A Scottish quarry is helping to improve skills and develop a range of new products to continue the revival of an ancient stone material.
Denfind Stone in Angus has continued a tradition of innovation through investment in a new production facility for walling stone, paving, and finished dimensional sandstone products.
It is also creating new products like natural stone slips that can be fixed onto the façade of a building or a wall. It is working to deliver a 40mm natural stone pre-assembled options to the market that can be used up to three metres in height without mechanical fixings. The project has been part funded by BE-ST, formerly the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, and Denfind is working with the University of Aberdeen to deliver the relevant testing.
Denfind owner and director, Brian Binnie, said: “We are passionate about the geological heritage of our stone, and by developing products that were four hundred million years in the making, we play our part in ensuring that this traditional industry thrives in the world of modern architecture and building.
“There is no doubt that natural stone is aesthetically better, more durable and fundamentally kinder to the environment than creating manufactured stone substitutes. We believe there are many more products and solutions for which Angus sandstone is the answer and we have built in a culture of innovation and working with like-minded partners to ensure that we secure a long-term future for our stone and our industry.”
Denfind Stone started in 2004 when Brian and Alison Binnie recognised that a disused Angus sandstone quarry on their farm had the potential to meet the growing demand for local, high quality, natural, sustainable and aesthetically sympathetic stone products. The supply of Angus sandstone has been secured with the recent approval of a 50-year licence to quarry in an extended area at Denfind. This means there is more than 500,000 tonnes of natural sandstone to supply the market for decades to come.
Consequently, Angus sandstone in historic and conservation projects can now be replenished from the same source and new projects can begin their own journey of longevity with a recognised quality natural product.
Angus Sandstone is naturally flat-bedded and has a density and hardness popular with stonemasons and builders. It is ideal for cladding, particularly 40mm slips which are an ideal cost-effective solution whilst using a Scottish product with the everlasting appeal that only natural stone can achieve.
The 40mm stone slips can be fixed onto the façade of a building or a wall. It is cut from Angus sandstone and gives the same appearance as 100mm and 140mm stone. It can be applied to either breeze block or a cement board using an adhesive and can be finished by pointing with mortar or left for a dry build effect.
Mr Binnie added: “We will continue to innovate with new product lines and work with the architectural and building industry to ensure natural sandstone products are recognised for their quality, durability and aesthetic appeal.”
The future of Angus sandstone
Following on from the 40mm slip innovation, there is a knowledge transfer project, funded by Innovate UK, to develop a natural stone pre-assembled cladding system which will incorporate mechanical fixings to allow installation to any height. The aim is to reintroduce stone into mainstream 21st century construction which will ensure that a local, sustainable, environmentally friendly material is supplied in a user-friendly format to protect and enhance the built heritage of Scotland.
Innovation has always been a key part of the industry. In the 19th century, the invention of the Hunter Planing Machine transformed the way Angus sandstone was processed into paving products. Denfind Stone hopes the investment in 21st century innovation will lead to equally transformative breakthroughs in modern techniques and products.
Denfind has also developed its business to take its responsibility to the natural environment on and off site seriously. The Angus sandstone at Denfind Stone has one of the lowest embodied greenhouse gas emission counts for any dimensional stone due to the proximity of the quarry to the processing sheds and the commitment to renewable energy and tree planting.
Creating quality products with a minimal carbon footprint supports a greener future and respects the geological heritage of Angus sandstone. Denfind Stone is committed to using environmentally friendly and sustainable methods at every stage of the stone production process – from quarry to delivery.
Historically, Angus sandstone has been used across the world on prestigious buildings including Cologne Cathedral and the roof of the Vatican. It has also been exported for projects in South America, North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.
For further information on the range of Angus sandstone visit Products – Denfind Stone.