Limestone is a sedimentary rock which forms at the bottom of the ocean over millions of years. The stone consists primarily of calcium carbonate. and this calcite finds its origin in the shells and bones of marine organisms. The sediment that builds up preserves these organisms into fossils and through extreme heat and pressure this sediment undergoes a chemical reaction that eventually turns it into limestone. Nature is impressive!
Due to the extreme variation of nature, limestone can vary greatly in its visual appearance especially depending on the amount of calcite that is present in this natural stone. High calcite limestone will have a very light color while impurities such as iron oxide give it a yellow or tan appearance and the presence of carbon will darken it to a black or gray. Limestone makes up about 10% of the total volume of all sedimentary rocks.
Limestone is not a hard stone and has a Mohs rating of between 3 and 4 (out of 10) compared to granite which is between 7 and 8, and marble that is between 2.5 and 5.
Limestone can have a magnificent display of fossils visible within the stone however this is not very common.
Limestone care and maintenance:
In order to maintain the beauty and appeal of limestone, you need to perform both preventative and regular maintenance. By doing this, your limestone stone floor or surface will last a long time.
Limestone is usually not polished and as it is a slightly harder stone as compared to marble, it does not have the same problem with regards to scratching; however it is still possible for limestone to lose its attractiveness if the proper care is not taken. Hence it is recommended, the same as for marble, that you always have mats (barrier matting) to clean off outdoor sand and mud before walking onto your limestone floor.
One of the most important things to consider about maintaining your limestone floor or surface, is the possibility of staining. Acid from spilt food and drinks can cause damage if left to sit on the stone for extended periods. Always clean up spills immediately and never use any acidic home cleaning products. Due to high porosity of limestone it is recommended that you use approved limestone cleaning products and a penetrative sealer on installation of your limestone surface — this will ensure the longevity of your natural stone surface.
To delay expensive restoration to natural stone, it is important to regularly clean your limestone surface with a soft mop and soap designed specifically for natural stone. Do not let the soap residue build up on the stone over a period of time and always clean up spills on the limestone surface immediately. Professional regular maintenance will be required to maintain its honed or polished appearance.
The general preference for limestone is with a honed or low/medium gloss appearance. For low calcite limestone, it can be extremely difficult to polish the stone and in these cases vitrification can be used to achieve a polished appearance however if this is done too often, the stone can take on an unattractive plastic appearance which ruins the overall beauty of this natural stone.
We understand that when choosing and installing your tile, you want to maintain your design spaces beauty through the passage of time and this is why, at San Diego Marble & Tile, we stock a large variety of dedicated limestone cleaning and maintenance products that will ensure that you continue to enjoy the magnificence of your natural stone as life happens — give us a call or drop into one of our showrooms and we can help and advise you of the best product for your needs.