Concrete Stone Masonry – Types, Pros, and Cons

Masonry construction comes under a large range of building materials, in which individual masonry units will be assembled together by mortar (the layer of clay, lime, and sand). Depending on the materials of building units, the masonry will be called differently. When stone is used, for example, this will be called “stone masonry”. Common materials include some kinds of stone, concrete, and block often used in masonry construction these days.

In general, masonry is a popular construction technique that provides high-level durability of the overall structure. However, the particular masonry materials used, the mortar quality, and the skills of constructors will have a huge impact on the masonry buildings. This article will give you general information about types of stone masonry, concrete masonry, brick masonry, as well as the advantages of masonry work.

Note: The masonry construction should not be laid when the temperature is under three degrees. Laid masonry will be perfect with warmer weather to avoid the detrimental effect of weather on new ground.


  • Stone Masonry
    • Types of Stone Masonry
    • Types of Stones Used in Masonry
    • Stonework
    • Pros & Cons
    • Requirement of Stone
    • The Use of Different Stones
  • Concrete blocks
    • Specific Mortar of Concrete Block Masonry
    • The Work of Concrete Masonry Block
    • Pros & Cons of Concrete Blocks
  • Brick Masonry
  • Pros & Cons of Brick Masonry Work


stone masonry

Stone is one of the oldest and most common masonry units in masonry construction which was derived from rocks. Stone could be laid in walkways and masonry walls, even without the mortar, installed especially in the low-to-high mountains. Due to their natural durability, stones are used widely in almost all masonry buildings.

Types of Stone Masonry

There are two common types of blocks used in stone masonry: rubble masonry and ashlar masonry, which have differences in appearance, as well as masonry structures in comparison with each other.


In rubble masonry, the stone blocks that are known as irregularly shaped stones are usually undressed in the masonry work. Because of its irregularly shaped stones, the joints used in the stone masonry should be wide.

rubble masonry walls

There are several designs of rubble masonry, including:

  • Random rubble: This is a form of stone masonry constructed from random blocks of stone which are not in the same size and shape, so requires great care when installing to avoid long joints and distribute pressure over the surface at the same time. Also, it is the cheapest form of masonry walls.
  • Square rubble
  • Miscellaneous type rubble: includes polygonal and flint rubble masonry, in which blocks of stones in the former are finished on the irregular polygonal surface area while these stones of the latter are bard but brittle. Also, the strength of walls in flint rubble masonry could also be increased.
  • Dry rubble masonry: in this design, the mortar joints are not used and require a high level of skills in construction used for non-loading bearing walls.


Square or rectangular blocks used in ashlar masonry are clad and have exceptionally fine finishing beds and joints to form the style of old buildings, while irregularly shaped bricks are used in rubble masonry. They are then laid out in horizontal courses, or layers, with just a fine coating of a supporting material called mortar between them.

ashlar masonry

And these are some typical types of ashlar masonry:

  • Ashlar fine tooled: this can be the most effective ashlar masonry compared to others. The stones’ beds, joints, and faces are well-defined treated to get rid of all unevenness and attain utterly horizontal and vertical joints.
  • Ashlar rough tooled: The beds and sides are nicely chiseled, whereas the exposed face is roughly tooled.
  • Ashlar rock-faced: The exposed face of the stones is undressed in order to provide rough facing.
  • Ashlar chamfered: This is a form of ashlar rock-faced in which the strip supplied around the exposed face is chamfered at a 45° angle to a depth of 25 mm.
  • Ashlar block in the course: It is situated directly between ashlar and rubble masonry. Each stone’s face is hammer-dressed, although the vertical joints are not as straight and fine as in ashlar masonry.
  • Ashlar facing: This type is contributed in conjunction with brick or concrete blocks to improve the aesthetic. The exterior sides are rough tooled and chamfered.

Types of Stones Used in Masonry


Igneous stones

These stones are created by the cooling and solidification of magma that is generated within the Earth when the temperature changes rapidly during volcanic activity. They are commonly utilized for applications that require strength and durability, such as kerbstones, worktops, flooring, and breakwaters. Igneous stone spans from very soft rocks like pumice and scoria to somewhat tougher rocks like tuff and hard rocks like granite and basalt.


