Architectural Stone – Our Experts Make it Easy to Navigate

Tuesday, July 26 , 2022

Architectural Stone – Our Experts Make it Easy to Navigate

In our 70 years in business we have acquired a significant amount of technical knowledge about architectural stone. This can be baffling for homeowners carrying our their own property renovations or building a new house. Our architectural team are here to make it a little easier to navigate, shedding light on some common architectural terms and what quality markers to look out for.


These structures are also referred to as a stone front porch. A good portico should be designed bespoke to compliment the dimensions of your property. It is an investment that should beautifully frame your entrance, bolting on an off the peg portico is a gamble that could spoil the exterior of your home. It’s all about the correct proportions to please the eye. A portico that’s too large will swamp your front door and dominate the whole building. A small portico looks ridiculous and stuck on as an afterthought.

Impressive new build with Chilstone portico, window surrounds and string course.

A well designed portico can rebalance and modernise a building.  Here is a before and after for a late twentieth century house where the entrance was lost between the middle of two protruding gables.

Original building

The portico was designed by Chilstone’s specialist team, to make the entrance the stand out feature, reclaiming the center of the property as an architectural asset. The property was skimmed and painted to remove the dated brick colour and add a fresh, modern finish.

After the bespoke Chilstone stone portico was added at the center of the building.


Another important consideration for a quality portico are the columns. These can be smooth, fluted, squared but always make sure the seems run up the side not the center of the columns for a flawless finish. Avoid columns with multiple, ugly horizontal lines that band the columns like multiple stacking Lego bricks. We use the minimum number of components to limit join lines and where possible, we make our columns in one, long piece.

Our columns are also made hollow to hide cables for your lighting. These little details make the difference.

Squared stone columns on a Chilstone portico


Balustrade comes in an array of styles from the traditional curves to more Gothic styles. The key quality difference is that we make ours with a baluster bar that goes all the way through the stone. Some brands use pins just at the top and bottom but this cheaper option diminishes the strength and longevity of the product.

Handmade stone balustrade adds a luxurious feel to an outdoor pool.

Balustrades give pools and patios a beautiful finish, neatly defining the areas within gardens. It is an investment feature that should last for years, so it is important to choose the right product.

Detail of stone balustrading

Chilstone balustrade is available in a range of styles. Bespoke styles can be created too,

Our stone can be sealed to keep the ‘brand new’ look. It can be painted, perfect for adding a Mediterranean style to pools and patios, or leave it to weather naturally, developing a rich patina, dotted with moss and lichen like many country gardens up and down the country.

stone balustrading

Smart stone balustrade.

Balustrade lining steps creates that smart, city feel. Our Waterloo balustrade design once spanned the River Thames on the Strand bridge, which preceded the current Waterloo Bridge. Much of the iconic balustrade still lines the famous river bank in London today. This look is popular with high end restaurants, venues and businesses. But, it can also add an air of classical romance in a more traditional, country estate, transforming the hard landscaping into a picturesque backdrop for weddings.

Coping Stones

Coping stones protect walls from weather damage. But most people notice smart, well made and installed coping stones. That’s what creates an elegant finish. There are important details to consider to achieve this. Coping stones should have a 10mm gap for a uniform alignment, we supply our own pointing mix to achieve the best results. Uneven coping, too widely spaced can appear scruffy. From the correct overhang and drip channel we will advise you so your coping stones are designed to both keep rain off your brickwork and look their best for the years ahead.

Chilstone wall coping topped with planted, classical urns

Whatever your wall shape or size, our hand made coping stones are crafted for flawless finishing touches.


Concrete coping stone behind a beautiful cast stone statue

Coping stones along a painted wall provide a beautiful back drop for statues and garden features.

Gate Pier Capitals

Don’t forget to finish off your gate posts to make your entrances complete. Pier capitals top them in style.

Large gates leading to an impressive new build, with Chilstone hand made gate pier capitals.

From grand driveway gates to those either side of a traditional garden path, they all look fantastic with well made architectural stone finishes.

A smart Victorian terrace restoration.

Handmade for Seventy Years

All our fine cast stone is made by hand, never machinery, the same way it has been for seventy years. Our team can advise you on a range of options to produce the best finish for your property projects. Call and ask how we can help 01892 740866 or drop into our workshop and show garden just outside Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

Trade discount is available on certain orders too.

Chilstone makes all architectural stone orders by hand.

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