The Importance of the Keystone in Stone Arches

Jun 22, 2015

If you’re looking for ways to improve the look of your home’s exterior – specifically your home’s entrance – then you can’t go wrong with a stone arch. A stone arch provides a grand feeling to your entrance and draws the eye immediately due to the fact that it will strengthen your entrance as the focal point of your home’s exterior. When it comes to the construction of a stone arch, you can’t dismiss the importance of the keystone.

building a stone arch
Traditional Patio by Atlanta Interior Designers & Decorators Yvonne McFadden LLC via Houzz

The keystone is the most vital piece of the stone arch. It’s the wedge-shaped piece that is located at the very apex of the arch. It’s the last piece put into place during the construction of the stone arch since it basically locks all the other pieces into place, thereby allowing the arch to bear the weight of the stones. Because the keystone is located at the top of the arch, it experiences the least amount of stress out of any of the voussoirs, yet it’s also the stone piece that the arch depends on in order to be self-supporting.

Because the keystone takes a central position at the top of the stone arch, designers have often provided the keystone with a stylistic flourish in order to make it stand out from the rest of the voussoirs. This has been done throughout history. Some of the more basic examples include making the keystone a little larger than the rest of the voussoirs or using a knob or protrusion of wood or stone, known as a boss, in order to embellish the piece.

Keystones are very important to the construction of stone arches. Centurion Stone offers two types of keystones, a chiseled face keystone and a slate face keystone.

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