What is Ashlar Masonry? | Uses of Ashlar Masonry| Ashlar Masonry Advantages and Disadvantages

What is Ashlar Masonry? | Uses of Ashlar Masonry| Ashlar Masonry Advantages and Disadvantages

What is Ashlar Masonry? | Uses of Ashlar Masonry| Ashlar Masonry Advantages and Disadvantages | Rubble Masonry Vs Ashlar Masonry |Coursed Ashlar Masonry Vs Uncoursed Ashlar Masonry

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What is Ashlar Masonry?

Ashlar masonry is a form of brickwork that can be seen in many different places, such as the White House.

It’s made up of large blocks of stone which are shaped to fit together seamlessly and create a solid wall.

Ashlar masonry is a technique of stonemasonry that uses shaped blocks to construct the walls of buildings.

It can be seen in many old churches and public buildings, as well as private homes. Ashlars are used because they have flat surfaces on two sides which make them easier to stack and build with than stones or bricks.

The ashlar pattern also has an aesthetic appeal, making it visually interesting when looking at the building from different angles.

Ashlar masonry was developed by medieval European stonecutters who had access to few tools but wanted to create durable structures out of rubble stone.

These cutters would use a hammer and chisel to carve blocks into rectangles, then stack these pieces together like puzzle pieces for stability in keeping the walls upright.

These masons developed a very unique style of masonry, one that utilizes large blocks of stone instead of smaller stones or bricks.

Ashlar masonry is a formal stonemasonry technique that can only be performed by skilled stonemasons with the proper tools and knowledge (like carving stones).

It is commonly used in Gothic architecture, but it has been adapted by modern architects and engineers for their projects as well.

What is Ashlar Masonry?

Example of ashlar masonry at remains of the Knossos Palace

Rubble Masonry Vs Ashlar Masonry

Rubble is rough, unfinished stone that has been broken into large pieces. Ashlar Masonry is a type of masonry where the stones are perfectly cut to fit together tightly without any gaps or cracks.

Ashlars have smooth surfaces with square edges and straight lines. The stones in an ashlar wall will differ in size but they will be approximately the same height as each other.

There is less chance for water to seep into an ashlar wall because there are no gaps between stones which would allow water to penetrate through the joints of the mortar connecting them together.

This makes it stronger than a rubble wall which may have spaces and holes due to its irregular shape and uneven surface area exposed that are often minimally treated.

Ashlar is linked to but separate from other finely finished but non-quadrilateral stone masonry, such as curvilinear and polygonal masonry.

Coursed Ashlar Masonry Vs Uncoursed Ashlar Masonry

Ashlar can be coursed, which entails laying long horizontal layers of stone blocks in parallel, resulting in continuous horizontal seams. Ashlar can also be random, which contains stone blocks put with intentionally discontinuous courses, resulting in discontinuous joints both vertically and horizontally.

In any scenario, a connecting substance such as mortar is typically used to bind the blocks together, however dry ashlar construction, metal ties, and other means of assembly have been used.

Uses of Ashlar Masonry

  1. The most common use of Ashlar masonry is to construct walls in a building, such as the White House.
  2. Where ashlar masonry is used, it is usually on the exterior walls, as it provides a beautiful and visually appealing finish to the building.
  3. It can also be used for radiant heating systems, which are used in some modern buildings.
  4. Fireplaces are another function of ashlar masonry, as they can range from simple stone hearths to elaborate marble fireplaces.
  5. Ashlar masonry is a very stable form of masonry, because it allows the stonemasons to create a solid wall of stones instead of adhering to bricks and mortar.
  6. Ashlar masonry can be used for floors as well, because it provides more stability than wood or concrete.
  7. It is very common for ashlar masonry to be used in roofing projects, because it is so strong and durable for tall buildings.

Ashlar Masonry Advantages and Disadvantages

Ashlar Masonry Advantages

1. Ashlar Masonry are Durable:

Ashlar masonry provides the stonemasons with a form of stone that is much more stable than the typical rubble stone.

It has straight surfaces on two sides, rather than having jagged or irregular surfaces on all four sides.

