tan, and green. Commercial definitions of onyx are given in ASTM C119 as part of the marble group.


A low wall along the edge of a terrace,roof, or balcony, which is usually simply the extension of the exterior wall below it.


A single unit of fabricated stone for use as an exterior paving material.


Stone used as an exterior wearing surface, as in patios, walkways, driveways, etc.

Polished Finish

A glossy, highly reflective surface finish that brings out the full color and character of the stone.


A process utilizing abrasives in combination with specific polishing powders and / or chemicals to produce a glossy, highly reflective surface finish on the stone.

Polishing Compounds

Any of the powders or chemicals used in addition to the abrasive machine heads that are used to achieve a polished finish.

Polishing Cream

A polishing compound that is supplied in a cream or paste consistency.

Polishing Pads

Small diameter flexible disks with embedded abrasives used with handheld tools or small portable machines for polishing of stone. These pads may be used in combination with compounds, and may be used either wet or dry.


  • The base block at the junction of the stone base and trim around a door or other opening.
  • 2.The bottom stone block of a column or pedestal.

Quarried Stone

Stone which has been extracted from the earth by means of man power and machines.

Quarry Block

Generally, a piece of rough stone as it comes from a quarry, generally dressed or wire sawed to the shape of a rectangular prism (having three pairs of roughly parallel Faces) for shipment.


A silicon dioxide mineral that occurs in colorless and transparent or colored hexagonal crystals or in crystalline masses. One of the hardest minerals of abundance in stones such as sandstone, granite, and quartzite.

Raked Joint

A mortar joint in which the mortar, while still soft, has been scraped back to a specified dimension with a square-edged tool. It is generally used to accentuate the joint due to the pronounced shadow line produced.


Any of a number of clear or translucent substances, either from plant origin or synthetics, used in producing lacquers, adhesives, plastics, polyesters, epoxies, silicones, etc.

Rebated Kerf

A kerf that includes a second cut at 90° to the kerf axis which accommodates

Resin Polishing

A reference to abrasive pads used for hand tool polishing, in which abrasives are embedded in a resin matrix.

Resined Slab

Slabs that have been treated with a cosmetic improvement process prior to polishing, in which a resinous adhesive, usually epoxy, is applied to the face of the slab, filling various voids in the stone surface. The resin is cured at elevated temperature, after which it is polished, allowing the resin to remain in the voids. This produces a more cosmetically attractive surface without the interruptions of the natural defects.


The exposed portion of a stone between its outer face and a window or door set into an opening.


Sandstones are sedimentary rocks usually composed of quartz cemented with silica, iron oxide or calcium carbonate. Sandstones range from very soft and friable to very hard and durable, depending on the depth at which it was buried and the nature of the cement. Generally, the most durable sandstones are cemented with silica.Sandstone has a wide range of colors ' or textures. See quartz based stone.


A flat board or other straight piece used to level freshly placed concrete, mortar, or sand by sliding it over prepositioned guides that determine the height of the concrete or mortar.

Sawed Edge

A clean-cut edge generally achieved by cutting with a diamond blade.

Sawed Face

A finish obtained from the process used in the cutting of the blocks, slabs, or other units of building stone without further embellishment. It varies in texture from smooth to rough, and is typically named For the type of material used in sawing, e.g. diamond sawn, sand sawn, chat sawn, and shot sawn.


An elastic adhesive compound used to seal stone veneer joints while still allowing differential movement between the stone units.


A protective coating or treatment which prevents or retards foreign liquid or matter from penetrating the stone by closing the pores in the surface.


Rocks formed by deposition of particles, or "sediments" laid down in successive strata and cemented together by another agent. The materials of which they are formed arc derived from preexisting rocks or the skeletal remains of sea creatures.


A common hydrous magnesium silicate rock-forming mineral; generally dark green in color with markings of white, light green, or black. Rocks composed predominantly of such minerals are correctly called "serpentinites", and are commercially sold as a marble because they can be polished. The definition of serpentine is given in ASTM C119 under the marble group.


An oxide of silicon with the chemical formula Si02, found abundantly in nature as sand quarts, or other rock components, The dry cutting or grinding of silica will produce silica dust, which when airborne in particles of respirable size, are a well known health hazard to those exposed to it without adequate PPE


A flat "sheet-like" section of natural stone sawn to a prescribed thickness, with length and width determined by the size of the quarry block from which it was sawed. Slabs will generally receive a face finish and further fabrication processes to become usable dimension stone products.


A very fine grained metamorphic rock derived from sedimentary shale rock, with excellent parallel cleavage, and entirely independent of original bedding, slate may be split easily into relatively thin slabs.


The underside of any architectural clement, such as an arch, beam, lintel, or balcony.

Stacked Bond

Stone that is cut to one dimension and installed with unbroken vertical and horizontal joints running the entire length and height of the veneered area.


A flooring surface of marble or granite chips in a cementitious or resinous matrix, which is ground and finished after setting.

Thermal Finish

A textured surface treatment applied by brief exposure to intense heat.


A thin modular stone unit, less than(20 mm) thick, and not exceeding(600 mm) in its greatest dimension.


A variety of limestone formed by chemical precipitate from hot springs. Some varieties of travertine take a polish and are known commercially as marble. All "thtFe classifies travertine in both the limestone and the marble groupings.

Tumbled Finish

A weathered, aging finish created when the stone is tumbled with sand, pebbles, or steel bearings.

Vacuum Lifter

Any stone handling device using vacuum cups as a means of securing itself to the stone.

Vein Cut

A cut in quarried stone that is perpendicular to the natural bedding plane, exposing the veining of the material.


A layer, scam, or narrow irregular body of mineral material contrasting the surrounding material in either color, texture, or both.

Water Jet

A machine which uses extremely high pressure water and an abrasive to cut stone material in complex and exacting shapes from slabs or tile.

Glossary Of Terms | © 2011 Marble Institute Of America.