Often described as a soft stone, limestone is nonetheless harder and more durable than wood, plastic and other materials. It’s been used as a building material for centuries. The Pyramids in Egypt are primarily made of limestone, and under the right conditions your limestone floor could last just as long.
Today, limestone is coming back into fashion in the home. It’s often marketed under different names, either the brand name of the stone cutter or the technical name of the type of limestone. As an example, natural marble is a type of limestone.
What is Limestone?
Limestone is a natural stone. It’s a sedimentary rock, which means that it was formed millions of years ago by layers of sand building up on the sea bed. The sand was compressed into hard rock by pressure and heat. Coral, minerals, clay and other matter was sometimes trapped in the limestone as it formed, giving it beautiful natural colours.
Limestone can be carved into many shapes, from statues to thin limestone tiles. Common forms of limestone are routinely crushed and used as aggregate. It can even be used as a white dye. It’s the same family of stone as marble and chalk.
Advantages of Limestone in the Home
More affordable than its cousin, marble, limestone is a practical choice for the home. It is available in a wide range of natural and dyed colours. Other advantages include:
- Incredibly durable
- Difficult to scratch or chip
- Easy to clean
- Variety of finishes
- Food safe
Limestone is porous, so it’s typically sealed to prevent staining. Once sealed, limestone tiles used in kitchens and bathrooms are watertight and hard to stain. The same limestone tiles are often available in different finishes, which makes it ideal for use in the kitchen and bathroom. You can choose a rough finish so that the floor isn’t slippery, and an elegant silk-smooth finish for the walls.
Uses of Limestone
Limestone is a popular choice inside and out. Thick limestone tiles are often used to pave patios and garden paths, while thin ones adorn bathroom walls and kitchens. The stone can be treated a number of different ways to give a different finish. In fact, as it comes in a range of colours, you could live in a house built of limestone, with the patio, flooring, kitchen worktops and bathroom tiles all made out of limestone without anyone guessing it was the same stone.
Being a soft stone, limestone is relatively easy to shape. This makes it a popular choice for sinks, ridged tiles and decorative moulding. Limestone is a popular building material around the world, and is often named after its area of origin. A golden, Umbrian limestone might remind you of the homes you saw on a holiday to Italy, while a dark slate-grey limestone from Cumbria would be equally evocative of a very different trip.