FAQ – Facts About Limestone Countertops & Limestone Surfaces
What is Limestone?
Limestone is calcareous sedimentary rocks formed at the bottom of lakes and seas with the accumulation of shells, bones and other calcium rich goods. It is composed of calcite (CaCO3). The organic matter upon which it settles in lakes or seas, are preserved as fossils. Over thousands and millions of years, layer after layer is built up adding weight. The heat and pressure causes chemical reaction at the bottom and the sediments turn into solid stone, the limestone.
The rock which contains more than 95% of calcium carbonate is known as high-calcium limestone. Recrystallised limestone takes good polish and is usually used as decorative and building stone.
A part of calcium molecules if being replaced by magnesium, it is known as magnesium lime stone or dolomite limestone.
Limestone that will take a polish are considered marbles by most people, but technically, if there are still shells visible or the structure is not crystalline, it is still a limestone.
What Are the Physical Properties of Limestone?
Physically, limestones are quite impervious, hard, compact, fine to very fine grained calcareous rocks of sedimentary nature.
|Hardness||3 to 4 on Moh’s Scale|
|Density||2.5 to 2.7 Kg/cm3|
|Compressive Strength||60-170 N/mm2|
|Water Absorption||Less than 1%|
What are the Chemical Properties of Limestone?
Chemically, limestones are calcareous rocks principally of calcic minerals with minor amounts of alumina, ferric & alkaline oxides.
|MgO||0.5 to 3%|
|FeO + Fe2O3||1-1.5%|
|Loss On Ignition (LOI)||30-32%|
Note: Limestone, like marble and other calcareous stones, are referred to as acid sensitive. Calcareous stones are readily dissolved in acid, therefore acidic products should not be used on limestone and marbles.
Where Does Limestone Naturally Occur?
|Texas||Lampasas River area|
|India||Khasi, Jayantia and Garo Hills of Meghalaya
Satna limestone belt, Madhya Pradesh
|United Kingdom||United Kingdom Alston, Cumbria
Doncaster, South Yorkshire
|New Zealand||Airedale Road Weston|
What Can Limestone Be Used For?
Limestone may be used for:
- Wall cladding
- Vanity tops
- Cement Production
- Refining Metals
- Blackboard chalk
Is Limestone a Good Material for Countertops?
Limestone can be molded easily without affecting the existing structure, which makes it ideal for kitchen countertops, fireplace surrounds, walling, and many other surfaces that require special fabrication. It is common for people to use softer varieties of limestone around fireplaces and in bathroom vanities and countertops. Only the harder, denser types, especially those quarried in France and Germany, can be installed in the kitchen for countertops. These harder Limestone surfaces are as good as granite for kitchen countertops. Limestone is cheaper than granite, but the cost of maintenance for limestone may be more than that of granite, which is why limestone is not typically used for highly used surfaces.
Please note that some varieties of limestone make excellent kitchen and bathroom countertops, while others do not. Please contact Capitol Granite to find out if Limestone is ideal for your kitchen or bathroom countertops or other projects.
How to Care For & Maintain Limestone Countertops & Limestone Surfaces
- Always use cutting boards when preparing food on your limestone countertops.
- Trivets and place-mats should be used under all vessels to avoid scratching your limestone surfaces and limestone tops.
- Limestone is a beautiful surface for kitchen countertops, but must be taken care of and maintained to avoid scratching, staining, and damaging your countertops.
- Trivets should be used to place hot pots on limestone tops, since limestone does have the potential to burn. Never place hot pots and pans directly on the countertops that are made from limestone.
- You are expected to wipe spills immediately and in order to avoid etching, you are supposed to use only those cleansers that are specified for limestone. You may store perfumes and other such material on a sheet of glass to protect vanity limestone surfaces.
- Maintaining you limestone countertops can be a tedious job because of its soft and porous texture which makes it easy to scratch and stain your limestone counters and surfaces. Sealing your limestone surfaces can help to prevent staining and scratching, but it cannot stop problems with etching. This becomes a serious problem when dark-colored limestone is used for kitchen countertops. All types of limestones require regular application of a good penetrating sealer to keep your limestone kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities looking like new.
- Limestone surfaces are acid sensitive. Calcareous stones readily dissolve in acid. Lemon or tomato juices are acidic and if spilled on limestone tops, can severely damage the surfaces. Acidic products can cause limestone to etch resulting in a surface that appears dull. Acid products can also change the texture of your limestone surfaces and countertops. To avoid this, you must routinely seal your limestone countertops to avoid any such damage.