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Many types of stones are available such as basalt, marble, limestone, sandstone, quartzite, travertine, slate, gneiss, laterite, and granite which can be used as construction materials. The stones used for building construction should be hard, durable, tough, and should be free from weathered soft patches of material, cracks, and other defects that are responsible for the reduction of strength and durability. Stones for construction purposes are obtained by quarrying from solid massive rocks.

Each type of stone lend itself to various construction applications based on its properties. For instance, certain types like basalt and granite have superior characteristic like high compressive strength and durability and hence employed in major construction works. However, there are stones that their characteristics (such low compressive strength and presence of deleterious materials in their constituents) makes them suitable for minor construction works for example gneiss. So, stones are used as building material and also for decorative purposes.

10 Types of Stones Used for Building Constructions

1. Basalt

Basalt stone, which is also known as traps, is commonly used in road construction, as aggregate in concrete production, rubble masonry works for bridge piers, river walls, and dams. The basalt stone structure is medium to fine grained and compact.

Basalt
Fig. 1: Basalt

The compression strength of this stone type ranges from 200MPa to 350Mpa, and its weight is between 18KN/m3 and 29KN/m3. Basalt has good resistant to weather, impervious to moisture, very hard, and very difficult to dress in fine shapes. The color of basalt changes from dark gray to black.

Basalt Stone Used in Building Construction
Fig. 2: Basalt Stone Used in Building Construction

2. Granite

The application of granite in building construction involves bridge piers, retaining walls, dams, curbs, stone columns, as coarse aggregate in concrete, ballast for railways, as damp-proof course and external cladding of walls, and monumental utilizations. The structure of granite is crystalline, fine to coarse grain.

Granite Stone
Fig. : Granite Stone

It is considerably hard and durable, and its compression strength ranges from 100MPa to 250MPa. It also has low absorption value, least porosity, good resistance to frost and weathering but it has poor resistance to fire. It takes polish well, and the color varies from light gray to pink. The polished granite can be used as table tops, cladding for columns and walls.

Granite Stone Used for the Construction of a Building
Fig. 4: Granite Stone Used for the Construction of a Building

3. Sandstone

Sandstones in combination with silica cement are used in the construction of heavy structures. It is also employed in masonry works, dams, bridge piers, and river walls. It is composed of quartz and feldspar and found in different colors such as white, grey, red, buff, brown, yellow, and dark gray. The compressive strength ranges between 20MPa and 170MPa, and specify gravity varies from 1.85 to 2.7. It should be known that weathering sandstone makes it unsuitable for building construction.

Sandstone
Fig. 5: Sandstone
Sandstone Building
Fig. 6: Sandstone Building

4. Slate

Slate shows great variation in its building properties which depend on the thickness of the sheets and the color of the rock. It is used as roofing tiles, slabs, and pavements. It consists of quartz, mica, and clay minerals. The compression strength of slate changes from 100MPa to 200MPa, and its color can be dark gray, greenish gray, purple gray to black. The structure of slate is fine grained and its specific gravity is 2.6 to 2.7.

Slate stone
Fig. 7: Slate stone

5. Limestone

All Limestones are not useful for building construction. Undesirable types are rich in clay or are considerably soft and practically not suitable for construction works. However, dense, compact, and fine textured types which are free from cavities and cracks can be easily dressed and take a very fine polish.

Limestone
Fig. 8: Limestone

Limestone is used for flooring, roofing, pavements and as a base material for cement. The use of limestones as facing stones should be avoided in areas where the air is polluted with industrial gases and also in coastal regions where saltish winds can attack them.

Limestone Used for the Construction of Buildings
Fig. 9: Limestone Used for the Construction of Buildings

6. Laterite

Laterite is used as building stone, but its outer surface needs to be plastered. It contains a high percentage of iron oxide and can be easily cut into blocks. Laterite occurs in soft and hard varieties and the compressive strength of laterite is between 1.9MPa and 2.3 MPa, and its strength is increased with seasoning. Laterite color may be brownish, red, yellow, brown and grey.

Laterite Cut to Blocks
Fig. 10: Laterite Cut to Blocks

7. Marble

It is used for facing and ornamental works in columns, flooring, and steps. The compressive strength of marble varies from 70MPa to 75MPa. Marble stones are quite strong, uniform in texture, least porous, and take an excellent polish. It can be easily cut and carved into different shapes. Marble is available in different colors like white and pink.

Marble Used for Flooring
Fig. 11: Marble Used for Flooring
Aesthetically Appealing Structure Constructed from Marble Stone
Fig. 12: Aesthetically Appealing Structure Constructed from Marble Stone

8. Gneiss

This type of stone is used for minor construction since the presence of deleterious substances in its constituents makes it undesirable for building construction. However, hard varieties of gneiss stone may be employed in construction works. The compression strength varies from 50MPa to 200MPa. It has fine to coarse grains, and its color may be light grey, pink, purple, greenish gray and dark grey.

Gneiss Stone
Fig. 13: Gneiss Stone

9. Quartzite

It is used as building blocks, slabs, and as aggregate for concrete. The structure of quartzite is fine to coarse grain and mostly granular and branded, and mainly composed of feldspar and mica in small quantities. The crushing strength is between 50MPa to 300MPa.They are available in different colors like white, gray, yellowish.

Application of Quartzite Stone in Building Construction
Fig. 13: Application of Quartzite Stone in Building Construction

10. Travertine

It is used for paving, garden paths, and courtyards. Its specific gravity is 1.68 and compressive strength varies from 80-120 MPa. The stone is characterized by pitted holes and troughs in its surface which means that it has a porous surface and concentric texture. It can be polished to a smooth, shiny finish, and comes in a variety of colors from grey to coral-red.

Travertine
Fig. 15: Travertine

About Madeh Izat HamakareemVerified

Madeh is a Structural Engineer who works as Assistant Lecturer in Koya University. He is the author, editor and partner at theconstructor.org.