Ashlar masonry blocks can endure tremendous forces, which makes them perfect for building tall buildings such as skyscrapers.

2. Ashlar Masonry is Beautiful:

Ashlar masonry is a very impressive form of architecture because it can be seen from multiple angles throughout the day and night, and changes based on when the sun is shining through it.

3. Ashlar Masonry is Easy to Build:

It is very easy for a qualified stonemason to create ashlar masonry. The tool used for shaping the blocks of stone are very simple and efficient, making it easy to shape the stones into desired shapes.

4. Ashlar Masonry is Strong:

Ashlar masonry blocks are very strong, strong enough to hold up the weight of people walking on the ground floor.

In fact, though there is no frame supporting the weight of a building, these stones could still withstand some great force, like a bomb blast.

5. Ashlar Masonry is Energy Efficiency:

Ashlar masonry is great for insulation because the stones can keep heat away from a building.

Many old buildings with ashlar masonry are still standing not because of bricks or mortar, but rather because of the strength and sturdiness of these stone walls.

6. Ashlar Masonry is Versatile:

Ashlar masonry can be used in almost any type of building or structure. No matter what type of application ashlar masonry is being used for, it always looks great and is very durable.

Ashlar Masonry Disadvantages

1. Ashlar Masonry is Expensive:

Ashlar masonry is not cheap, as every stone block needs to be shaped and cut. It is also very labor intensive.

Ashlar masonry can be expensive, especially if it is a large project requiring many different types of stones.

2. Ashlar Masonry Requires Specialized Tools:

The tools used for cutting and shaping the stones are only designed for stonemasons, and are not commonly used by general builders.

3. Ashlar Masonry is Hard to Build:

Ashlar masonry is very hard to build because of the precision it takes in cutting and fitting all the stones together.

4.  Ashlar Masonry Materials Not Readily Available:

The material needed for ashlar masonry are not always readily available, as they have to be transported from a quarry to the construction site.

5. Ashlar Masonry requires High Level of Skill:

The stonemason must be skilled and knowledgeable in cutting these huge stones, because any mistake could ruin the entire project.

Types of Ashlar Masonry

1. Rubble Ashlar Masonry

Rubble ashlar masonry is an ancient form of masonry that uses irregularly shaped rough stone.

It is common in medieval construction.

2. Dressed Ashlar Masonry

Veneering is a stonemasonry technique used to give a rough stone wall a smooth, even surface by replacing stones in the wall with ones that have been carefully cut and shaped.

Dressing is another term for veneering.

 3. Chamfered Ashlar Masonry

Chamfered masonry is a type of ashlar-masonry in which the strip given around the perimeter of the visible face is chamfered at a 45-degree angle to a depth of 25 mm.

4. Random Ashlar Masonry

Random ashlar masonry is the most common form of stonemasonry, and it involves laying stone in advance.

 5. Square Ashlar Masonry

The process of square ashlar masonry starts with the quarrying.

Quarrying is a method used to extract valuable materials such as stone from the ground.

Quarrying requires careful planning to ensure that the extracted stone will be suitable for building purposes.

In quarrying, waste rock is also removed so that usable material can be easily obtained.

6. Dressed Rubble Ashlar Masonry

Dressed rubble ashlar masonry is a term used when stones are selected from a rubble wall and dressed with chisels for use in another project.

7. Coursed Ashlar Masonry

Coursed ashlar masonry is a stonemasonry technique in which stones used for the construction of a wall are laid out in courses, or rows.

It is also known as block construction.

8. Tooled Ashlar Masonry

Rough tooled ashlar masonry is a style of ashlar masonry in which the beds and sides are beautifully chiseled dressed while the exposed face and rough exposed finish are done by rough tooling.

Ashlar fine tooled masonry is the finest style of ashlar masonry, and to remove all unevenness, the bed, joints, and faces of the stones are chisel-dressed, and joints are exactly horizontal and vertical.

In this kind, the mortar joints are narrow, resulting in a highly close and packed finish.

Ashlar Masonry FAQs

1. What is Ashlar masonry?

Ashlar masonry is beautifully dressed (cut, worked) stone, either as an individual stone treated into squared or as a structure formed from it.

