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ABERDEEN GRANITE   Medium grained, dark bluish-grey stone. Quarried mainly from the Rubislaw Quarry.

ADOBE      Mixture of earth, sand straw and water mixed by hand or machinery, formed into bricks which are then left to dry out in the sun. These are used in a similar way as conventional fired bricks to build walls. Adobe is load bearing.

ALABASTER   Fine grained, whitish, granular variety of Gypsum. Suitable for carving.

ALUMINIUM      Lightweight, strong metal with good corrosive resistance, normally used as an alloy.

ANODIZED ALUMINIUM   Aluminium coated by a protective film of oxides created by electrolosis.

ARTIFICIAL SLATE   A rectangular sheet of roofing material created by a man made process (eg. asbestos cement slate) and made to look like, and used in the same way as, natural slate.

ARTIFICIAL STONE   Synthetically manufactured stone made from natural stone aggregate or reconstituted ceramics or clay, and made to appear natural. Used as solid stone for masonry or for sculptural and architectural ornament.

ARTIFICIAL TIMBER   Synthetic fibres and reconstituted materials imitating, or in the form of, timber created by a man-made process. Use carefully - do not confuse with mock and sham timber work.

ASBESTOS      A mineral crystal of thin, tough fibres which can be woven. Used for high temperature insulation or as reinforcement in asbestos cement building board and corrugated roofing. If used to imitate slate, use artificial slate.

ASHLAR      A square, hewn or worked, high class freestone which can be 'freely' cut and is laid in horizontal courses with vertical joints.

ASPHALT      Solid or viscous bituminous pitch of natural occurrence or produced from petroleum mixed with sand or other aggregate filler, for use in roads or as a covering material.

BAKELITE   Thermosetting plastic commonly used for its properties of electrical insulation.

BALE      Bale walls - see Straw bales.

BAMBOO   Tropical giant grass with hollow stem used structurally or as a covering material.

BANKSHORES    Gabions made of old tyres

BARGATE STONE      Hard, coarse grained, calcareous sandstone, coloured by iron oxide. Quarried in the Guildford and Godalming area of the South East.

BASALT   Basic, black coloured, fine grained igneous rock.

BATH STONE   Even grained, poorly fossiliferous, light brown/cream coloured, oolitic limestone. Quarried in the Bath area.

BEER STONE   Coarse, hard Chalkstone, light grey to white coloured, containing shell fragments.

BEMBRIDGE LIMESTONE   Generic name for the hard, white/cream coloured, freshwater limestone. Quarried on the Isle of Wight.

BERM      Tthe earthen or sod wall or parapet of a ditch or trench. The term especially refers to a low earthern wall adjacent to a ditch. Used in earthworks and military applications.

BITUMEN   A semi solid mixture of complex hydrocarbons derived from coal or petroleum used as a waterproof binder or protective coating.

BITUMINOUS FELT   A material made of felted fibres bonded by bitumen, often used as a roofing material.

BLUE LIAS   Hard white/grey coloured liassic limestone. Quarried on the Devon-Dorset border.

BONE      Any of the pieces of hard tissue consisting largely of calcium phosphate that make up the skeleton of a vertebrate animal.

BRASS   Easily formed metal alloy composed of copper and zinc.

BRECCIA   Sedimentary rock consisting of angular fragments naturally cemented together.

BREEZE BLOCK   Lightweight building block traditionally made with coke breeze from gas works combined with sand and cement. Use this term generally to denote a light, modern concrete building block with man made characteristics.

BRICK   Standard rectangular block or tablet bonded on mortar joints in a regular arrangement or pattern for strength or decoration. Made from clay or brick earth which may contain varying quantities of chalk, lime or iron oxide which effect colour or density.

BRONZE   Hard corrosive resistant alloy of copper and tin. CAEN STONE      Fine grained limestone, yellow or yellow/white in colour. Imported from France, mainly for ecclesiastical use.

CAMPAN MARBLE      White coloured marble. Imported from France.

