House Construction Materials

House Construction Materials - Stone

Types of house construction materials such as stone.

Craftsman Style

¶ From the importance of good walls as a primary demand in all buildings and houses, it follows that the consideration of the quality of materials of which they are composed, as well as the manner in which the conjunction or adhesion of parts can be most thoroughly effected, is a matter of no small consequence.

¶ Stone. - Being a natural production, and not only adapted to the requirements of building with but little preparation, but from its nature conducive to the permanency of artificial structures, stone, as an element of wall building, is entitled to the first rank, and therefore to early notice. Without going into a geological disquisition on the subject, we may speak of the relative value of different kinds of stone; not always with the certainty we could wish, from the fact that time enough has not elapsed since an interest has been awakened to the vast importance of knowing the qualities of the stone employed. Experience seems to be the best test; although the science of chemistry may be sufficient for the geologist, the architect is better satisfied with the proofs of time.

Types of Stone

Dampness of Stone

¶ The principal objection that has been urged against stone houses is that they are always damp. This is true, as they are usually constructed without any attention to the possibility of preventing this fruitful source of calamity. Stone walls having their foundations in damp soil, will inevitably be damp from capillary attraction, common lime mortar forming no impediment to the upward passage of moisture into the main wall of the house which as a consequence will seldom be quite dry.

¶ The most effectual remedy for this is to build the underground portion of the walls with mortar made of Rosendale or any similar cement. The interior rooms of a house in which the plaster is laid immediately on the stone walls must always be more or less damp, because all stone is in some degree pervious to water, and will therefore transmit the dampness from without, and because the inner surface of the wall, maintaining nearly the same temperature as the outer, condenses, or, as it were, extracts the moisture from the atmosphere of the rooms. Two methods are offered for the prevention of this, both depending on the intervention of a hollow space for the circulation of air. The first is to firr-off the plastering with vertical wall strips; the second, to form a hollow wall by building up a single thickness of brick on the inside, and connecting it with the stone wall while in the course of erection.

Color of Stone

¶ With regard to the effect of the natural color of stone employed in the external surface of houses, a late writer has the following very pertinent remarks: "In choosing stone as a material for building, not only should the size of the house be considered - the more dignified and grave character of the mansion allowing with good effect the employment of a much darker stone than the simple and more cheerful character of the small cottage - but the expression of the style of architecture should also be considered".

¶ "A light and cheerful villa, composed in the Italian or Venetian style, would almost lose its expression of cheerfulness if built in dark-blue limestone, while a Gothic villa or mansion of large size would have its antique character supported and developed by such a material. A little reflection will convince any observing person of taste, that the color of a stone building has a great deal to do with its expression, and with the effect it has upon our feelings; and that the outward hue which the material employed will force the edifice forever after to represent to the eye, is a point worthy of very serious consideration".

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