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Link to Stone Industry Glossary of Terms & Definitions


Adhered Secured and supported by adhesion of an approved bonding material over an approved backing.
Agglomerated Stone A manmade product composed of crushed stone combined with resin.
Aggregate A small mass of rock, having occurred naturally (as in sand or gravel) or by means of manufacture, used either in a loose, non-cohesive state, or as an ingredient in mortar.
Anchor A metal fastener used for securing dimension stone to structure.
Anchorage The means by which slabs are attached to a self-supporting structure.
Antique Finish (aka Leather) A finish that replicates rusticated or distressed textures.  Produced through mechanical or chemical means to simulate the naturally occurring effects of the aging process.
Apron A trim piece under a projecting stone top, stool, etc.
Arris A slight, although measurable, chamfer where two surfaces meet.
Artificial Stone A manmade product attempting to replicate the look of natural stone.
Backsplash A vertical covering of the wall where a counter top surface meets the wall surface, designed to protect the wall from moisture.  Backsplashes range from a few inches in height to “full height backsplashes” that extend from the countertop surface to the underside of the upper cabinets.
Basalt A dark colored, igneous rock commercially known as granite when fabricated as dimension stone.
Book Match Pattern A vein matching technique where opposite faces of adjacent slabs are exposed, producing a repeating mirror image of the veining trend of the material.  Book matched material is most commonly polished to allow the greatest visibility of the veining character of the stone.
Bowing A warping or curving of a stone unit.
Bridge Saw A saw that travels along a beam, or “bridge”, which travels atop two rails.  These saws are powerful and fitted with large diameter blades.  This is the basic machine used for fabrication.
Brushed finish A subtly textured surface finished achieved by wet brushing a stone with a coarse rotary-type of abrasive brush.
Bullnose Convex rounding of a stone edge, usually at a radius half the thickness of the stone.
Butt Joint An external corner formed by two stone panels with one finished edge in a lap joint configuration.
Calcite A common rock forming mineral.  The chief constituent of limestone and most marble.
Calcite Streaks White or milky streaks occurring in stone.  Usually not very wide, it sometimes can look like a crack, however it is structurally sound.
Cantilever A structural member supported at only one end.  The term is loosely used, although not technically correct, to describe an overhang.
Caulk To seal a joint with an elastomeric, adhesive compound.  Usually used to seal horizontal to vertical pieces (i.e. the joint between the countertop and the backsplash).
Chamfer A flat treatment, produced by either grinding or cutting, to eliminate the sharp edge.
Chiseled edge The rustic, aged appearance produced by mechanically chipping the stone edge.
Cladding Exterior veneer stone covering.  Non-load bearing stone veneer used as the facing material in exterior wall construction.
Color Enhancer / Sealer A product that is designed to enrich, brighten and enhance the color and/or  character of the stone.  Stone enhancers are more frequently used on honed or textured surfaces where the stone color and/or character are muted by the finish.
Control Joint A partial depth joint that is either formed or sawed in concrete to control the location and frequency of shrinkage cracking.
Corbel A projection or bracket extending from the face of a wall to support an element above it.
Core Bit A hollow cylindrical drilling tool that bores a hole by abrading only the perimeter of the core, utilizing less abrasive than a bit that would abrade the entire diameter of the hole.  Normally used by the installation team to drill holes for faucets.
Crack A man-made break, split, fracture, separation, cleavage or elongated narrow opening, visible without magnification to the human eye and extending from the surface into the stone, which must extend through the grain or matrix of the stone.
Cross-cut The process of cutting the initial block of stone parallel to the natural bedding plane.  The effect is a mottled or cloudlike appearance.  Most often used on travertine materials.
Cultured Marble An artificial, man-made product some what resembling marble.
Cup Wheel Shop tool used to remove large amounts of material from the edge of a stone.
Cure Time The time required for a chemical reaction to be completed in a sealant, concrete, mortar, or other construction element until the finished visual and performance attributes are developed.
Cut stone Currently, stone that has been fabricated to a finished size and configuration and ready to be installed.  Historically, the term “cut stone” was used to describe limestone products.
Diamond A carbon based mineral, usually manmade, used as an abrasive in stone cutting equipment.
Diamond Match A vein matching technique in which contiguous faces of adjacent slabs are “unfolded” about two perpendicular axes, producing a vein pattern which has approximate symmetry about a point.
Dowel A short piece of cylindrical nonferrous metal used as a stone anchor.
Dry Seam A naturally occurring unhealed fracture in stone which may be a plane of weakness.
Dual finish Multiple contrasting finishes, such as thermal and polished, on one piece of stone.
Durability The measure of the ability of natural building stone to endure and to maintain its essential and distinctive characteristics of strength, resistance to decay, and appearance, while exposed to the elements encountered in its application environment.
Eased Edge A slightly arrised, chamfered, or radiused edge to eliminate the sharpness of the fabricated stone edge.
Edge Chiseling Tool Tool with carbide jaws used to create a “pitched”, quarry”, or “chiseled” edge without using a hammer and chisel.
