Laterite Stone Frequently Asked Questions

Describe the use of Laterite as a building material

Known as Vettukallu or Chenkallu in Kerala, Laterite is a residual ferruginous rock first discovered in the Malabar region ( Northen Kerala ).

Because it gains in strength on exposure to sun and air, as well as its low cost, it was widely used as a construction material in this part of India. One of the advantages is that it is soft when it is quarried and only hardens on exposure.

Its earthy, rustic appeal make it number one option for eco friendly constructions. Low costs compared to bricks and a negligible loss of material, make it a preferred choice as a building material . Because of the stones larger surface area, cement costs also come down substantially.

 

 


Lateritic soils are highly weathered and altered residualmaterial formed by the in-situ weathering anddecomposition of rocks in tropical regions of all overthe world having heavily rainfall. They are formed byintensive and long-lasting weathering of the underlyingparent rock due to leaching of silica over a long periodof time leaving a soil rich in iron oxides, hydroxides andalumina. When such lateritic soils are exposed toatmosphere, the iron hydroxides lose the moisturequickly to form iron oxides, which develop a good bondwith other particles in soil to form the concretionarylaterite. Lateritic soils are rich in sesquioxides (Fe2O3,Al2O3 or both) and low in bases and primary silicatesbut may contain appreciable amounts of quartz andkaolinite. Due to the presence of iron oxides, lateriticsoils are red in color ranging from light through brightto brown shades. They are composed essentially ofhydrated aluminum and iron oxides and they can beused as a good building material


The methods of quarrying, dressing and construction allare entirely different from other stone masonrymaterials. Laterite blocks are soft for easy quarrying andshaping, but they become hard when exposed toatmospheric oxygen. The ease of cutting and shapinglaterite and hardening with age due atmosphericexposure makes its use different and versatile inbuilding applications. Manual quarrying and dressingwas adopted in the past was more laborious and timeconsuming. Machine quarrying of laterite was inventedand used for the first time in Kerala, India using mobilerotary saw machine that was introduced for the firsttime and popularised since 1993. It consists offollowing steps: (i) Removal of top soil and levellingthe surface, (ii) Marking lines on levelled horizontal bedof laterite, (iii) Moving cutters through these lines up todesired depth of stone, and (iv) Dis-lodging stonesmanually using bars and hauling to construction site.


Northen Kerala region is defined in its broadest geological and geographic meaning as the land confined betweenmountain ranges of the Western Ghats (rising to aheight between 600 mand 1800 m) and Arabian Sea.The midland portion of Northen Kerala, which comprises ofundulating terrain with hills and valleys, drained byseveral rivers, is known for extensive occurrence oflaterite. In this localityprolonged rainfall, intermittent dry seasons and slopingterrain are conducive to good quality and strong laterite formation

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For decades we have been working with Laterite Stones , we source laterite of best quality and size them with computer level precision .

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