Stone Mortar Analysis Work

Stone Mortar Analysis Work

October 4, 2019

What you probably never knew about stone mortar analysis.

The MD tasked me with a blog on stone and mortar analysis. I must admit, I wasn’t too keen. I had images of me falling asleep at my desk.I then thought about all the people who would possibly read my blog, and while I appreciate some of you will be industry professionals, I’m also aware that many of you are contractors or even domestic customers, end users if like, and, if you’re anything like me, you don’t actually know the technical side of stonemasonry. We’ve never had a need to know!

But what happens when you do?

After a bit of in-depth research, I now know quite a bit, so here’s the information that I think might be useful to you ………

If you’re having your stonework repaired by us, it’s quite possible that we will require stone and mortar analysis.

There are various reasons for analysing stone and mortar, but, here at Stratum Masonry, the main reasons we have it done is so:

1. We know what the mortar is made up of so that we can either replicate it, or, if we’re repairing someone else’s work, identify why it hasn’t been successful.  (If you’ve read any of my posts on the Stratum Masonry Facebook page, you’ll know that I go on quite a bit about never using cement with stone. It’s one of the first things I learned when I came to work here.)

2. We know the porosity or permeability of the stone.Historically, stone analysis was carried out visually, however, we know that if you want a long lasting repair, you need to be able to work out exactly what the stone comprises of.

Imagine (or just look out your window) that it’s a soaking wet day outside. Your stone wall is being battered by the wind and rain. If you have a replacement stone in your wall that is less permeable than the stones surrounding it, then, over time, those surrounding stones will probably deteriorate.

Likewise, if it’s more permeable, then it’s going to deteriorate more than the stones around it and within a shorter time.

Who knew!Now, the actual process for examining the stone and mortar is all very scientific. It involves microscopes, x-rays and chemicals and such. It’s done off site by a specialist company and it can take a couple of weeks for the tests to be done but it’s a necessary process. There’s no point in paying for a repair if it’s not going to last as long as it could if it was repaired correctly, and analysis plays a huge part in this.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to message us via the website or email me at Our MD is always on hand with his expertise too.

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