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Limestone is a sedimentary rock that occurs as minerals settle in deposits over long periods. Limestone consists of calcium carbonate and has a porous texture. The Italians and Turks were among the first countries to start using limestone in construction, as both countries have rich deposits of the material available for excavation.
Nowadays, limestone is readily available in countries all over the globe, and at Atlas Ceramics, we pride ourselves on our selection of limestone tiling. Limestone requires treatment with sealant and polishing before fitment to give the tiles water and stain resistance. However, once fitted, these tiles provide a remarkably pleasing aesthetic to your home or office.
Limestone tiling is available in various grades, finishes, and thicknesses. Cheaper limestone tiles tend to be more porous and sanded, whereas premium limestone tiles feature a textured finish.
Fancy limestone tiling designs, such as mosaic and accent styles are somewhat expensive when compared to ceramic tiles, but it’s less costly than granite or marble, making it an excellent in-between for those homeowners that want a natural stone finish for their tiles, but don’t want to break the bank on the flooring project.
However, homeowners concerned about budgeting for a limestone floor may want to consider the fact that it requires professional installation. The heavy, thick limestone tiles may chip and crack during fitment if you try to do it yourself, and hiring a contractor to fit your limestone flooring will add to your final remodelling costs.
While limestone is a porous material that retains moisture, it’s possible to treat them to improve resistance to spills by coating the stone with a sealant and polishing the surface of the tile. Here are the common types of limestone that suit flooring applications.
Untreated limestone is a porous and soft stone when compared to other natural materials like granite or marble. While limestone is harder than most other tile materials available, it does not suit high traffic areas in the home, such as the entrance or bathrooms.
It’s possible to improve the strength and resilience of limestone tiles by sealing them. Sealing prevents the accumulation of dirt and bacteria in the pores of the stone, and it also increases water-resistance. However, this some is still susceptible to chipping and scratching, even after sealing.
Dropping a heavy object on the tile will result in chipping or cracking, so we think its best if you stick to standard porcelain tiles in the kitchen.
Limestone tiling suits areas in the home where you want to make a visual impression. Sealed and polished limestone tiles look fantastic on bathroom walls but avoid using them on the floor of the bathroom, as they present a slip-and-fall risk when wet. We recommend choosing a light-grey limestone for the water closet to provide a classy look.
A sealed and tumbled limestone tile looks magnificent in patio applications, and we love using Massangis French limestone outdoors. Countertops and backsplashes in the kitchen can benefit from the use of sealed and polished limestone, and it’s less expensive than installing granite or marble. Geneva Provence Limestone with a raw, brushed finish makes a fireplace look unique and antique in appearance.
For outdoor applications on pathways and patios, the look of sealed limestone paving provides an eye-catching appearance. The aesthetics of the stone are sure to leave your guests stunned at the beauty of the walkways around your home.
You can use sealed and polished limestone tiles for your kitchen flooring. Limestone is a porous material, and raw, untreated tiles will absorb any spills, staining the stone. Sealing and polishing help to improve water and stain resistance, but the soft limestone is still prone to cracking or chipping if you drop something heavy on the floor.
You’ll also need to reseal the floor as the protective coating wears off. It’s for this reason that we recommend other materials, such as porcelain for the kitchen, and save the limestone for other areas in your home.
Limestone is a tender and porous stone, and it will scratch and stain if left untreated. Therefore, if you are thinking about using limestone in your shower, we recommend you choose a sealed variety. The surface may get slippery when wet, so we recommend using a brushed tile to improve grip, or coat it with a non-slip material to prevent slips.
Considering the sensitive nature of limestone, we recommend that you use it in the master bedroom only, and fit your other bathrooms with materials like porcelain instead. Having a guest or your kids damage your brand new limestone shower floor is enough to ruin anyone’s day. However, we like using sealed and polished limestone tiles for shower and bathroom walls, as it gives an elegant and classy feel.
As a porous material, limestone stains unless you protect it with a sealant. The sealant used on limestone tiles will corrode with the use of acidic kitchen cleaners, making it much more challenging to keep your floor clean. The additional maintenance involved with maintaining the seal on your tiles may be a hassle for some homeowners, so you may want to think about using porcelain for this application instead.
Removing stains from limestone tiles is no easy task. Follow these five steps for best results.
Limestone floors require more maintenance than ceramic or porcelain tiles, due to the porous nature of the natural stone. You’ll need to clean up any spills immediately using a damp cloth to avoid staining. Never leave spills to settle overnight, as you’ll have a tough time removing them the following day, and it may result in a permanent stain.
Dry mop your limestone floors every second week to remove bacteria and dirt, and make use of doormats, runners, and rugs to trap any debris. Debris brought into the home by dirty feet is the number one cause of tile staining.
The chances are that you’ve heard about the incredible cleaning power of vinegar. However, you should never use vinegar when cleaning limestone tiles. The calcium carbonate found in limestone turns into salt when exposed to acidic cleaning agents like vinegar and lemon juice. As a result of the chemical change, your tiles may become dull and start to form pitting.
Instead of using vinegar and lemon juice on your tiles, try cleaning with a light bleach solution. Bleach kills bacteria and viruses trapped in the limestone pores, and it’s an effective stain remover. However, a strong bleach solution will damage the limestone. Therefore, we recommend that you dilute ½ a cup of bleach with 5-litres of water, and then apply it to the stone using a cloth. A soft bristle scrubbing brush may help to lift stains from the tiles.
We recommend that you avoid the use of steam cleaners on your limestone tiles. While steam cleaners are effective at removing stains and cleaning tiles, they trap water in the pores of the stone. Repetitive steam cleaning can damage the limestone, causing it to crack and change colour. Tiles treated with sealant may have better resilience against steam cleaning, but the protective coating may start to wear off after a few cleaning sessions.
It’s possible to polish limestone tiles, especially if treated with a sealant. However, you won’t be able to achieve the same lustre and shine as you would with marble or granite. Here is a brief three-step guide to polishing your new limestone floor.