Sedimentary stones

They are generated by the gathering and cementation of mineral grains brought by wind, water, or ice to a basin or by precipitation at a location. Limestone and sandstone are the foremost common sedimentary stones used in masonry work. Limestone is a sedimentary rock comprised principally of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are distinct crystal forms of calcium carbonate. Limestone is the primary building material and is used in a variety of applications, including as a building material, combination for road bases, white pigment, or filler in merchandise such as dentifrice and a chemical feedstock.

Sandstone, on the other hand, is an associated sedimentary rock comprised primarily of sand-sized particles or rock grains. It is rather soft, creating it straightforward to mold as needed. It is unremarkably used as flooring or paving material. However, it has additionally been used artistically to construct ornamental fountains and statues.



Stones from the bottom of the walls were tested and their moisture content was determined. When the findings were compared to the previously acquired absorption data, the stones were found to be practically saturated.

Stones used in masonry can be dressed or rough, although in both cases, corners, door and window jambs, and similar places are normally treated. Although both rubble and ashlar masonry can be built in coursed rows of uniform height by meticulous stone selection or cutting, much stone masonry is un-coursed.

Pros & Cons

Pros: Because of the intrinsic endurance of the material, stone masonry is the most robust, sturdy, and weather-resistant:

  • Your structure will be robust as a consequence of the use of stones during construction. The compressive strength of a stone simply refers to the highest load it can withstand without crushing or shattering. The mortar strength will also have a significant impact on the strength of the brickwork.
  • Stonemasonry has the ability to withstand any effect induced by weather factors such as rain, hail, and snow, to mention a few. In the event of rain, stone does not absorb water, therefore there will be no future issues caused by moisture.
  • One of the primary benefits of stone is its visual appearance; with a wide range of colors, sizes, and textures, the design options are virtually limitless.
  • Stones are bending, wrapping, splintering, denting, and swelling resistance. This component is influenced by the stone’s strength and even weather resistance.
  • Stonemasonry requires little upkeep and repair.

thick stone wall

Cons: Stone walls are thick and heavy, taking up valuable floor area. People who work in this field approach must be skilled since a great deal of attention is required. This is due to the fact that there is little to no room for error, and adjustments, fixes, or even relocations cannot be easily accomplished once made. Handling these components might be difficult due to the thickness and heavyweight of the stones, and accidents are common. The cost of a stone masonry building is slightly greater because of the skilled labor necessary, the expensive equipment to be employed, and several additional expenditures incurred.

Requirement of Stone


Stones used for the facing work should have a consistent hue, be resistant to weathering, and be polishable.


Stones should be compacted and less permeable, with a specific gravity ranging between 2.4 and 2.8. Lighter variants of the stones are chosen when utilized for domes, roof coverings, and so forth.


Floor and pavement stones should be hard enough to withstand abrasive pressures induced by wear and friction. They should also be robust enough to endure strains caused by mechanical vibrations and moving weights across them.


Stones should be naturally durable in order to survive the harmful impacts of numerous substances that are constantly acting on them. The durability of a stone is determined by the relationship between its chemical makeup and its environment. The texture of the stone also influences its durability. For good work, crystalline homogenous and close-grained kinds of stones with dense structures should be chosen. A newly fractured stone’s surface should be homogeneous in texture, color, and hardness.


The minerals that make up the stone should be chosen in such a way that the form of the stone is kept when exposed to fire. Limestone is resistant to fire up to 800°C. Sandstone with silicates as a binding ingredient has high fire resistance.


The stones should be shaped in such a way that they can be readily carved, molded, cut, and dressed. It is a significant aspect from the standpoint of economics. However, as parallel to its strength, durability, and hardness of stone. As a result, it must be correctly connected with regard to the context in which the stone will be employed.

