A Handy Reference For Homeowners

Aggregate - stone or other hard materials that are mixed into concrete to impart strength
Building Stone - any mortared stone with an installed thickness of 5" to 7" or more; includes dry stack and stone with mortared joints
Capstone - the finishing stone that forms the top of a column or wall
Cement - a powder made by heating limestone and other materials and used as an ingredient in concrete and mortar
Concrete - a mixture of Portland cement, sand and aggregate used for footings, flatwork and driveways 
Course - a horizontal row of stone on which the next row is built
Cultured Stone® - a manufactured concrete product that comes in different styles and is sold as corner pieces and flat pieces 1½" to 2" thick; simulates the look of building stone with corner pieces
Dry Stack - building stone fitted very tightly with no visible mortar; also called stack or stacked stone

Fieldstone - unquarried stone found in fields and used in its natural state; can sometimes be quite colorful

Flagstone - any flat stone (generally 1" to 3" thick) used for patios and walkways; installed in either random or cut pattern design
Flatwork - any stone installed on a walkable surface
Footing - a concrete substructure used as a solid base for any kind of masonry


This colorful fieldstone, used in a retaining wall, has a painterly quality.


Grapevine Jointing - a traditional style of raised jointing formed with various shaped tools; also called bead jointing or beadwork

Hardscapes - man-made structures such as bridges, patios and walkways that are incorporated into a landscape

Keystone - the wedge-shaped stone at the top of an arch that locks the other stones into place; sometimes purely decorative

MasterCut™ - a processed natural stone product sawn into similar shapes and dimensions as Cultured Stone®; sold as corner pieces and flat pieces 1½" to 2" thick
Mortar - a mixture of sand and either Portland or brick cement used for all types of masonry
Mortar Bed - a layer of fresh mortar applied with a trowel and ready for stone
Mortar Joints - the finished space between stones where mortar is visible
Parging - applying a thin layer of cement or mortar over masonry
Rebar - a ribbed, steel rod used as reinforcement for footings, walkways, patios and concrete
Repointing - repairing and/or replacing mortar joints between stones with fresh mortar; sometimes called tuckpointing; watch a short demonstration video
Step Treads - large stones sold as individual steps or hearthstones ranging in size from  2" to 7" thick
Thermalling - the process of using an acetylene torch on some types of sawn stone (typically bluestone or granite) to remove saw marks; creates a more natural look; also called flaming

Veneer Stone - natural stone with an installed thickness of approximately 2"; sold as flat pieces only; brick veneer refers to the thickness of one brick or 4½"