Stone is a whole world unto itself, filled with jargon and terms you may not have heard before. We’ve been dealing with it for years and so thought we’d take the opportunity of explaining the terminology to help our customers understand the difference between products, processes and finishes. If you’re still confused after reading this, don’t worry – give us a call or pop in to see us and we can help you!
Calibrated refers to the size of stone – often its thickness. If a stone is calibrated it is all one size, usually with about a 5mm tolerance (essentially a bit of a leeway) either side.
Chiselled Edge (Fettled or Natural Edge)
With natural riven flagstones having a hand chiselled or fettled edge is popular as it matches the natural unique style. With a distinctive soft look a fettled edge is cut by hand with a hammer and chisel. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘Natural Edge’.
You’ll see the term ‘sawn edges’ when referring to natural stone paving slabs. This is where the tone has been cut neatly to a specified size. Unlike a natural chiselled edge the edges of this type of paving will be straight and clean cut.
Cleaning your stone is easy with the right tools. There are a variety of stone cleaning solutions that do a great job when combined with a power washer. For more information read our aftercare guide.
Rather than in a completely random form, cropped stone has been loosely cut into sizes with a large guillotine for ease of use. This applies to walling stone and setts. Some cropped walling may be ‘dressed’ at the next stage of production.
Coursed stone walls are built in distinct layers of similar sized stone. As opposed to normal brick walls that are built in courses, the random lengths and variable heights of coursed stone still produces a degree of uniqueness.
Dressing the stone applies to a number of production methods which might happen after quarrying and cutting/cropping. Dressing methods include sawing, polishing, sandblasting, hand chiselling and more.
When stone is sawn, the face isn’t complete and needs honing, which is essentially sanding the stone down to make it smooth and gives the stone its contemporary style. In comparison to polished stone, honing produces a dull sheen as opposed to a glossy shine.
Refers to the breaking of stone – usually applies to flints in a process that is used to reveal the central defining colour of the stone.
Reclaimed stone differs from quarried stone in that it has been taken off an existing site – often commercial/public areas such as high streets or churches where the stone will have been for hundreds of years. Being reclaimed it has great ‘green’ connotations but is also highly sought-after so more expensive.
Riven stone usually refers to flagstones in their most natural form. Compared to the sleek, continuous flat surface of a sawn stone, riven flagstones have their own individual character with bumps, ridges and a rugged appearance.
Sawn stone has undergone some production after quarrying to produce paving or setts that are sawn to a range of textures, often smooth, producing a more contemporary style. Sometimes this can relate to just the edges, but often refers to the whole product – also known as ‘sawn six sides’. Sawn stone is not slippery, as is sometimes believed.
There are a huge range of stone sealants on the market with varying effects. Sealing isn’t always needed, although it would be recommended for darker paving which can soften in the sun. If sealing, it’s recommended to do it as soon as it’s laid to preserve the colour. Sealing can also make cleaning your stone easier and protect it from moss and algae.
Setts might also be known as paving cobbles, paving bricks or even confused with block paving. Cropped into small, brick-like pieces as well as sawn for a contemporary finish, setts are a Roman style of paving and can be laid in traditional and modern designs. Stone setts can also be used as walling stones in some cases.
Tumbled stones have been through a tumbling machine, which is a bit like a large, slow cement mixer. The process smooths the edges, rounds off the corners and softens the face, creating a softer more worn and rustic style.