CANVAS         An unbleached cloth of hemp, flax or other coarse yarn.

CARBONIFEROUS LIMESTONE      Limestones formed during the Carboniferous period. Many are cut, polished and used as marble.

CARRARA MARBLE   Imported Italian marble varying in colour from green, blue, purple to white.

CARSTONE      Coarse hard sandstone often coloured with iron oxide creating its characteristic brown shades.

CAST IRON      Dating from the 15th century, it is a hard alloy of iron and carbon, melted and shaped into various moulded forms.

CEDAR      Durable wood from a non-native, evergreen conifer.

CEMENT      Originally obtained by burning limestone to produce quicklime. Now a fine grey powder made from a mixture of limestone and clay used with water and sand to make mortar or with water, sand and aggregate to make concrete.

CERAMIC   Designating or pertaining to hard, brittle substances produced by strong heating of clay.

CHALK   A soft, porous, white to light grey coloured limestone.

CHERT   A hard silica rich rock, black or brown coloured, commonly found in nodular form.

CLAY      A fine grained earth which becomes more plastic when water is added and can be moulded and dried to make bricks, tile, pottery, etc.

CLAY LUMP      Large, moulded, unburnt blocks of clay type soil laid in a similar way to brick, but bedded in lime and clay 'mortar'. The walls produced are characteristically thinner than those of cob and pise.

CLINKER      Fused ash from furnaces used as aggregate.

CLUNCH      A hard, gritty, grey/green coloured form of chalk.

COADE STONE   Durable artificial stone consisting of china clay, sand and finely ground stoneware cast from moulds and fired in a kiln. Commonly used for architectural ornament and facings.

COB      Walls composed of clay, earth, straw, lime and sand, mixed with water. Constructed without shutters in layers upon a stone or brick plinth and usually covered with protective limewash.

COBBLE   Naturally occurring glacial rock fragments (diameter 64-256mm) larger than pebble and smaller than boulder.

CONCRETE      Composed of sand, stones or other aggregate and cement mixed with water which sets in a hard mass. The material is usually associated with modern building but was developed by Romans where cement was obtained from quicklime.

CONGLOMERATE      Sedimentary rock consisting of rounded pebbles naturally cemented together.

CONNEMARA MARBLE   One of only three 'true' British marbles, green and white in colour, predominantly used in large public buildings.

COPPER   Metal used primarily for roofing and ornamental purposes, being lighter and stronger than lead.

CORK      Buoyant, light material obtained from the cork tree.

COTSWOLD STONE   Sandy, light brown (cream to golden) coloured limestone, easily worked and readily available.

CRETACEOUS LIMESTONE   Limestone formed during the Cretaceous period.

DAUB      Application of earth based plaster to a backing of lath or wattle used in internal or external walls. Composite mixture which may include clay soil, dung, straw, lime putty, sand or horsehair. See Wattle.

DECORATIVE PLASTER      Ornate or patterned decoration, carved into or moulded from plaster.

DEVONIAN LIMESTONE      Limestone formed during the Devonian period, and found predominantly between the Exe and Tamar rivers in Devon. Varying in colour from black/grey to pink/white it was often polished to imitate and be used as marble.

DIORITE   Coarse grained, dark coloured igneous rock.

DOLERITE   Medium grained, intrusive, black or dark green coloured, igneous rock.

DOLOMITE   Soft, often white, but may be transparent. Dolomite can be found on its own, but may also occur as a replacement mineral found in some rocks, particularly limestone, formed after action by magnesium-rich fluids.

DRY STONE WALLING   Stones laid on top of each other with no cement to hold them together. Cheap, low maintainance, flexible system. Used for field boundaries.

EARTH   Combination of organic and inorganic material cohered to form a hard solid wall or covering. Use for structures created by the excavation and piling up of earth, such as ice houses. Earth buildings may be used in combination with other materials.

