Stone walls

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What is a stone home?

A stone home has walls built from solid stone, using the techniques of stone and rubble masonry or dry stone. A true stone home’s walls are load bearing - they carry the weight of the roof as well as any upper floors. Stone is a traditional building material with many positive features.

 

Stone walls 
Stone walls can be strong, durable and attractive, and can also help to improve energy efficiency.

Why install stone walls?

Stone walls have numerous benefits. The use of stone gives walls an interesting and often spectacular finish, whether you want your home to resemble a quaint cottage or an imposing castle. Providing you choose the right sort of stone, a well built stone structure can literally last for hundreds of years.

For more durable walls, a hard stone such as granite should be chosen. Softer stones like sandstone and limestone may wear down over time and can deteriorate in contact with pollution. Their resistance to fire and strong winds improves the durability of stone walls. Most stone has a naturally high thermal mass, so it absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night, cutting down on your heating and cooling costs. Extra insulation will assist in making a stone home especially energy efficient.

Stone is a naturally occurring building material that can often be sourced for no charge. You might use stone from your own property or you might find a local landowner happy for you to clear it from their property. Local quarries can also be a source of cheap stone for building. As long as the stones are locally sourced, the lack of manufacturing required makes stone an ecologically sound building material.

 

How are stone walls installed?

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First, choose stone that is strong without being brittle. Check the stones for cracks and fissures. Depending on how you want your home to look, stone walls can either be made from rocks in natural form (rubble masonry), or stone that has been cut into bricks (stone masonry). Typically, a foundation is laid and then the stones are assembled together using mortar to create your walls. The mortar helps the structure stay together as well as weatherproofing your home. Walls can be built without the use of mortar, using the less common ‘dry stone’ technique. Dry stone walls often have a layer of earth sandwiched between layers of stone to improve insulation, and the walls are thicker at the base to help stabilise the structure.

 

Maintenance

Stone walls should be be checked regularly to ensure the mortar is intact. Any crumbling mortar should be scraped away and replaced. Dry stone should also be examined for problems. Aside from mortar repairs and standard yearly cleaning, stone homes have minimal maintenance requirements.

 

Advantages
  • Can be sourced cheaply
  • Good thermal regulation
  • Attractive
  • Low maintenance
  • Durable
  • Strong
  • Natural and environmentally friendly
Disadvantages
  • Poor insulation
  • Can be a difficult method of building
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