Edge Profile The specific contour to which an exposed edge has been shaped, normally for decorative purposes.
Efflorescence A salt deposit, in the form of a white powder residue that forms on the surface of stone, brick or mortar.  It is caused by alkalis leached from the masonry or soil and carried to the surface by moisture.
Elevation A drawing of the vertical faces and elements of a structure, either interior or exterior.
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.
Etched An “indentation” of the stone produced either by chemical or mechanical methods.
Exfoliation 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.
Exposed Face The visible side of any stone element.
Fabricated Used in reference to dimension stone, it means having undergone cutting, machining, or other processes in order to refine the product for its intended application manufactured and ready for installation.
Fiberglass Backing A fine grid mesh reinforcement that is adhered to the back surface of stone slabs which have limited stability.  The primary intent of this reinforcement is to reduce safety ricks in the handling of fragile slabs.
Filling A trade expression used to indicate the filling of natural voids in stone units with cements or synthetic resins and similar materials.
Finish Process applied to the exposed surfaces of dimension stone during fabrication to achieve the desired aesthetic and/or performance characteristics of the stone.  The finish may be applied early or late in the fabrication sequence.
Fissure An industry term describing any naturally occurring separation along crystalline boundaries visible in exposed surface of the stone.  Commonly mistaken for a crack.
Flamed Finish A textured surface treatment applied by brief exposure to intense heat.
Fleuri The mottled random effect obtained when slabs of certain stone varieties are sawn parallel to their natural bedding planes. AKA Cross Cut
Fracture Any break or separation of fabric within the stone as a result of mechanical stress.
Glass Seam A trade term in the limestone industry for a former fracture or parting that has been naturally re-cemented and annealed by deposition of transparent calcite.
Grain A quarry term for a plane of parting in a metamorphic rock, the direction along which a stone shows “movement” and direction in the minerals.
Granite A general consumer term for a type of countertop material.  Granite is a very hard crystalline, igneous rock, composed of mainly quartz and feldspar minerals.
Grout A mixture of cementitious material and water to produce a plastic consistency without segregation of the constituents.
Hardness Most frequently refers to stone’s resistance to abrasion, often measured by the Moh’s Scale of Mineral Hardness.
Hearth The floor of a fireplace together with an adjacent area of fire-resistant material that extends into the room.
Honed A satin-smooth surface finish with little or no gloss.
Igneous Any of the various volcanic rocks, solidified after the molten state, such as granite.  Igneous is one of the three main rock classifications.  Compare with metamorphic and sedimentary.
Impregnators Any applied repellent that penetrates the stone and resides below the plane of the finished surface.  Impregnators may be hydrophobic (water-repellent), oliophobic (oil repellent), or both, and are used in some stone varieties to increase stain resistance.
Joint A space between installed stone units or between a dimension stone and the adjoining material.
Jointing Scheme The intentional pattern created by the direction and position of stone joints as determined by the design professional for aesthetic reasons.
Kerf A slot, either local or continuous, cut into the edge of a stone with a saw blade for insertion of anchors.
Lamination Two or more thicknesses of stone slab adhered together at an exposed edge, which are then dressed or profiled in a variety of shapes.
Line 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.
Lippage The planar offset of the finished surfaces of two adjacent stone units.
Marble A general consumer term for a type of countertop material.  Marble is a metamorphic crystalline rock composed predominantly of crystalline grains of softer materials such as calcite, dolomite, or serpentine and is capable of take a polish.
Metamorphic Rock Rock altered in appearance, density, crystalline structure, and in some cases, mineral composition, by high temperature and intense pressure.
Miter Any condition of stone where a corner or edge detail is accomplished by two stones with angular cuts usually with the cuts being equal to the bisection of the total angle.
Mock up A sample section of stonework that is installed, often including other related construction components, for the purpose of obtaining designer and owner approval prior to commencement of quarrying, fabrication, or installation of stonework.
Moh’s Scale A relative scale of mineral hardness developed by German Mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1822 ranking ten common minerals by their scratch resistance.
Mortar A mixture of cement paste and fine aggregate used in setting stone units, especially popular to use with tile.
Mosaic 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.
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.
Niche A recess in an interior or exterior wall usually for holding items (i.e. soap niche in shower).
Ogee A stone molding profile roughly resembling an “S” shape, with a reverse curved edge:  concave above, convex below.
Onyx A frequently translucent and generally layered, cryptocrystalline calcite with colors in pastel shades, particularly off white, yellow, tan, and green.
Overhang The portion of a stone that protrudes past the surface on which it is set.
Panel (aka Pre-Fab) A term used to describe a unit of fabricated stone cut to a pre-determined size usually with one long edge and one short edge finished.  Usually made in a foreign country and of limited quality.
Patina The change in color or texture of the surface of natural stone due to age or exposure to various elements.
Polished Finish A glossy, highly reflective surface finish that brings out the full color and character of the stone.
Polishing A process utilizing abrasives sometimes in combination with specific polishing powders and/or chemicals to produce a glossy, highly reflective surface finish on the stone.
