Spynie Sandstone

Technical Data Sheet
Spynie Sandstone
Spynie Quarry
Birnie, Elgin, Moray, IV30 8SW
Contact : Moray Stone Cutters
Tel. 01343 860244
Grid Reference : NJ 223 656
Compiled May 2000

This data sheet was compiled by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). It is based on data 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, Transport and the Regions and Moray Stone Cutters and does not represent an endorsement of the stone by BRE.

The quarry is near Elgin, Moray. The stone is available at depths of 1.3 m on bed and up to 1.5 m long. It is known as ‘liver rock’ because it has no obvious bedding planes and it need not be laid on bed in a building.

The sandstone is a pale yellow buff, fine grained, calcareous sandstone from the New Red Sandstone of Triassic age.

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. Spynie sandstone appears to be a durable stone that, on the basis of the acid test, may have limited resistance to acid rain or air pollution. However, it is known to have given good service in extensive applications in non-industrial location including railway bridges in northern Scotland. In addition, the negligible weight loss in the sodium sulphate crystallisation test indicates high resistance to salt damage (for example in coastal locations or from de-icing salts). From the frost test the stone should also have good frost resistance. The compressive strength of the stone is low for a sandstone but is comparable with many limestones. The compressive strength indicates that the stone should be suitable for use in light to moderately trafficked areas.

Overall, Spynie should be suitable for use in most aspects of construction including flooring, paving, load bearing masonry and cladding. Special consideration is required with regard to the reaction to acidic environments for areas where a long service life is needed. At present, the stone is not used for setts.

Test Results – Spynie Sandstone

in Use
Slip Resistance (Note 1)


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

Not tested

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

62.1 MPa

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

9.4 MPa

Loaded perpendicular to the
bedding plane
ambient humidity

Not tested

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


2) Saturation Coefficient (Note 3)


3) Water Absorption

3.1% (by wt)

4) Bulk specific gravity


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

9.0 MPa

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

-1.42% Mean wt loss

Sodium Sulphate Crystallisation Test
(Note 3) (Saturated) 

18.0% Mean wt loss

Resistance to Acidity 
Acid Immersion Test(Note 4)


(Test methods Note 1 = EN 1341, 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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