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The following is a list of definitions for commonly used words in the cast stone industry:


Absorption: Percentage of moisture absorption by weight after immersion in water.


Acid Etching: A process of applying a solution of hydrochloric or muriatic acid and water to the exposed surface of Cast Stone in order to remove the cement film from the aggregates, achieving a fine-grained finish which simulates natural cut stone.


Admixtures: Chemicals used to improve the physical properties of Cast Stone that are tested periodically to comply with ASTM standards including absorption, linear shrinkage and freeze-thaw.


Air Content: The amount of entrained air in wet cast unit. This does not apply to cast stone that has been produced using the dry vibrant tamp method.


Air Voids: Surface imperfections with restricted size and occurrences in cast stone units.


Anchor/Anchor systems: Metal device(s) use to secure the Cast Stone to a rigid structure.


Architrave: The bottom portion of an entablature bearing on the column capitals and supporting frieze.


Arris: Angle, corner or edge of the Cast Stone.


Ashlar: Flat units, square or rectangular in size, bonded and laid in mortar.

Backup: Mix concrete, normally composed of concrete, sand, gravel and grey cement: used for the unexposed portion of the Cast Stone.


Baluster/Balustrade System: A baluster is a small, single piece, column or other vertical shape that when placed together with other balusters, a base plate and hand rail becomes a balustrade system.


Band Course/Belt Course: A continuous horizontal course of Cast Stone incorporated in a wall above the base course and below the frieze.


Banding: A distinct line of Cast Stone material usually used as a trim or contrasting color strategically placed around the building in a single continuous horizontal line.


Base Course: A Continuous horizontal course that sets on the brick ledge. It is the first course set in a wall.


Bed Joint: The joint which the stone sets on. It is normally filled with mortar or backer rod and sealant.


Bevel/Chamfer: A slanted surface which connects two external surfaces forming two arrises. They are usually found at a 45 degree angle to the adjacent principal faces.


Bughole: An unacceptable air void in a finished surface.


Bull Nose: A rounded convex trim design which usually starts at the top of the Cast Stone unit and returns to the predominant face.

Capital: Uppermost member of a column or pilaster crowning the shaft.


Cast Stone: A refined architectural concrete building unit manufactured to simulate natural cut stone, used in unit masonry  applications for residential, commercial and landscaping décor.


Coarse Aggregate: Aggregate predominantly retained on the no. 4 (4.74-mm) sieve (sifting through a screen or mesh).


Coated Rebar: Rebar (a deformed steel unit used to reinforce Cast Stone material) coated with a zinc alloy or epoxy. Rebar is normally used when it can be placed at least 1-1/2 inches from the exposed surface.


Chain:  A stack of Quoins (decorative Cast Stone Unit block at the corner of a wall) usually cast in a contracting color from the main wall which can be placed in a staggered pattern to give a unique appearance.


Chamfer/Bevel: A surface which connects two external surfaces forming two arrises. They are usually found at a 45 degree angle to the adjacent principal faces.


Coloring: The process of (or material used for) tinting the hue of Cast Stone, normally achieved through the use of aggregates or inorganic iron oxide pigments.


Columns: A pillar, usually consisting of a round shaft, a capital and a base. Cast stone material is not load bearing so the pillar is usually constructed with a supportive vertical beam inside that the pieces wrap around.


Coping: Stone unit use to cap off the top of a wall primarily used to protect the wall from natural elements, adding an aesthetic value to the wall. One can also see this used along steps and pool edging.


Cornice: A molded piece at the top of an entablature projected with an ogee (S shaped curve with two arcs curving in opposite senses) profile at the top leading edge with other reliefs below.


Course: The horizontal scope of units incorporated in a wall.


Cramp: A “U” or “C” shaped metal anchor used to attach two abutting units.


Crazing: A series of hairline cracks, horizontally, vertically or diagonally in a spider web effect, normally less than 1/32 of an inch in depth in the outer surface of a concrete product. Crazing does not constitute rejection of Cast Stone material. It can usually be cleaned using a mild muriatic solution. Once cleaned it should be sealed to prevent dirt and dust from penetrating the cracks.


Curing: The process of hydrating the Portland Cement in Cast Stone to a specified age or compressive strength in a warm, moist environment.