The word “ashlar” comes from the Arabic word meaning a stone that can be cut and polished smooth.

Ashlar masonry is any type of stonework that consists of blocks laid in courses with joints made to form an even surface, as opposed to rubble which has an irregular surface.

Stonecutters will often use trim stones, pieces with a different color or texture than those being used for the main wall, to create borders around windows and doors.

Ashlar can have very thin joints between blocks because it is precisely cut “on all faces adjacent to those of other stones,” and the visible face of the stone can be quarry-faced or feature a variety of treatments: tooled, smoothly polished, or rendered with another material for decorative effect.

One such decorative treatment is the creation of tiny grooves with a metal comb. This ornamentation, termed as “mason’s drag,” is typically found only on softer stone ashlar.

2. What is random ashlar masonry?

Random uncoursed ashlar is a stone building technique that employs highly tooled ashlar stones put in random and discontinuous courses.

Uncoursed ashlar, which is made up of diverse size stones with highly processed and dressed rectangular shapes, creates a more organic design while remaining structurally strong with engineered and controlled joints and bonding.

3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of ashlar masonry?

Ashlar masonry is easier to repair and easier to dress than mass concrete.

It may require some maintenance, but because ashlar masonry is in the form of individual blocks placed on a structure, repairs are usually easy to perform.

There is one disadvantage of ashlar masonry: it takes a long time to build.

4. How much does ashlar masonry cost?

The cost will vary based on the budget of your project, the materials used, and the level of complexity of your project.

“Dressed” ashlar is the most common type of ashlar masonry, and can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 per square foot. On average, this type of masonry can cost between $10 to $30 per stone in structural use.

Ashlar is also used for decorative purposes, and can be priced anywhere from $30 to over $100 per square foot.

A typical house built with ashlar masonry will cost an average of about $15-$30 per square foot.

5. How is ashlar masonry made?

It is made by cutting and dressing of stones into polished ashlar.

Ashlar masonry is cut, dressed, and polished into blocks that are fit together to create a finished wall.

The stones are cut using a chisel, and the stone’s surface is either ground with abrasive stones or sanded to help polish the surfaces, or is left unfinished (known as “rough ashlar”) for another application.

Ashlar was used in the construction of buildings as a way to build thinner, more stable, and longer lasting partitions.

6. Are there different types of ashlar masonry?

Yes there different types of ashlar masonry such as: random ashlar, coursed (coursed) ashlar, tooled ashlar and flush or smooth ashlar.

7.   Why is ashlar masonry used instead of brick and mortar?

Ashlar masonry is used instead of brick and mortar because it is easier to build and it does not require any form of mortar.

8. Which is the best type of stone for ashlar masonry?

It depends on the strength of each stone and the size of each stone.

9. What happens if you do not place enough stones in your ashlar masonry?

If you do not place enough stones in your ashlar masonry, it will appear that your wall does not have any strength.

10.What are the different types of joints used in masonry construction?

There are many types of joints used in masonry construction.

(a) Half-joint: It is the simplest form of joint

(b) Spalled joint: The stones are kept at right angles to each other by using small pieces of stone known as spalls.

(c) Hollow-joint: The joint is hollowed and filled with mortar, which binds the two stones together. It is also known as doweled or concealed joint.

(d) Wedged Joint: It is the combination of half and spalled joints. The joints are placed so that the wedges (small pieces of stone) are placed across the joint where they meet. This type of joint is known as alternating wedged and half joint.

(e) Lap joint: The edges of stones are notched and shaped so that they fit in a groove along the length, both longitudinally and transversely.

11.  How is ashlar masonry done?

Ashlar masonry is a style of stone construction in which all stones are dressed or cut to have a consistent shape, size, and surface appearance.

They are then set in horizontal courses, or layers, with only a thin layer of a supporting material known as mortar between them.

12.  How does the ashlar pattern look?

The ashlar laying pattern is similar to the brick pattern layout, but each row is offset by half the width of the paver. Each column is offset vertically by half a paver’s length.

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