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Technical Data Sheet
Cat Castle Sandstone (Grey)
Deepdale, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
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 : NZ 010 164
Compiled May 2000

This data sheet was compiled by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). It is based on data from tests carried out by Sandbergs (1996), Stangers (1990), collated information from BRE and current tests carried out at BRE. 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.

The stone has been quarried in the Barnard Castle area since before the turn of the century. There are old quarries nearby which were owned by the railways and which provided stone for many of the railway bridges north of York. This particular quarry was closed in 1914 and reopened in 1977. The stone is marketed as Cat Castle Grey and Cat Castle Buff. There are good reserves of stone. The stone is extracted from a 4.5m face beneath 2m of overburden. There is thought to be further stone below the present floor of the quarry. The stone is available at various depths on bed and large blocks are obtainable.

Cat Castle is from the Coal Measures of Carboniferous age. It is an attractive coarse to very coarse grained stone, creamy buff in colour with darker specks though some blocks are grey in colour.

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. Sandstone from the Coal Measures have been used extensively in many towns and cities in the UK. Cat Castle has a long history of use for buildings and civil engineering projects. Cat Castle sandstone appears to be a durable stone that is not effected by acid rain or air pollution. The weight loss in the sodium sulphate crystallisation test indicates resistance to salt damage but the disintegration of the samples at around the tenth cycle of the 15 cycle harsher saturated sodium sulphate test indicates susceptibility to salt damage in harsh environments (for example in coastal locations or from de-icing salts). Previous tests using the saturated sodium sulphate crystallisation test indicate that some caution is needed if the stone is to be exposed to a very harsh environment for a long period. In the frost test there is a no loss in flexural strength with the Grey. However, the stones traditional use in the north of England and Scotland, including harbour walls, indicates good performance. 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.

Overall, Dunhouse Grey should be suitable for use in most aspects of construction including load bearing masonry and cladding but special consideration may be required where extreme conditions are likely to be encountered.

Test Results - Catcastle - Grey
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) 

65.3 MPa
(53 - 65 Mpa range)

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding plane ambient humidity

40 MPa

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

5.7 MPa
(5.7 - 6.2 Mpa range)

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding plane ambient humidity 

4.6 MPa

Loaded perpendicular to the bedding plane, wet 

Not Tested

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

(14.9 - 15.4 range)

2) Saturation Coefficient (Note 3) 

(0.6 - 0.68 range)

3) Water Absorption

4.1 % (by wt)
(2.6 - 4.3 range)

4) Bulk specific gravity 

(2230 - 2253 range)

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

5.2 MPa

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

-0.64% Mean wt loss

Sodium Sulphate Crystallisation Test (Note 14) (saturated)

Mean: Fail at 10 cycles

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)

Tests were carried out at BRE in 2000

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