All You Need to Know About Different Types of Stone Masonry

Thinking about doing a stone masonry project? Do you love the elegant look and longevity it adds to a home? There are tons of different types of stone masonry that you could add to your existing home or use when building a new one. 

Let’s have a look at some of the basic types so you can make educated decisions when planning your next project.

What is stone masonry?

Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

Stonemasonry is essentially a type of construction technique that uses stones as the main material. Stones are cut, shaped, and placed to form structures and designs. Masons use them together with mortar to build foundations, walls, floors, and columns. 

Because stones are an abundant and natural material, homes that use stone masonry tend to be very durable and long-lasting. Since it’s weather-resistant and requires very little maintenance, stone masonry is a great choice for sustainable home designs.

What are the types of stone masonry?

What are the Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

Although there is a wide variety of different masonry techniques, stone masonry can be divided into two basic typesrubble masonry and ashlar masonry, each with its own subtypes.

Understanding these basic techniques will give you a better understanding of what’s being done to your home as well as help you communicate with your mason about which design and method you prefer.

Rubble Masonry

Rubble masonry is the use of raw, undressed, unpolished, or roughly-dressed stones. Since they are almost raw and untouched, the stones have more varied shapes and sizes. The style works really well in rustic homes and structures. If you’re into an old-world type of design and style, then rubble masonry is for you.

Different Types of Rubble Masonry

Random Rubble Masonry

Random rubble masonry can use un-dressed stone (masonry stones that haven’t had any shaping done to them) or hammer-dressed stone (a masonry stone that has been given a rough shape simple with the use of a hammer). The stones are carefully selected and placed to distribute the pressure over a wide area while at the same time avoiding long vertical joints.

This gives the wall both an organized and rustic look at the same time.

Random Rubble Masonry | Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry
Square Rubble Masonry | Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

Square Rubble Masonry

Square rubble masonry is slightly more refined than random rubble masonry. The raw stones are hammer or chisel-dressed (shaped or carved with a chisel) to square off the corners and give them a more regular shape.

Square rubble masonry can be done in several different ways. One is called coursed, where the stones are laid in rows with defined horizontal joints. The other is called uncoursed, where the stones are laid in a more random pattern without defined vertical or horizontal joints.

Dry Rubble Masonry

The most basic type of rubble masonry is dry rubble masonry. This is very similar to the other two types (random rubble and square rubble) except no mortar is used. Masons work with carefully chosen hammer dressed or raw stones. They lay them in such a way to avoid large joints, especially large vertical joints that could weaken the wall.

This type of stone masonry is perfect for perimeter walls, garden sheds, and other similar structures.

Country Rubble | Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

The Pros and Cons of Rubble Masonry



Ashlar Masonry

Ashlar Masonry is the use of dressed stones that are laid in place with mortar or cement. The stones used are precut and dressed to have specific height and surface dimensions. This means you can have more control over the size and location of horizontal and vertical joints.

Ashlar masonry tends to be more expensive because masons or quarries have to finely cut and dress the stones that’ll be used.

The Subtypes of Ashlar Masonry

Rough-Tooled Ashlars

Rough-tooled ashlar masonry uses stones that have the sides cut to a specific shape and angle. However, the face of the stones is left relatively rough and is only slightly shaped and refined with a chisel or hammer.

This gives you a rustic look on the outside but a strong wall that is easier to build because the stones are already precut and shaped to fit together easier.

Rough-Tooled Ashlars | Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry
Quarry-Faced or Rock-Faced Ashlars Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

Quarry-Faced or Rock-Faced Ashlars

In quarry-faced ashlar masonry, the sides of the stone are finely dressed to give it a specific shape, while the face is undressed, raw, and essentially is left unchanged from the quarry.

Unlike rough-tooled ashlar masonry, quarry-faced ashlar stone faces are completely untouched. This gives it a rougher finish on the exterior.

Chamfered Ashlars

Chamfered ashlar is one of the most refined types of stonemasonry. The stones are finely shaped into uniform blocks. 

The faces are also dressed to have a more uniform texture and then a small bevel is added around the stone’s face. This creates a very refined look that’s similar to traditional brickwork.

Chamfered Ashlar | Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry
Block in Coarse Masonry | Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

Block in Course Masonry

Block in course masonry is the combination of rubble and ashlar masonry. The face of the wall is made using ashlar stones that are cut to a specific shape. The rest of the wall’s structure behind the face is made using the rubble masonry technique.

With this technique, you get the best of both worlds – the inexpensive materials of the rubble masonry and the more refined look of the ashlar masonry face.

Ashlar Facing

Ashlar facing masonry is very similar to the previous technique. Instead of using rubble masonry as the main part of the wall, bricks make up the main structure and the ashlar facing works just like a veneer on the outside so you can get the look of stone.

Ashlar Facing | Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry
Fine-Tooled Masonry | Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

Fine-Tooled Masonry

Fine-tooled masonry uses stones that are precisely cut to a specific size and shape. Since they fit together so well, the mortar joints can be as thin as just 2-3 millimeters (1/8th of an inch). 

This type can be more expensive since the masons will need extra time to precisely cut and fit the stones, but the end result is an extremely strong and refined wall.

Random Course Ashlars

Although it’s common to lay stones in such a way that creates defined vertical and horizontal joints, you can also lay stones randomly without creating consistent mortar joints.

This is a nice look for creating both a refined and somewhat rustic look.

Random Coarse Ashlars | Types of Stone Masonry | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

The Pros and Cons of Ashlar Masonry




It is true that building a structure with one of these stone masonry techniques is a big investment of time and money, but you can’t deny its timeless beauty and long-lasting durability.

Ready for your next stone masonry project? Do you want to add a random rubble wall to your outdoor patio? Or maybe you want to add an ashlar masonry face to the front of your home?

If you’re in the Dallas or Garland, Texas areas, give us a call at Alexander and Xavier Masonry for a FREE consultation. We’d love to help you plan your next masonry project and help make your dreams a reality!

Give us a call today!

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