Technological Innovation

What is BS EN 13438?


BS EN 13438 is a technical standard used in Europe for the measurement and evaluation of water absorption and moisture content of natural stone. This standard provides guidelines for conducting tests to determine the suitability of stones for various applications, such as construction, landscaping, and interior design. Understanding the requirements and methods outlined in this document is crucial for professionals working with natural stone materials.

Scope and Objectives

BS EN 13438 specifies the procedures and equipment needed to measure the water absorption and moisture content of natural stones. The standard outlines two primary testing methods: the oven-drying method and the gravimetric method. These methods provide accurate and reliable results, enabling professionals to assess the performance and durability of stones in different environments and applications.

Testing Procedures

To measure water absorption using the oven-drying method, a sample of the stone is weighed, dried in an oven at a specified temperature for a specific period, and then re-weighed. The difference in weight before and after drying indicates the amount of water absorbed by the stone. The gravimetric method involves submerging the stone in water for a set time, removing it, and measuring the increase in weight. Both methods require careful adherence to the standard's procedures to ensure accurate and consistent results.

Importance in Practical Applications

The data obtained from testing according to BS EN 13438 helps professionals make informed decisions about which natural stones to use for different purposes. Water absorption characteristics are critical for determining the stone's resistance to frost, staining, and weathering. Stones with low water absorption are more suitable for exterior applications, while those with higher water absorption may be better suited for indoor use.

Furthermore, understanding the moisture content of stones is essential to avoid potential problems such as efflorescence, which occurs when excessive moisture migrates through the stone and evaporates on the surface. By conducting tests in accordance with BS EN 13438, professionals can ensure proper selection and installation of natural stone materials, guaranteeing their longevity and performance.


BS EN 13438 sets forth the standards and procedures for measuring water absorption and moisture content in natural stones. Following these guidelines enables professionals to accurately assess the suitability of stones for various applications, helping them make informed decisions when it comes to selecting and installing natural stone materials. By adhering to this technical standard, professionals can ensure the long-term performance and durability of natural stone structures and designs.



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