The capital of Scotland is famed for its historic buildings. Some of the finest sandstone buildings in the world.

Sandstone is the preferred building material of stonemasons in Edinburgh.

Easy to source, local carboniferous sandstone from quarries in Craigleith, Craigmillar, Hailles and Ravelston were the popular choice for building the historic buildings that now make Edinburghs landscape so breathtaking. As time went on, and the local quarries supply dried up and transportation options increased, sandstone was able to be brought in from quarries further afield. With more variety, the larger quarries in Fife, Lothians and the North of England began to be used for newer buildings as Edinburgh grew and expanded.

Why was sandstone used instead of other more durable stones?

Sandstone was the easy choice because it was considerably easier to quarry and dress and was naturally the choice of local builders, especially because of how easy it was to shape, carve and detail. That is not to say that Edinburgh was 100% sandstone. Volcanic stone was also used occasionally.

The colours of sandstone in Edinburgh

Unlike Glasgow, Edinburgh is not a mix of red and blonde sandstone because predominantly, the sandstone quarried locally and from further afield was still the blonde sandstone variety. However as the wealth of Edinburgh grew, so too did the demand for imported stone. This meant that the colours of building stonework in Edinburgh started to vary from building to building as newer, larger buildings were constructed using imported stone.

Building for the future

For decades, cheaper brick stone and other building materials have changed the look of Edinburgh but happily there is a growing resurgence in the desire for natural stone construction and cladding in Edinburgh.

Stone Restoration Experts

Along with a growing resurgence in the use of sandstone as a building material, there is also a growing desire from home owners of historic buildings in Edinburgh to restore and repair their homes to their former glory.

Decades of rain, ice and occasional sun in Edinburgh along with air pollution, traffic vibrations and just general wear has left so many sandstone buildings in Edinburgh in need of repair. At Balmore Specialist Contracts, we are one of the leading stone restoration companies in Scotland. With offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, we have worked on restoration projects both big and small and with our experienced rope access team, we are able to work in some of the most difficult access historic buildings in Edinburgh.

If you would like to know more about our historic building restoration work, please call us on 0131 314 2896 or email