EARTHBAG      Hessian (burlap) or plastic bag filled with earth, or rocks, used for high strength walls, can be used in green building. See Sandbag

EARTHSHIPS   Earth rammed into discarded tyres, then bermed into a bank and daubed with a cement or lime plaster.

ELM   Deciduous wood from the native elm tree, commonly used for framing or cladding of lesser timber framed structures due to its poorer weathering qualities as compared to oak.

ELVAN   Miner's term for fine grained, often light grey/fawn coloured porphyritic rocks. Commonly found in Devon and Cornwall.

ENCAUSTIC TILE   Glazed and decorated, patterned earthenware tile combining different coloured clays which are inlaid and burnt in. Mainly used for flooring and external decoration.

ENGINEERING BRICK   A dense, high strength, low absorption brick of uniform size, employed predominantly in industrial structures such as railway viaducts.

FAIENCE      Solid masonry slabs (tiles) of terracotta which are usually used as a cladding by bedding in concrete. Faience also refers to decorative glazed units.

FELDSPAR      Hard, often coloured, can be transparent. Found on its own as crystals and veins but also as a major constituent of all three geological rock types.

FELT   Fabric of fibrous materials consolidated by heat and mechanical action so that the fibres are matted together.

FIBREBOARD   A sheet formed from wood which has been separated into its fibrous elements and reconstituted under pressure. The natural fibres produce resins which act as adhesive, but often additional adhesives are used.

FIBREGLASS   Any material consisting of glass filaments woven into a textiles, paper or board.

FIRESTONE      Soft sandstone stained by iron oxide often used in the Surrey area.

FLINT         Hard, durable, dark grey stone, the purest native form of silica, which can either be used decoratively or as a main material. Predominantly found in East Anglia and the South East.

FLUORITE      Soft mineral, colour varying from black/purple to yellow/green. Commonly found as a mineral vein.

FOREST STONE (LEICESTERSHIRE)      Collective name for a series of rocks (granite, syenite, porphry and slate) found in the Charnwood Forest of Leicestershire. Index with specific stone type where given.

FOSSIL   The remains of living organisms preserved in stone over a long time period. This may be the internal or external moulds of, usually, the hard parts of an organism (shells, bones, etc.).

FREESTONE   Stonemason's term for any easily worked sedimentary rock. Index with specific stone type where given.

GABIONS      Rocks and stones held in a mesh. Similar to dry stone walling but for larger and stronger structures. Used for retaining walls, decorative walls, sea storm barriers.

GALVANISED IRON   Iron coated in zinc, which gives protection against weathering.

GALVANISED STEEL   Steel which has been coated with zinc, giving good protection against weathering.

GLASS   Transparent, hard substance made by fusing soda-silica which solidifies from a molten state.

GNEISS   Coarse grained, metamorphic rock in which the colour is dependent upon the predominant mineral.

GOLD      A precious metal characterised by its yellow colour and resistance to tarnishing.

GORSE   A spiny evergreen shrub of the pea family which can be utilized as a roof covering in areas of its predominance, eg. heathland.

GRANITE   A hard, coarse grained, durable igneous rock. Can be used decoratively or as a main material. Found throughout the country.

GRAVEL   Grains of rock fragment larger than coarse sand and finer than pebbles (diameter 2-4mm).

GREENSTONE   Geologist's term for any dark coloured, slightly metamorphosed igneous rock. Index with specific stone type where given.

GRITSTONE (LIMESTONE)   Specific English quarryman's term for any limestone abundant in shell fragments. Use this term with care. When only Gritstone is mentioned, unless otherwise specified, assume it to be Gritstone (Sandstone), since this is the most common usage.

GRITSTONE (SANDSTONE)   Carboniferous sandstone varying in grain size from coarse to fine and in colour from white, yellow, pink to brown. When only Gritstone is mentioned, unless otherwise specified, assume it to be Gritstone (Sandstone), as this is the more common usage.

HAM HILL STONE      Shelly, gold/brown, coloured liassic limestone containing large quantities of crystalline calcite.

