- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 12 Nov 2018
Ashlar is a type of masonry which is finely cut and/or worked, and is characterised by its smooth, even faces and square edges. It can also be used to refer to an individual stone that has been finely cut and worked until squared.
Ashlar has been used in construction as an alternative to brick or other materials dating back to classical architecture, where it was often used to contrast with rustication (masonry with a purposefully rough or patterned surface).
Courses of ashlar can be horizontal, with blocks laid in parallel, or may be random with deliberately discontinuous vertical and horizontal joints.
Since ashlar blocks are precisely cut on all faces which are adjacent to other masonry, very thin joints can be achieved. The face of the block away from joints may be left rough and unpolished (known as quarry-faced), or may be polished or rendered decoratively. Mason’s drag is a form of decoration used on softer stone ashlar which involves small grooves applied by a metal comb-like device.
Mortar, or another joining material, is used to bind ashlar blocks together. Other methods of assembly such as metal ties can be used, in a process known as dry ashlar. Such a technique can be seen in the Inca architecture of Cusco and Machu Picchu.
In the UK, ashlar walling can be found in many historic buildings; one notable example being the Royal Crescent in Bath. It is also becoming more popular as a form of exterior cladding in urban commercial developments.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
When is there a right to light, and what happens if it is obstructed?
What would the nationalisation of economic infrastructure mean for GB?
A new guide to improving value by reducing design error.
We've reached 80,000 page views a day and 10,000 registered users. Why not join them?
A masterplan is a framework within which a location is encouraged to develop or change. Read our introductory article.
New consultation announced on a specialist Housing Court to settle landlord-tenant disputes.
ICE responds to a transport consultation advising the government to make decisions enabling more inclusive cities.
BRE and Loughborough University complete first phase refurbishment of demonstration home.
How the risk of collapse of fibrous plaster ceilings is being addressed in theatres.
If you’re a great writer and have practical experience of the construction industry, it could be you.
Frustrated by long documents or technical jargon? Put off by sign-up forms or costs? Take this 5 min survey to help improve construction knowledge.