Dentil Block: Projections of an entablature below the cornice course.


Dowel: Round, usually non-corrosive, metal pin used in anchoring and align cast stone.


Drip: A continuous grove cut or cast into the bottom of the projecting edge of Cast Stone in order to disrupt the capillary attraction of water to the wall below.

Dry Cast: Concrete products manufactured from zero slump concrete. (See Vibrant Dry Tamp)


Dunnage: Packaging material used to store cargo. It can be made up of would matting or similar materials.

Edging: The Hand tooling of the arris (edge, angle, corner).


Efflorescence: Visibly observable signs of chemical reactions of moisture, a crystalline like deposit, onto a portion of a masonry wall that at certain angles can look as if it sparkles. It is usually white in nature. According to the ASTM C 1364 Standard specifications, it is not grounds for rejection of the Cast Stone material.

Entablature:  The superstructure of moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals. Entablatures are major elements of classical architecture, and are commonly divided into the architrave (the supporting member carried from column to column, pier or wall immediately above), the frieze (an unmolded strip that may or may not be ornamented), and the cornice (the projecting member below the pediment). The structure of the entablature varies with the three classical orders: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.

Entasis: The portion of a classic column which has a diminishing arc on the shaft. The lower third of the column is straight. The upper two thirds entasis column has a diminishing diameter in the shaft as it spans upwards.

Erection: Setting of large stone usually with a crane.

Estrados: The outer portion of an arch.

Face: The exposed portion of the Cast Stone after it is installed.

Facing Mix: Materials used for the portion of Cast Stone which is exposed after installed.

Fascia: A broad and well defined continuous horizontal band of Cast Stone at least header high.

Feather Edge: A thin edge with an arris (angle, corner) considerably less than 90o. It is named because of its frailty when handled. (See Quirk Miter)

Fillet: Continuous raised lug at the top back of a window sill. It serves as a moisture barrier and as a seat for the window sash.

Fine aggregate: Aggregate passing the 4.75-mm (no. 4) sieve (sifter) and retained on the No. 200 (75-cm) sieve.

Finish: The final exposed surface of Cast Stone. It is independent of color, but it will control the color intensity. Acid washing is the most popular Cast Stone finish.

Form/Mold: A constructed form made of wood, plaster, rubber, fiberglass and other materials molded to the shape of the Cast Stone piece that will be created from it.

Frieze: A flat unit of an entablature located between the architrave and cornice.

Full bed:  A horizontal joint completely filled with mortar.

Grout: Mortar of pouring consistency.

Header: A stone unit running horizontally over an opening in a wall. It is not self supporting. (A lintel is a unit spanning an opening or carrying the load of the wall above.)

Insert: A metal device cast into a unit normally used for anchoring or handling.

Incise: To case concave or engrave.

Inscription: Characters or numbers cast into a unit.

Intrados: The inner portion of an arch.

Jamb: The vertical unit running up the side of an opening.

Joint: Gap between masonry units filled with mortar or backer rod and sealant.

Jointing Scheme: The jointing pattern shown on the contract documents. Architectural drawings detail dimensions, location, and configuration of stone units and joints as related to the structure.

Keystone: The unit at the center of an arch. It is generally a wedge shaped pieced shaped. You can find these individually set in brick over the entrance to the garage or a doorway, in arches over the windows and as decorative elements on the building/structure.

Lift Hook: A metal devise embedded into the Cast Stone for the purpose of lifting and/or anchoring.

Lintel: A unit spanning an opening and carrying the load of the wall above.

Lug: The portion of a Cast Stone unit running beyond an opening horizontally into a wall. The lug is normally less than a foot in length.

Lug Sill: A window sill built into the wall which runs horizontally beyond the masonry opening.

Masonry: Construction made by laying units of substantial material such as brick, block and Cast Stone.

Miter: The splicing of two Cast Stone profiles at an angle. (See Quirk)

Medallion: An ornamental block.

Model: The positive shape that represents the final product. A mold is formed around a model.

Modillion: Ornamental bracket or block located under a cornice.

Molding: Any linear plane which deviates from a flat surface.

Mortar: A blend of cement, lime, sand, and water which is applied at a pliable consistency to bond masonry units.