HEATHER         A dwarf shrub of the heath family used as an alternative to straw as a roof covering in moorland regions. Cut while in bloom and laid with the roots carefully entwined. The covering turns a characteristic black colour with age.

HIGH TENSILE STEEL   A strong alloy of steel.

HORNBLENDE      Medium hard, green/black coloured. Found in many igneous and metamorphic rocks.

HORNTON STONE      Compact grained, brown/yellow/green/grey blue, coloured liassic limestone.

HORSHAM STONE      Hard, fissile sandstone which weathers to a dark brown colour. Mainly used as a stone roofing material (stone slate) throughout Sussex and Surrey.

IONA MARBLE   One of only three 'true' British marbles, pale green and white in colour.

IRON      A malleable, ductile ferromagnetic metal widely used for structural and decorative purposes.

IRONSTONE      Collective name for any stone that has become impregnated with iron oxide. Index with specific stone type where given.

JURASSIC LIMESTONE   Limestone formed during the Jurassic period. Provides many widely used building stones.

KEINTON STONE   Hard, white/grey coloured liassic limestone. Quarried near Somerton in Somerset.

KENTISH RAGSTONE   Sandy, rough blue to green/grey coloured limestone. Quarried in Kent and widely used throughout the South East.

KILLAS   Cornish miner's term for slates formed during the Carboniferous and Devonian periods.

LAKE DISTRICT SLATE   Collective term for the Burlington (Silurian period) and Borrowdale (Ordovician period) groups of slates from the Lake District and parts of Cumbria, Lancashire. Hard, fine grained metamorphic rock, varying in colour from green/olive to black/blue black.

LATH   Narrow strips of wood which can form the groundwork for slates, panels or plaster work.

LEAD   Metal used primarily for roof coverings and window fittings. It is easy to work, can be worked cold and does not rust which makes it suitable for holding or repelling water.

LEATHER   Animal skin that has been hardened or treated by a tanning process.

LIAS   Collective term for the building limestones formed during the Lower Jurassic period.

LIGHT STRAW   Shuttering is created to ram straw dipped in a clay slip as an infill to a timber clay frame structure. Very good insulator.

LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE   A concrete which is either aerated or made from lightweight aggregate.

LIME      Calcium Oxide obtained by heating limestone in a kiln. Used as a constituent of modern mortar, or as slaked (non-hydraulic) lime in lime putty, daub, limewash and traditional lime plaster, mortar and renders.

LIMESTONE      Sedimentary rock consisting mainly of calcium carbonate. Varying in grain size, colour and hardness, quarried and used throughout the country.

LINCOLNSHIRE LIMESTONE   Generic term for the oolitic limestones quarried in Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland. Varying in grain size from medium to coarse, and colour from cream to pale brown.

LONG STRAW   Composed of loose uncombed lengths of harvested wheat which are formed into bundles for laying. Distinctive appearance with both ears and butts visible on the surface traditionally using hazel spars which hold the straw in place.

LOW-EMISSIVITY GLASS      Glass that has a low-emissivity - low-E -coating applied to it to control heat transfer. Windows with low-E coatings typically cost about 10 -15% more than normal windows, but reduce energy loss by as much as 30 -50%. A low-E coating is microscopically thin metal or metallic oxide layer deposited on the glass surface. This reduces the infrared radiation from a warm pane of glass to a cooler pane, thereby lowering the U-factor of the window. See Solar Glass.

MAGNESIAN LIMESTONE   Permian limestones which have had their chemical composition naturally altered with the calcium content being replaced by magnesium. Fine grained and varying from yellow/brown to cream in colour, although they weather to a dark grey. MAJOLICA      Fine earthenware with raised patterns of coloured decoration in the form of an enamel or coloured opaque glaze. Use for decorative wall facings.

MALMSTONE   A soft, grey to white coloured, sandstone formed during the Cretaceous period, whose sand grains are cemented together with lime.

