Elevation drawing illustrating a standard type of stone masonry wall

Stone masonry is a form of construction using natural stone and mortar to make load-bearing and non-bearing walls. Benefitting from the inherent durability and weather-resistant properties of natural stone, stone masonry is one of the oldest trades in human history that has been used for buildings, structures, monuments, cities, and sculptures around the world. Because of the differences between various irregular natural stone types, shapes, and sizes, multiple methods of stone masonry construction have been developed in order to respond to unique project demands and locations. Stone masonry types are distinguished by how tooled and shaped the stones are, and whether the stones are laid in consistent mortared horizontal courses or organized in random or uncoursed ways. While traditional stone masonry walls were typically bearing walls, today stone is more commonly used as a non-structural facing veneer that is tied back to a structural concrete or masonry wall.

Drawing of a cyclopean stone masonry wall showing the size and randomness of the stones
Cyclopean Masonry

Process: Massive unworked stone
Uses: Ancient architecture, fortifications
Style: Epic

Cyclopean masonry is a form of stonework where massive stone boulders are fitted together with minimum gaps between adjacent stones. Typically without any tooling, leftover gaps in cyclopean walls are generally filled with smaller stones without mortar.
Details & Downloads
Cyclopean masonry is a form of stonework where massive stone boulders are fitted together with minimum gaps between adjacent stones. Typically without any tooling, leftover gaps in cyclopean walls are generally filled with smaller stones without mortar.
Details & Downloads
Illustration of the layering of a Random | Uncoursed Rubble Stone Masonry Wall
Random | Uncoursed Rubble

Process: Minimal tooling; breaking off weak corners
Found: Direct from land or quarry
Uses: Low walls
Style: Natural

Random uncoursed rubble stone masonry is made by stacking stones of widely different sizes and qualities. Considered the cheapest and roughest type of stone masonry, random rubble is made up of stones pulled directly from the land with minimal efforts to tool the stones before they are laid.
Details & Downloads
Random uncoursed rubble stone masonry is made by stacking stones of widely different sizes and qualities. Considered the cheapest and roughest type of stone masonry, random rubble is made up of stones pulled directly from the land with minimal efforts to tool the stones before they are laid.
Details & Downloads
Drawing of a Coursed Rubble Stone Masonry Wall showing the organic courses
Coursed Rubble

Process: Hammer dressed
Found: Direct from quarry
Uses: Boundary walls, small residential
Style: Natural

Coursed rubble stone masonry is made with broken stones of widely different sizes and qualities that are laid in level courses. One of the most common forms of masonry construction, coursed rubble stones are typically hammer dressed to be shaped into more controlled and equal sizes.
Details & Downloads
Coursed rubble stone masonry is made with broken stones of widely different sizes and qualities that are laid in level courses. One of the most common forms of masonry construction, coursed rubble stones are typically hammer dressed to be shaped into more controlled and equal sizes.
Details & Downloads
Illustration of a Squared Rubble Stone Masonry wall with relatively equal sizes and courses
Squared Rubble

Process: Tooled
Found: Hilly areas with good quality stone
Uses: Ordinary buildings (uncoursed), Public buildings (coursed)
Style: Common

Squared rubble stone masonry consists of stones squared on all joints through facing methods of hammering or chiseling the stone. Squared rubble can consist of various sized stones and can be laid in equal courses, coursed every third or fourth stone, or uncoursed.
Details & Downloads
Squared rubble stone masonry consists of stones squared on all joints through facing methods of hammering or chiseling the stone. Squared rubble can consist of various sized stones and can be laid in equal courses, coursed every third or fourth stone, or uncoursed.
Details & Downloads
Illustration of a Broken | Random Range Ashlar Stone Masonry wall from front elevation
Broken | Random Range Ashlar

Process: Finely cut and dressed stones
Uses: Heavy structures, piers and abutments
Style: Heavy, layered organic

Broken ashlar, or random range ashlar, is a form of stone masonry that deploys tooled ashlar blocks in horizontal courses consisting of varied bricks within each same sized course. Each course may be broken into smaller intervals of two or more courses as necessary for a more organic pattern.
Details & Downloads
Broken ashlar, or random range ashlar, is a form of stone masonry that deploys tooled ashlar blocks in horizontal courses consisting of varied bricks within each same sized course. Each course may be broken into smaller intervals of two or more courses as necessary for a more organic pattern.
Details & Downloads
Drawing of a Random | Uncoursed Ashlar Stone Masonry wall showing the random coursing of the stone
Random | Uncoursed Ashlar

Process: Finely cut and dressed stones
Uses: Heavy structures, piers and abutments
Style: Heavy, organic pattern

Random uncoursed ashlar is a type of stone masonry that uses finely tooled ashlar stones laid in random and discontinuous courses. Consisting of various size stones with highly processed and dressed rectangular shapes, uncoursed ashlar provides a more organic pattern while remaining controlled.
Details & Downloads
Random uncoursed ashlar is a type of stone masonry that uses finely tooled ashlar stones laid in random and discontinuous courses. Consisting of various size stones with highly processed and dressed rectangular shapes, uncoursed ashlar provides a more organic pattern while remaining controlled.
Details & Downloads
Drawing of a Coursed Ashlar Stone Masonry wall seen from front elevation
Coursed Ashlar

Process: Finely cut and dressed stones
Uses: Heavy structures, piers and abutments
Style: Heavy, engineered pattern

Coursed ashlar stone masonry is a construction built from tooled and dressed ashlar stone with uniform properties throughout. High in cost, labor, and waste caused by the tooling processes, coursed ashlar masonry is laid with equal heights and joints between every consecutive layer of construction.
Details & Downloads
Coursed ashlar stone masonry is a construction built from tooled and dressed ashlar stone with uniform properties throughout. High in cost, labor, and waste caused by the tooling processes, coursed ashlar masonry is laid with equal heights and joints between every consecutive layer of construction.
Details & Downloads

Common Questions