A natural stone wall is a versatile landscape element that adds function and visual appeal to your Stafford, NJ, residence. Natural stone comes in a range of colors, sizes, and textures and can be built in a variety of different styles. Here we’ll take a look at some of these types and styles:
Laying Natural Stone
Natural stone is typically laid in a “dry stacked style” where the constructor doesn’t use mortar to stabilize the stones. Instead, the stones are selected and stacked by interlocking stones whose weight gives strength to the wall. Natural stone walls are typically shorter than 4 feet and are used to create level areas or terraces, decorative accents, and steps.
Natural stone can also be laid using mortar that keeps the stones more secure and prevents them from falling from the wall. This technique is useful when building walls that are used as backyard seating or other load-bearing tasks. When using mortar - a mixture of dry cement, lime, and masonry sand - the stones can be roughly the same size and shape. This can be a challenge with natural stone, so typically, the largest stones are used at the base of the structure. Mortar secures the natural stone wall together but increases maintenance and will need to be re-pointed after a certain time.
Solid Stone Structures
Solid stone structures use large stones placed next to each other as a base. They can be seamed or left as such and are commonly used in landscape, environmental, park construction and in traffic areas. These structures are often exposed to great variety of influences that can cause damage, such as traffic, climate, humidity and mechanical loads. Therefore, they are built with large, solid stones.
Circular Stone Structures
This type of stone masonry is built with naturally worn, rounded stones that are not mechanically manufactured. Before using them, the contractor makes sure to clean the stones and pile them in a random, natural pattern, suitable for their un-oriented, granular appearance.
By using a combination of quarried stone and flat sedimentary rock of different sizes, the contractor creates an irregular pattern with a horizontal emphasis. To get the desired shape and size, the stones can be mechanically processed. For a stronger structure, the constructor puts the smaller stones between the larger.
Straight-lined masonry uses stones equal in size that continue horizontally. To break the evenness and regularity of the straight lines, the constructor can incorporate different sizes, shapes, and even another type of natural stone. The stones are sawed and their surface is treated with a finish.
Unlike straight-lined structures, the walls built in this style don’t include horizontal joints. The stones have a polygonal shape, with a thickness of around 4 inches, sawed or split on site. Natural stones that have a flat shape and a surface finish can also be used for this type of masonry.
Also known as mixed ashlar, rubble masonry uses rectangular ashlars of various sizes with discontinuous joints. The slabs are generally in excess of 4 inches but in certain cases, walls can be built from thinner tiles.
Image courtesy of Eldorado Stone