MARBLE   Collective name for, in a true geological sense, a metamorphosed limestone, eg. Carrara marble, and, in the British sense any decorative stone that will take a polish, eg. Purbeck marble. In the latter's case index with specific stone type where given.

MARLSTONE   Fine grained, iron rich, liassic limestone, found in Dorset, Somerset, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Rutland.

MATHEMATICAL TILE   Tile nailed externally to a wall and usually laid in mortar designed to present a brick-like appearance.

METAL   Class of elements and alloys that are characteristically lustrous,ductile, fusible and malleable. These are extracted from ore minerals processed into a recognisable metal.

MOORSTONE   Stonemason's name for granite found lying upon the moorland surface, as opposed to having been quarried, in the West Country and the Lake District. Used as found since prehistoric times, in later years was often dressed and shaped.

MORTAR   A mixture of lime or more recently cement with sand and water used for bonding stones or bricks.

MOUNTSORREL GRANITE   Very hard, rough medium/coarse grained, pink to grey coloured granite. Usually found and quarried in Leicestershire.

MUD      Wet soil, sand or other earthy matter combined with ballast and bonded with straw or other binding material. Walls are built in the absence of shuttering by the simple process of pitching in layers.

OAK      A native hardwood of the Beech family with hard and durable characteristics which traditionally made it appropriate for structural work.

OOLITIC LIMESTONE   Limestone formed during the Jurassic period. Composed of ooliths, literally small rock particles with the appearance of fish roe.

PANEL BOARD   Large board used for covering the internal surfaces of a building, ie. floors, walls and ceilings. Some forms can be used as external cladding.

PANTILE   Curved, interlocking roof tile of S-shaped section usually made of clay or concrete.

PAPER   Thin flexible sheets made from the pulp of wood or other fibrous matter.

PARGETING      External decorative plasterwork often incised or modelled with ornamental patterns. Usually applied to timber-framed houses, especially during 16th and 17th centuries.

PARQUETRY   mosaic of wood used for ornamental flooring. Materials contrasting in color and grain, such as oak, walnut, cherry, lime, pine, maple etc. are used. More expensive kinds use richly coloured mahogany and other tropical hardwoods. While not technically a wood, bamboo is also a popular material for modern floors.

PEAT      Part-decomposed vegetable matter formed under waterlogged conditions into a firm, brown deposit resembling soil. Used as a brick for infilling in timber framed walls.

PEBBLE   Rock fragment (diameter 4-64mm) larger than gravel and smaller than cobble, combined with other material e.g. flint, for decorative effect.

PEBBLEDASH   A render with small washed stones added as aggregate. Popular in the early 20th century.

PENNANT STONE   Hard, fine grained, blue/grey coloured sandstone. Quarried in South Wales and Bristol area and commonly used as a stone roofing material (stone slate). PETERHEAD GRANITE   Coarse grained, dark coloured granite, quarried in the Peterhead and Cairngall areas of Scotland, but used throughout the North.

PINE      Wood of a coniferous tree native to Scotland and Scandinavia.

PISE      Rammed earth or clay of a low moisture content used to make floors or walls, or found between shuttering. Also known as Pise de terre.

PLANT   Any tree, shrub or herb of cellulose form, normally subsisting in soil and producing its food through photosynthesis.

PLASTER      Lime plaster, consisting of lime and sand, is the oldest type of render. Applied externally to walls or onto laths for infill panels and usually limewashed.

PLASTIC      Any of large class of polymers based on synthetic resins or modified natural polymers which may be moulded, extruded or cast while soft or liquid, which then set rigidly or slightly elastic in form.

PLYMETAL      Structural board comprising a core of thin layers of wood bonded together, which is faced on one or both sides with a sheet of metal, usually galvanised steel or aluminium. Mainly used for external wall cladding.

PLYWOOD      Thin layers of wood, bonded together to form a structural board. The grain of the adjacent layers lie across one another to give structural strength. Produced since mid 19th century for use in interior joinery, since 1930's for exterior use.

