The BRE / British Stone Stone List


Full project details

Stone list

BRE Home Page

British Stone
Home Page

Petrography | Durability | Test Results

Technical Data Sheet
Bearl Sandstone
Bearl Quarry
Dunhouse Quarry Works, Staindrop Darlington,
County Durham DL2 3QU,England
Contact : Dunhouse Quarry Ltd
Tel. +44 (0) 1833 660 208; +44 (0) 1833 660 749
FAX +44 (0) 1833 660 748
Email :
Web site :
Grid reference : ---- ----
Compiled May 2000

This data sheet was compiled by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). It is based on collated BRE data and from current tests at BRE (2000). The data sheet was compiled in May 2000. The work was carried out by BRE as part of a Partners in Technology Programme funded by the Department of the Environment and Dunhouse Quarry Co. Ltd and does not represent an endorsement of the stone by BRE.

Bearl Quarry is near Stocksfield, Northumberland and is operated by Dunhouse Quarry Co. Ltd.. There is a maximum bed height of 3m and block sizes of 2 x 2 x 2 m can be achieved. The material is not suitable for veneers. The quarry is operated when required and reserves are good. The quarry was not worked for a few years but work commenced in 1988.

Buff to white fine to medium grained slightly micaceous non-calcareous sandstone.

Expected Durability and Performance 
It is important that the results from the individual tests are not viewed in isolation. They should be considered together and compared to the performance of the stone in existing buildings and other uses. Sandstone is traditionally acknowledged as generally being a very durable building and paving stone and has been used extensively in many towns and cities in the UK. Bearl sandstone appears to be a less durable stone but it should still have good resistance to acid rain and air pollution. The high weight loss in the sodium sulphate crystallisation test indicates low resistance to salt damage (for example in coastal locations or from de-icing salts). From the frost test the stone should have reasonable frost resistance. The compressive and flexural strength of the stone is low for a sandstone in comparison with other sandstones. The flexural and compressive strength indicate that the stone should be suitable for use in moderately trafficked areas. It may be necessary to consider slightly thicker paving slabs where the stone is likely to be poorly supported by the sub-base.

Overall, Bearl should be suitable for use in most aspects of construction including flooring and load bearing masonry if due caution is taken regarding the low strength. Special consideration will be required where there is the prospect of extreme exposure and where a long service life is needed. At present, the material is not used for veneers, paving and setts.

Test Results - Bearl Sandstone
Safety in Use 
Slip Resistance (Note 1) 


Wet Values > 40 are considered safe. 
Abrasion Resistance (Note 1)

Not Tested

Values <23.0 are considered suitable for use in heavily trafficked areas
Strength under load 
1) Compression(Note 2) 

59.2 MPa

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding plane ambient humidity
2) Bending (Note 1) 

5.3 MPa

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding plane ambient humidity 

Not Tested

Loaded parallel to the bedding plane ambient humidity 
Porosity and Water Absorption 
1) Porosity (Note 3) 


2) Saturation Coefficient (Note 3) 


3) Water Absorption

4.3 % (by wt)

4) Bulk specific gravity 


Resistance to Frost 
Flexural strength after Freeze/Thaw Test (Note 1) 

4.7 MPa

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding plane ambient humidity
Resistance to Salt 
Sodium Sulphate Crystallisation Test (Note 3)

4.21% Mean wt loss

Resistance to Acidity 
Acid Immersion Test(Note 4)  



(Test methods Note 1 = prEn1341, Note 2 = prEn 1342, Note 3 = prEn 1341 /BRE 141, Note 4 = BRE 141)

Tests were carried out at BRE in 2000

Back to top of page | Back to stone list