The Ultimate Guide on Different Stone Masonry Techniques

Mankind has evolved in different ways. Over the decades, they have built progressively complex structures. Probably one of the oldest ways of the construction sets its time some thousand years old and is known as stone masonry.

Stone masonry refers to the shaping of rough pieces of rock into accurate geometrical shapes and then arranging the resulting stones together using mortar to form structures. The basic tools used by stonemasons consist of a metal straight edge, mallet, and chisels.

What are the different techniques in Stone Masonry?

Check out these various techniques that are employed in stone masonry. These techniques have evolved along with changes in the lifestyles of the people and the modernization in construction.

1. Traditional Dry-Stack Technique

In this technique, the walls are carefully layered up with stone without mortar joints. It is the gravity that holds everything together. This technique involves little expense except for the labor. Usually, in dry-stack, the standing stone wall is made large at the base and then it gets thinner as the height increases.

Advantages of traditional dry-stack

• Attractive, strong, and can last hundreds of years

• Brags time-honored crafts

• Reveals traditional character

• Environment-friendly

• Can be reused multiple times

• Unlike the brick wall, the life of the stone structure is long-lasting

Disadvantages of traditional dry-stack

• The labor cost is high and the construction is slow and costly.

• An improper structure can lead to the collapse of the property.

• Not a good fit for high walls or buildings

2. Traditional Mortared Stone Technique

In this masonry technique, the foundation of the wall needs to be solid so that the joints do not crack easily. To achieve this, using a paste made of lime and water helps bond the materials together. Note: Building a mortar stone wall is more challenging in the winter and rainy seasons.

Advantages of traditional mortared stone:

• Concrete block is more resistant to weather, pest, molds, and fire

• Material for these concrete blocks is available locally

• Is easily available in various sizes, and colors

Concrete blocks provide good insulation against heat, sound, and moisture.

Disadvantages of traditional mortared stone:

• Being heavy, concrete blocks are difficult to handle and involve more workforce.

• You need a large quantity of steel to reinforce cement concrete structures.

• You get varied prices of concrete blocks depending on the region, cement costs, and availability.

• The issues of plumbing in concrete masonry structures are too difficult to solve.

3. Modern Veneered Stone Technique

Today most of the stonework consists of a non-structural veneer stone against a structural wall of the concrete block. Concrete mortar comprises portland cement mixed with sand, gravel, and water.

In this technique, masons ensure that those larger particles of gravel interlock like little fingers to make the concrete long-lasting.

Advantages of modern veneered stone

• Less expensive and longer life when installed properly

• Offers natural beauty on the home exterior

• Ideal for walls that do not require additional support

• They are lightweight and come in larger panels which makes it easier to install in a shorter time.

• Low maintenance is needed and can be used on various surfaces, including stone, metal, and wood.

Disadvantages of modern veneered stone

• Allows moisture to seep through the joints causing mold issues.

• Wrong installation may lead to breaking and chipping.

• Use of abrasive cleaning material can damage the surface.

• Fissures in the mortar can occur due to tremors and earthquakes.

4. Slipform Stone Technique

Advantages of using Slipform stone masonry over other construction methods Slipform Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

It is termed as a cross between the traditional mortar stone wall and a veneer stone wall. Natural stones are used and placed inside the forms with the good or presentable side faces against the formwork. Concrete is then poured behind the rocks.

Advantages of slipform stone technique

• Decreases the use of building cranes

• Lesser use of accessories like scaffoldings, support bars, platforms, etc

Disadvantages of slipform stone technique

• Involves high costs in the initial stage

• High skilled experts and sophisticated equipment are needed.

5. Framed-One Side Stone Technique

Framed-one side stonemasonry is evident on buildings with stone on the outside and the framed wall on the inside. By building the interior frame first, half the formwork is done. Framed-one side stone is a traditional way of masonry. Strong and beautiful walls are built with the strength of stone, reinforcement of concrete and steel.

Advantages of framed-one side stone

• Strong and good looking wall are built using masonry stones

• Time taken in construction is much lesser than other techniques.

• Comparatively lesser costs involved in workforce and materials

Disadvantages of framed-one side stone

• Causes lateral deflections

• The span length is very less

6. Tilt-Up Stone Technique

Tilt-up masonry stones are done by pouring stone walls flat on the ground and setting them in place with a crane. For this technique, the stone fabricator uses stone, sand, gravel, and rock materials

Advantages of tilt-up stone

• More economic than cast-in walls mason stones

• Waste and environmental

• hazards are much lesser

• Installation is way faster and safer

• Masonry customization and architectural design is possible

Disadvantages of tilt-up stone

• Cannot be used for complex building wall

• Lack of versatility

Who are the professionals involved in the stone masonry technique?

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The carving and designing of stones involve different professionals categorized as per their skills on stone masonry. Let us have a basic understanding of the types of experts involved in the stone masonry technique.

Quarrymen – Quarrymen undertake the splitting of the sheets of rocks, and pull out the blocks of stone lying under the ground.

Sawyers – These professionals cut the rough blocks of stones into the needed cuboids using diamond-tipped saws.

Banker masons – They are the people who are based at the workshop level. Their expertise specializes in carving the stones into the shapes needed for the design of the building. Banker masons can mold the stones to design anything, from stones with simple chamfers to tracery windows.

Carvers – They are the real stone artists. They virtually cross the crafting lines of stones to art. With their artistic know-how, carvers make stone into any conceptual designs or foliage, figures, animals, etc.

Fixer masons – These stonemasons make use of carved and designed stones and fix them onto buildings. They make the use of traditional lime mortars, lifting tackle, and grouts. They also use epoxy resins, modern cement, and mastics.

Monumental masons – They are the stonemasons who carve inscriptions, gravestones, etc.

Modern stonemasonry training imparts hands-on skills, balanced by an intimate knowledge of each type of stone. The mason may be trained and capable of carrying out one or all of the various branches of stonemasonry.

Alexander and Xavier Masonry has highly skilled masons to do quality stone masonry repair and long-lasting custom stone work.


Stonemasonry construction can last for generations if done right. Thus, you need to choose the right masonry technique that does not only suit your taste. You also need to consider the environment or weather of the place that it will be founded.

If you’re located in Garland, Texas, you may contact Alexander and Xavier Masonry to help you design, build, and maintain your property.

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