Poultice Any absorbent material (powder, cloth, etc.) used in a saturated condition with water or solvent based fluids and applied to a stone surface for the purpose of removing embedded stains.
Profile Wheel Any grinding wheel that has convex or concave shapes and can be adapted to a router, hand held grinder, or a large scale edging machine for the purpose of producing a desired shape to a stone edge.
Quarry The physical site, open or underground, where stone is extracted from the earth.
Quartz 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.
Quartzite A dense, hard metamorphic quartz based stone typically formed from sandstone.  Sometimes intrusion of minerals during the formation process creates unusual colorations.
Quirk Miter An external corner formed by two stone panels with beveled (usually 45 degree) edges and blunted, finished noses to reduce the chipping vulnerability of the sharp edges that occur with a common miter.
Rabbet A groove cut into the surface along an edge so as to receive another piece.
Recess Any feature cut into a stone that is set back or indented from the stone surface.
Remnant A leftover portion of slab that cannot be utilized in the primary project.
Resin 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.
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.  This produces a cosmetically attractive surface without the interruptions of the natural defects.
Return The right angle turn of a stone surface, either a molding or flat, as in a window jamb condition.
Reveal The exposed portion of a stone between its outer face and a window or door set into an opening.
Rodding A reinforcement technique used principally in countertop fabrication wherein metal or fiberglass rods are embedded into shallow kerfs in the underside of the stone slab at narrow regions of the countertop, such as the portion in front of a sink.
Sample An actual piece of dimension stone in a small size used to demonstrate the general color, markings, and finish of a given variety of stone.
Sandstone A sedimentary rock usually composed of quartz cemented with silica, iron oxide or calcium carbonate.
Sawed Edge A clean-cut edge generally achieved by cutting with a diamond blade.
Sealer A protective coating or treatment which prevents or retards foreign liquid or matter from penetrating the stone by closing the pores in the surface.
Sealing The process of applying a sealer.
Seam Setter A tool designed to pull two pieces of stone together a make the surfaces flat with each other.
Sedimentary Rocks formed by deposition of particles, or “sediments” laid down in successive strata and cemented together by another agent.
Serpentine Generally a dark green in color with markings of white, light green or black.  Commonly grouped together with Marbles as it has similar properties.
Shale A fine grained sedimentary stone formed by the compaction of clay, silt, or mud.
Shim A piece of plastic or other non-corrosive, non-staining material used to temporarily or permanently adjust the position of a stone unit.
Shop Drawing A detailed fabrication and installation drawing showing layout, joints, dimensions, materials, finishes, and/or any other information needed for fabrication and installation.
Silica Found abundantly in nature as sand quarts, or other rock components.
Siltstone A fine-grained, non-carbonate clastic rock composed of detrital grains of quartz and silicate minerals of silt size.  Rarely marketed.
Slab 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.
Slate A very fine grained metamorphic rock derived from sedimentary shale rock.
Slurry A suspension of insoluble particles in a liquid.
Soapstone A talc0rich stone with a “soapy” feel, used for hearths, tabletops, chemical-resistant laboratory tops, stove facings, and cladding; know for its heat, chemical, and stain resistant properties.
Soundness A property of stone used to describe relative freedom from cracks, faults, voids and similar imperfections found in untreated stone.
Spalling A chip or splinter separated from the main mass of a stone. AKA Sprawl
Stripping To remove coatings that block as stone’s ability to breathe which may cause spalling.
Support An angle, plate or other stones which carry a gravity load.
Template A pattern for a repetitive marking or fabricating operation.
Texture Surface quality of stone independent of color.
 Textured Finish Any of the rough surface finishes used in dimension stone, selected for aesthetic reasons or as friction performance for walking surfaces.
Thermal Finish A textured surface treatment applied by brief exposure to intense heat.
Threshold A flat or profiled strip of stone projecting above the floor between the jambs of a door, often marks the transition between two different flooring materials.
Tile A thin modular stone unit, less than 3/4″ thick and not exceeding 24″ in its greatest dimension.
Tolerance The permissible limit of variation from the specified dimension.
Translucence A characteristic of light colored onyxes and some light colored marbles allowing light to diffuse as it passes through.
Travertine A variety of limestone formed by chemical precipitate from hot springs.  Some take a polish and some don’t, they are classified in both limestone and marble groupings.
Tumbled Finish A weathered, aging finish created when the stone is tumbled with sand, pebbles, or steel bearings.
Vein Cut A cut in quarried stone that is perpendicular to the natural bedding plane, exposing the veining of the material.
Vein A layer, seam, or narrow irregular body of mineral material contrasting the surrounding material in either color, texture, or both.
Wainscot An interior veneer of stone covering the lower portion of an interior wall.
Wash The slope on the top of a stone unit intended to shed water.
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.
Waterproofing One or more coatings of a compound that is impervious to water.  Usually applied to the back or face of the stone or the back of the wall at or near grade.
Weathering Natural alteration by either chemical or mechanical processes due to the action of constituents of the atmosphere, soil, surface waters, and other ground waters, or by temperature changes.

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