The Use of Different Stones

The use of natural stone is not limited to the aesthetic aspect. Natural stone, with its beauty and character, at the same time with durability and mechanical modeling, can totally replace other masonry units of material, such as concrete blocks and bricks. With the diversity of different stones, they also bear each of their own different uses:

  • Granite: usually used in walls, steps, columns, and road metals in facing work
  • Marble: because of its nature of being carved easily, it is used in flooring, steps, walls, as well as decorative works.
  • Quartzite: usually caught up in retaining walls and face of buildings.
  • Sandstone: used in facing work of steps, walls, and decorative carving.
  • Limestone: the use as the same as marble stone masonry, and especially in manufactured lime.
  • Chalk: a type of pure White limestone used in manufactured Portland cement and glazier’s putty.

Portland cement


Specific Mortar of Concrete Block Masonry

With its resistance against weather conditions, the introduction of concrete blocks has become the most particular feature in masonry construction. The concrete is a mixture of gravel, sand, and Portland cement – which is generally called “mortar”. Mortar is used for almost all masonry units, including concrete blocks, stone, and brick.

The traditional mortar is just a mixture of only clay and lime, in which lime creates the sticky for the mortar to stay at the end of brick or block.

traditional mortar

Compared with that mortar, nowadays one is composed of Portland cement (including clay and limestone) at a high temperature and then ground into powder. Today’s soft mortar played well with the soft bricks and concrete blocks of this time and has reached good characteristics in concrete masonry construction.

mortar with portland cement

The Work of Concrete Masonry Block

The appearance of thermal mass in higher standards has replaced the previous use of clay brick for almost blockwork in cavity walls. Concrete blocks including cinder concrete blocks, ordinary concrete, and concrete masonry units are both larger than other common bricks, therefore, much easier and faster to lay up a concrete wall. In addition, these concrete units contain lower water absorption rates than clay bricks that are totally acceptable for the walls of several buildings.

Because of the use of today’s mortar, however, just add the minimum amount of water needed for the cement mixture. If not, the concrete will be weakened by the excess water. It usually takes about one month (28 days) to fully harden the mortar layer between concrete blocks.

mortar layer

The reinforced concrete feature in concrete masonry structures brings the primary advantages for this material compared with bricks, in which it filled the empty space with concrete, even without the steel bar. A type of steel reinforcement, which is ladder reinforcement, could be embedded between the mortar joints of the concrete construction walls. This reinforcement has proved the tensile strength of concrete masonry units wall than other unreinforced walls.

Pros & Cons of Concrete Blocks

The foremost advantage of this masonry unit is the resistance ability against bad weather, pests, and fire. Also, concrete blocks could appear in any size and shape, as well as color for your diverse choices, and be easily found in many local states. Concrete blocks have been manufactured to meet any project that will play well with yours. In addition to the resistance ability, these blocks also have insulation against heat, moisture, and sound.

shape of concrete block

A large number of concrete blocks is so heavy and difficult to manage to construct easily, which the cost of concrete blocks will vary depending on the region, cement, and material availability. In most reinforced cement concrete structures, the more concrete blocks increase, the more the amount of steel requires that also increases the total cost of the project. Moreover, the plumping issue can cause internal flooding in concrete masonry structures that requires material waste and expensive reparations.

flooding issue


Traditional brick is a versatile material that was used commonly in the past, especially in the period of late 1960s. The uniformity level of brick in masonry in this period was considered at a high degree. However, the introduction of other materials such as concrete, stone, and steel structures has replaced brick masonry due to its function no longer being the same.

Some brick surfaces are manufactured to be more rustic and follow the artistic style by adding various surface treatments to perform organic impressions.

brick walls

Pros & Cons of Brick Masonry Work

On the positive aspect, the size and shape of bricks are uniform so they don’t require the highly skilled work of laborers. Brick’s own weight is usually light and thin so that the cost to transport bricks will be much lower than stone and concrete blocks.

uniform shape of bricks

The cons of bricks vary from their low resistance ability to their characteristics, such as strength and durability. Also, brick is limited in colors and sizes compared with both the concrete block and stone.

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