PROPERTIES OF GOOD BUILDING STONE
Every building stone which is used for construction, cannot satisfy all the ideal requirements. For example, when the stone satisfies the requirement of strength and durability, it may not do the same with other necessities such as ease of dressing. Hence it is the job of the site engineer to look into the properties which are required for the specific work and select the stone accordingly.Building Stones used for the face work of the building should have fine, compact texture. Light colored stone is usually preferred as dark colors are prone to fade out with time. They should be free from clay holes, bands or spots of color.
A stone when broken, should not be dull in appearance and should show uniformity of texture. It should be free from cavities, cracks, and patches of loose or soft material. Stratifications, which are usually found in sedimentary rocks should not be visible to naked eye.
The strength of the stone must be able to resist the applying load or overcoming load. Generally the stones can withstand the forces they encounter in usual constructions but in case of constructions where the forces encountered are unusual, they should be tested for its strength. Stones with compact fine crystalline texture are stronger. Compressive strength of building stones in practice, range between 60 to 200 N/mm2.
Self-weight and specific gravity:
The self-weight of stone should be less enough two not increase any load in superstructure or dead load. The specific gravity of Building stone is directly proportional to its weight and strength. Hence the stones having higher specific gravity should not be used for dams, retaining walls, docks and harbours. Specific gravity of a good building stone lies between 2.4 to 2.8.
When stones are utilized for floors, pavements, aprons of bridges and weirs of rivers, the stones are subjected to abrasive forces which are caused by the wear and friction. Hence the stones which are to be used in such places should be tested for hardness.
It is the measure of impact that a stone can withstand. When the stones are supposed to undergo vibrations of machinery and moving loads, they should be tough.
Porosity and Absorption:
The porous building stones are not suitable in construction especially for exposed surfaces of structures. The rain water which comes down carry some acidic gases forming light acids which gets soaked on the surface. Acids react with the constituents of stones causing them to crumble. In cold regions water freezes in the pores of stones. This water causes the disintegration of stones because of its increase in volume on freezing.