Beer Limestone

Technical Data Sheet
Beer Limestone
Beer Mine
Beer, Seaton, Devon
Contact : Portland Unit, Easton
Tel. 01305 820 207 Fax. 01395 820 275
email: [email protected]
website :
Grid Reference: ST 803 591
Compiled March 2000

This data sheet was compiled by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). Where possible, data collected in earlier surveys has been used to help interpret the test results. The data sheet was compiled in March 2000 using the results of tests carried out to the proposed European Standards. 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 Hanson Bath and Portland Stone and does not represent an endorsement of the stone by BRE.

The mine is in the village of Beer, near Seaton and there are plenty of reserves of stone. A creamy white stone with a very fine texture. Beer stone is one of the most widely used of the chalk limestones. It has a fine pore structure giving a consistency suited to carving. It is easy to work and retains very high detail and sharpness. Beer stone is used extensively in ecclesiastical work whether new build or restoration.

Beer Stone is a chalk from the Lower Chalk of Cretaceous age. It is a greyish white colour often with a greenish tinge. The latter is due to the presence of glauconite, the potassium and iron aluminium silicate mineral also found in Kentish Ragstone.

Expected Durability and Performance
It is important that the results from the sodium sulphate crystallisation tests are not viewed in isolation. They should be considered with the results from the porosity and water absorption tests and the performance of the stone in existing buildings. Stone from Beer has traditionally been used ashlar and as moulded work. The high porosity and high water absorption indicate a stone that will have limited resistance to weathering. The sodium sulphate crystallisation result also indicates that the stone will have limited resistance to salt damage. In practice, it has been found that performance relates very much to the way the stone has been extracted, seasoned, and laid in the building. Some stone has been known to acquire a remarkable toughness after weathering.

Test Results – Beer Limestone

in Use
Slip Resistance (Note 1)


Values > 40 are considered
Abrasion Resistance
(Note 1)


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

21.8 MPa

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

3.3 MPa

Loaded perpendicular to the
bedding plane
ambient humidity


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


2) Saturation Coefficient (Note 3)


3) Water Absorption

12.2 % (by wt)

4) Bulk specific gravity


Resistance to Frost 
Freeze/Thaw Test (Note 1)


Resistance to Salt
Sodium Sulphate Crystallisation Test
(Note 3)

51.90% Mean wt loss

(Test methods Note 1 = EN1341, Note 2 = EN 1342, Note 3 = EN 1341 /BRE 141, Note 4 = BRE 141, Note 5 = Based on earlier BRE data)

Tests were carried out at BRE in 2000. N.D. = not determined

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