Sandstone Green Building, the more we understand the importance of going back to using more natural materials locally sourced the easier it will be for us to construct or renovate to create a more Eco Friendly home.
The first step in preparing plans for green remodeling or construction is to find out what materials are natural to your area.
One of the quickest ways to get a general idea is to look at the buildings in the oldest part of your nearest town, for example I grew up in a wonderful town who's central buildings are all built using wonderful red sandstone.
Older local builders may be able to give you an idea of where local quarries are and what is or was worked there, so that you can begin to make lists of the different materials that could arrive at your home after travelling the shortest possible distance and therefore have the lowest possible total embodied energy possible.
Sandstone Rock Quarries
Sandstone is extracted from open quarries and where the sandstone beds are easily distinguishable from surrounding materials or the sandstone lamination is particularly thin - it is worked, or removed by levering and wedging.
Sandstone blasting is used when the material is found in compacted sandstone rock masses.
It is usual to work the thinner layers of surface sandstone first by levering and wedging and then to go deeper to remove sandstone from the more compressed rock beneath.
Sandstone as used for hundreds of years will come back into more general use as the idea of making more use of local natural materials gains importance as more energy efficient ways of construction take the lead.
Sandstone, depending on supply, may well re-emerge in future constructions by using local quality materials, as well as supporting local suppliers - whenever these considerations are able to become more important than price.
Traditionally sandstone green building materials were quarried and then worked up, or roughly shaped at the quarry side before being transported to where they were needed.
This shows that most sandstone green building materials were hard enough to withstand being jostled around a bit as they went by road or rail.
At the same time they didn't waste any sandstone in the process, as chippings were used in road construction and in making concrete.
One of the wonderful things about sandstone green building materials is that it can be sawn by using a large diameter circular saws with scupper-nail teeth - or by using toothless horizontal rocking blades, at the time of cutting the rust stains produced in the cut by the steel blades, were removed by using lime.
In many of the older buildings in towns local to sandstone quarries you should be able to see quite an extensive amount of rounded mouldings and mitres which were probably worked by hand, also often beside the quarry face itself, while straight straight moulding was usually done my machinery with plane irons.
Uses of Sandstone
Not all sandstone green building materials are the same.
Some sandstone is deep blue - some a blue grey and others have a definite grey hue. The sandstone that I grew up with was red - there are also different grades of red - the rich deep red is softer and the more common lighter red is harder. It is rarer but you can also find a very attractive light green sandstone and even an almost white sandstone which is very hard.
Another distinction between the different varieties of sandstone is the coarseness of the grain, all of the above are of a finer grain than the heavier hard course-grained grit stones that are more suitable to industrial purposes than to home sandstone green building.
The Importance of sandstone as an eco friendly green building material really comes into it's own when you take into consideration the many different possible applications both inside and outside your home.
sandstone blocks are easy to see on the shell of a home but what about a lovely sandstone window sill, sandstone tiles for your patio or kitchen sandstone flooring and even work surfaces in the shape of sandstone countertops.
Sandstone Green Building
Some of the quarry methods described here pertain to sandstone extraction as it was over a 100 years ago.
Today we are far more concerned in how an open quarry scars the natural landscape.
We are also better able to assess how a material which has been worked up from the land over so many years may well be too depleted in some areas to now be considered as a viable source of green building material.
If you have Sandstone Green Building materials available near your home perhaps you can incorporate grey mill-stone grit or deep red sandstone as part of your project instead of ordering different more exotic materials from around the globe at great distances which would be weighed down with a heavy embodied energy even before arriving to you.
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