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Technical Data Sheet
Blaxter Sandstone
Dunhouse Quarry Ltd
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 : NY 932 902
Compiled May 2000

This data sheet was compiled by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). It is based on data from tests carried out by BRE in 1996. 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, Transport and the Regions and Dunhouse Quarry Co. Ltd and does not represent an endorsement of the stone by BRE.

This large quarry, near Otterburn, Northumberland, has been worked since the 1890s and there are older workings nearby. There are good reserves of stone. The stone is available at depths of 1.2m on bed from a 6m face beneath about 2m of overburden. The quarry is currently operated by Dunhouse Quarry Co. Ltd.

Blaxter is from the Carboniferous Limestone of Lower Carboniferous age. It is a fine- to medium-grained stone, pale yellow-buff in colour, non-calcareous, slightly micaceous sandstone.

Expected Durability and Performance 
It is important that the results from the from 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. Carboniferous sandstone has been used extensively in many towns and cities in the UK. Blaxter has a long history of use and can be seen in many buildings in the north of England; it has also been used on a large number of restoration projects. Blaxter sandstone appears to be a durable stone that is not effected by acid rain or air pollution. However, the weight loss in the saturated sodium sulphate crystallisation test indicates a resistance to salt damage but the high weight loss in the harsher saturated sodium sulphate test indicates susceptibility to salt damage in harsh environments (for example in coastal locations or from de-icing salts). However, the freeze thaw results suggests that it may be susceptible to frost action in extreme conditions. Traditionally the sandstone has successfully been used in the northern climes of England and in Scotland without any adverse effect. The compressive and flexural strength of the stone is towards the lower end of the range for sandstone but is similar to some of the stronger limestones. The compressive strength indicates that the stone should be suitable for use in lightly trafficked areas.

Overall, Blaxter should be suitable for use in most aspects of construction including flooring, paving, load bearing masonry and cladding but caution should be used in areas where a long service life is needed and there are high salt concentrations.

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

Wet 79

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

Not Determined

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

55.1 MPa
(38 - 55 range)

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding plane ambient humidity

36 MPa

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding , wet (Note 5)                   
2) Bending (Note 1) 

3.1 MPa

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding plane ambient humidity 

2.7 MPa

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding , wet (Note 5)

Not Determined

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


2) Saturation Coefficient (Note 3) 

(0.59 - 0.63 range)

3) Water Absorption

6.1 % (by wt)

4) Bulk specific gravity 


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

2.0 MPa

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

-0.70% Mean wt loss

Resistance to Acidity 
Acid Immersion Test(Note 4)  



(Test methods Note 1 = EN1341, Note 2 = En 1342, Note 3 = En 1341 /BRE 141,  Note 4 = BRE 141, Note 5 = ASTM)

Tests in bold were carried out at BRE in 2000 

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