POLYCARBONATE      Very tough transparent sheeting often used for security glazing.

POLYPHANT      Compact, grey/green/brown/white-speckled coloured igneous rock, peculiar to Cornwall. It is easy to carve and readily takes a polish, hence its similarity to British marbles.

POLYVINYL CHLORIDE   A type of thermoplastic polymer which is versatile and cheap, often referred to as PVC. This includes plasticized PVC and unplasticized PVC (uPVC).

PORPHYRY         Traditional term for any fine to medium grained igneous rock, containing large crystal fragments.

PORTLAND CEMENT   A form of cement originally named since it was said to be like Portland Stone in appearance.

PORTLAND STONE   Fine to coarse grained, cream to green/grey coloured oolitic limestone. Quarried since Roman times, it is one of Britain's best building stones, hence its use throughout the country.

PRESTRESSED CONCRETE   Concrete, containing bars or wires, which is compressed to greatly increase its strength.

PUDDING STONE      Conglomerate consisting of rounded flint pebbles held together in a natural silica and sand cement.

PURBECK STONE      Collective name for the oolitic limestone quarried in the Isle of Purbeck region, geologically classified into two main groups. Firstly, a fine grained whitish variety, Purbeck Portland, secondly a fossil-rich cream/gold to grey variety, Swanage Stone etc.

QUARTZ      Hard, transparent, often coloured mineral. Can be found on its own as crystals and veins but also as a major constituent of rocks such as granite. Often used decoratively.

QUARTZITE      Medium grained, hard, white/grey coloured stone consisting of quartz and often silica, produced by the metamorphosis of sandstone.

RAGSTONE      Stonemason's term for any coarse/hard stone that is not easily worked. Index with specific stone type where given. Not to be confused with Kentish Ragstone.

RAMMED EARTH      Wooden shuttering is created then a mixture of earth, sand and water sometimes stabilised with cement. The mixture is rammed between the shuttering often using hydraulic machinery. The forms are removed to leave load-bearing walls, sealed with an earthen or lime plaster.

REED            The tall, straight stalks or stems formed by plants found in the wetland areas, particularly The Fens. Used as a roofing material, the reed is laid with the ends forming the exposed covering surface.

REIGATE STONE      Soft, medium grained, green/grey coloured, highly calcareous, cretaceous sandstone. Mined (more frequently than quarried) since pre-Norman times from the Reigate area of Surrey.

REINFORCED CONCRETE   Aggregate, cement and mortar combined with structural elements of iron or steel mesh or rod reinforcement to form stonelike masses for load bearing, structural building work. Known as RC. RENDER   A general term for the weatherproof coat on the external walls of a building.

RESIDUE   By-product or waste, resulting from an industrial process.

RHYOLITE   Fine grained, acidic, light-grey/white/ brown/red-coloured igneous rock.

ROMAN CEMENT      Technically a quick setting hydraulic cement or lime,but term has been adapted to denote cement made from burning lumps of marl found in London clay,a technique adopted for C19th building work. Name not intended to denote a relationship with Roman period.

ROMAN TILE   Single lap regular shaped roof covering which can have one or more water channels. Typically made of clay or concrete. The name does not denote a relationship with the Roman period.

ROUGHCAST   A render including an aggregate of gravel or stone chipping thrown rather than trowelled onto an external wall.

RUBBER   Flexible, synthetic, polymeric organic material formed by chemical synthesis usually in imitation of a natural substance. It can be moulded to shape, extruded or formed into a sheet from solid or foam material.

RUBBLE   Rough, unhewn, undressed building stones with irregular faces, generally not laid in regular courses. Index with type of stone if specified.

SAND      Granular material consisting of small eroded fragments of rock or mineral grains, finer than gravel used as an ingredient in mortar and other traditional building materials.