  A form in which Cast stone is shaped/tamped in. It can be constructed of wood, plaster, rubber, fiberglass and other materials.

Mullion: A vertical member which forms a separation from adjacent window or door frames.

Newel Pier: Cast Stone box at an intersection or corner of a wall or balustrade system that has decorative sides and topped with a Cast Stone Cap.

Ogee: Is a curve (often used in molding), shaped somewhat like an S, consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite senses, so that the ends are parallel.

Pilaster: Is is a slightly-projecting column built into or applied to the face of a wall. It looks like one-half a column built into the wall. It can be located at strategic places for décor such as at the edge of a doorway or around a door frame.

Pointing: The final tool of a raked out mortar joint.

Precast: A concrete product not poured into place.

Quirk Miter: An end condition cast with a 45 degree angle and an edge put on the point at a 90 degree angle to eliminate feather edging.

Quoin: Cast Stone decorative block used at the corner of a wall.

Recess: A depression in a flat surface.

Reglet: A continuous groove cast or cut into a Cast Stone unit to receive flashing.

Reinforcing: Rebar (steel unit) placed into a cast Stone unit during the manufacturing process to augment the unit during handling or to enable it to carry a structural load (i.e. lintel).

Rebar: A deformed steel unit used for reinforcing Cast Stone material.

Relief: Sculptural technique or other type of ornamentation

Reprise: An internal corner of a profiled unit.

Return: Am external corner of a profiled unit.

Reveal: The side of an opening (as for a window) between a frame and the outer surface of a wall.

Rustication: An incision cast around the outer edges of a unit to produce a shaded effect.

Sample: The specimen submitted to represent the color and texture of Cast Stone which dictates the general range of the color and texture of production pieces.

Setting: The mason’s process of installing and anchoring Cast Stone.

Setting Pads: Non-corrosive pads used to set Cast Stone on in order to prevent the bed joint from compressing at the time of setting.

Setting Drawing: Drawing or plans which the Cast Stone manufacturer submits for approval detailing all aspects of the installation with piece markings and final locations of stones.

Shop Drawing: The drawing which the Cast Stone manufacturer submits for approval showing size and shape of pieces, exposed faces, jointing, anchoring, reinforcing and unit cross section.

Slip Sill: A Cast Stone window sill that fits within the masonry opening.

Soffit: The exposed underside portion of a unit.

Spandrel: A unit spanning an opening with bearing beyond the opening. It is not normally load bearing, but self supporting.

Springer: A unit that is located at the spring line of an arch.

Surround: An encasement of an opening. It can be used with such items as a window, door or fireplace surround.

Template: A type of model used to convey the pattern, shape or profile to be used by the manufacturer in the molding process.

Texture: The finish structure consisting of visual and tactile surface qualities.

Tolerance: Allowable deviation from specified dimensions.

Tracery: Arched ornamental work with interlacing, branching lines. Usually consists of openwork in the head of a Gothic window.


Tooled Finished: A finish obtained by texturing either the mold or the Cast Stone (i.e. bush hammered, six-cut).

Trowel Finish: A finish normally given to the back or unformed side of Cast Stone. This finish may look slightly different than the molded sides of the piece.

Tuck Pointing: The final tooling or pointing of a raked out mortar joint.

Vibrant Dry Tamp: Vibratory/Vibrating ramming of earth moist, zero-slump concrete against a rigid mold until it is densely compacted. Used generally with air hammers.

Volute: The scroll shaped ornament forming the chief feature on an Ionic capital.

Warp: Twist or bowing of final casting measured by deviation from plane and tolerance.

Wash: A sloping horizontal surface formed to cause water to run off.

Water Repellent: Normally a clear sealer sprayed or brushed on the exposed portion of a masonry wall to deflect moisture.

Water Table: The course of Cast Stone that sits on the base course. This course normally transcends an offset in the building.

Weep-hole: An opening normally in a masonry head joint at the bottom of a unit to allow any moisture behind it to escape.

Weld Plate: A square metal device cast flush to the surface for attachment by means of welding.

Wet Cast: Concrete Products manufactured from measurable slump concrete.

Wythe: A continuous vertical section of a masonry wall having a thickness of one masonry unit.




The information in this document is provided as a general reference and guide for our customers. Specific details may be obtained for your individual project by contacting our office.