SANDBAG   Hessian (burlap) or plastic bag filled with sand, used for high strength walls, popular with the military but can be used in green building. See Earthbag

SANDSTONE   Geologically sandstone consists of particles of quartz naturally cemented together by either silica, calcium or iron. It is this geological composition that accounts for the varying colours and grain sizes found in the many building sandstones.

SARSEN STONE   Extremely hard, fine grained, grey to brown silica rich sandstone. It is often found on the surface of the South Downs and has been used, as found, since prehistoric times.

SCAGLIOLA      Composite substance of plaster formed by gypsum, sand and lime and coloured with pigments, fixed under heat and highly polished. Used to imitate marble and popular in the 17th and 18th centuries for architectural features.

SCHIST      Medium to coarse grained metamorphic rock, colour being determined by its dominant mineral. Often used for floor and wall cladding.

SCOTTISH SLATE   Collective term for the Scottish Slates including the Aberdeen/Baniff and Ballachulish/Easdale groups. Fine grained, varying in colour from brown to dark grey/blue. Geologically different from Lake District, Welsh and West Country groups of slate.

SEPTARIA      Conglomerate consisting of nodules of calcium rich clay (marl). Used as a building stone from Roman times and as a key ingredient in Parker's Roman Cement, between 1796 and circa 1850.

SERPENTINE   Medium to coarse grained, green to dark red/black coloured igneous rock, mainly found on The Lizard, South West Cornwall. Due to its fragmentary structure, Serpentine is mainly used for decorative and ornamental purposes.

SHALE   Soft, very fine grained, dark coloured, sedimentary rock which splits easily.

SHAP GRANITE   Hard, coarse grained, grey to red/brown coloured granite. Used predominantly for tombstones becasuse of its ability to take a polish, but it is also in demand for underwater construction.

SHELL   Hard, protective covering made largely of calcium salts secreted by soft bodied invertebrate animals.

SHINGLE   Wooden roof tile (traditionally oak) which is riven or sawn from good quality timber to a regular size and used as a roof and/or wall covering. Index with type of wood if known.

SILTSTONE   Fine grained, yellow/buff to grey/black coloured sedimentary rock.

SILVER   A precious metal of lustrous white colour with great malleability and ductility.

SKYE MARBLE   One of only three 'true' British marbles, white in colour, predominantly used for sculptures and statues.

SLAG   Waste material or dross separated from metals during smelting or refining.

SLATE   Collective term for a hard, fine grained, dark coloured metamorphic rock, which splits easily; hence its common use as a roofing and flooring material, and a functional description for any rectangular, sheet, roofing material.

SLURRY   Cement/water mix often used as covering. Use this for entries including slurrying and slurried.

SOLAR CONTROL GLASS   Glass to control or reduce the effects of the sun, includes both reflective and absorpative types of glass. See Low-Emissivity Glass.

SPANISH TILE   Single lap roof covering made of clay. Half cylinder in profile although one end is slightly wider than the other. A Spanish tile roof covering comprises under-tiles and over-tiles, the two have the same shape, but the under-tile is slightly larger.

STEEL   An alloy of iron and carbon, its strength makes it suitable for load bearing purposes. It is primarily used in structural steelwork and concrete reinforcement.

STONE   Rock of definite form and size, usually artificially shaped. See STONE CLass List for narrow terms.

STRAW   Roofing material consisting of stems or stalks of wheat, rye, oats or barley separated from grain and laid flat in 'yealms' which form an overlapping surface which sheds water.

STRAW BALE   Can be used as an infill to timber frame structures, straw bales are used as an very effective insulator. They can be load bearing if they are pretensioned. Bale walls are then sealed with an earthen or lime plaster.

STUCCO   Smooth rendering applied to the exterior of buildings which may be incised to suggest coursed masonry. Made of lime and sand or brick dust, and more recently, cement.

SUSSEX STONE   Fine grained, buff, brown to green coloured Cretaceous sandstone. Quarried at various locations in Sussex. Not to be confused with Sussex marble which is a cretaceous limestone.

SYENITE   Hard, coarse grained, green to pink coloured igneous rock. Commonly used as a polished cladding.

TAR   Thick, viscid liquid, obtained by the distillation of wood, coal or other organic substances, chemically a mixture of hydrocarbons with resins.

TARMACADAM   Road or paving material combining crushed stone, rolled and mixed with bitumen type mixer.

TERRACOTTA   Hard, unglazed, brown, versatile earthenware which can be used as a tile or moulded into statuary. Used in a structural or semi-structural context as a moulded hollow block.

TERTIARY LIMESTONE   Hard, fossil rich, white to deep red coloured limestone, laid down during the Tertiary period. Used since Roman times because of its good durability and weathering properties.

TESSERA   Squared block of glass, tile, stone or marble used in mosaic.

TEXTILE   A woven or bonded fabric or cloth. Used for screening or temporary structures.

THATCH   Traditional roof covering consisting of vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge, rushes and heather layered and fastened together onto roof to form a run off to prevent water penetration. Thatching is usually made with low-cost local vegetation. In developed countries it is used for a rustic look in historic properties, in developing countries is is a cheap traditional roofing method for poor people.

TILE   Tablet of a uniform shape. Used as finishing or covering materials which fit together in a regular format.

TIMBER   Wood, cut and seasoned so forming or capable of forming any part of a structure. May be treated with preservative before use. Timber building uses large diameter section timber posts and beams to form a framework of a frame building (also known as stick building). The gaps between the timbers require another building material to infill the walls.

TIN   Malleable metal used for roofing and for alloys such as bronze.

TUFACEOUS LIMESTONE   Very light, depositional limestone formed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate rich water (Tufa). The more dense and compact form, Travertine, is formed in a similar way.

TURF   Layer of grass with earth and matted roots cut from the ground and used for earth buildings and as a covering material.

WATTLE   Wooden rods or stakes which can be interlaced with twigs or branches to make walls or fences, or more commonly, to form the basis of panels in traditional timber framed buildings which are then covered with daub, known as 'wattle and daub' building. See Daub.

WEALDEN STONE   Fine grained, brown/yellow to dark grey coloured cretaceous sandstone. It is a particularly good freestone and was often used for ashlar finishes.

WEATHERBOARD   Length of timber boarding (usually elm, now pine) fixed horizontally or vertically to the exterior of a structure which may be 'tongue and grooved' or 'feathered' to provide external protection.

WEATHERING STEEL   An alloy of steel.

WELSH SLATE   Collective term for the North and South Wales groups of slate. Hard, fine grained, metamorphic rock, with varying dark shades.

WEST COUNTRY SLATE   Collective term for the slates from Devon and Cornwall. Hard, fine grained metamorphic rock. Varying in colour from dark grey/green to blueish/grey. West Country Slate is geologically different from both Lake District and Welsh Slate.

WHINSTONE   Northern quarryman's name for any fine grained, dark grey/black to green coloured igneous rock. Index with specific stone type where given.

WICHERT   Cob type construction typical to Buckinghamshire using a local clay with a high chalk content to produce walls of notable inherent stability.

WILLOW   Willow, cane, bamboo, rattan, light wood, any and all lightweight organic building materials are used world-wide and now have a revival due to eco concerns.

WOOD   Hard, compact, unprocessed, fibrous cellulose substance. The roots, trunks and branches of trees and shrubs consist of this tissue.

WOODWOOL SLAB   A sheet or board made from a mixture of thin strips of wood and cement which are bound together through compression within a mould. Woodwool slabs are used for roof or wall cladding, providing fire resistance, and heat and sound insulation.

WROUGHT IRON   The oldest form of iron, it is a tough, pure form of iron that can be fashioned into decorative items or shapes by hammering, squeezing or rolling.

YORK STONE   Generic name for the fine grained, brown coloured carboniferous sandstone, quarried in the Leeds, Bradford and Halifax area.

ZINC   A hard and lustrous metallic element, used for roofing, galvanising iron and a component of alloys such as brass.