Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed at the bottom of the sea as small particles are compacted by pressure. A primary property of limestone is calcium carbonate which is found in the shells and bones of ocean organisms like oysters, coral, and clams. As these organisms die, their shells and bones settle on the ocean floor and are compacted into limestone.
Limestone adds a touch of tranquility and warmth to any space. It is a great material to make a room feel less sterile.
Limestone comes in a variety of hues; however, most of them are lighter shades based on beiges and tans.
Tip: Lighter colors of limestone will show fewer scratches and texture damage, while darker colors hide stains better.
Limestone is primarily available in 2 finishes: Polished and honed (a.k.a. matte).
Limestone with a polished finish has a glossy appearance. This finish is achieved through a grinding and buffing process. Polished limestone is the least porous. This means it is the most resistant to staining.
Honed (a.k.a. matte)
Limestone with a honed finish has a smooth, almost soft texture. This finish is achieved through a sanding process. Honed limestone doesn’t show scratches and etching as easily as a polished finish; however, the honing process opens the pores of the stone making it more likely to stain. A honed finish is also best for hiding fingerprints.
There are several advantages to choosing limestone such as:
Limestone is a natural product.
Limestone is a natural material and therefore has a unique appearance. Since it is comprised, in part, of the shells and bones of sea creatures, there is a good chance that your limestone will have fossils in it.
Limestone is more resistant to heat than other materials (ex. solid surface and laminate).
Limestone looks similar to marble. Since it is a less expensive option, this is a huge pro for people who want the look of marble without the price tag.
There are some disadvantages to choosing limestone including:
Low Abrasion Resistance
Limestone is pretty easily scratched and etched. You’ll want to always use a cutting board and be aware of what is coming into contact with your limestone.
Limestone is more porous than many other types of stone which means it is more easily stained than most. That and the fact that it tends to be lighter in color mean that stains will likely be more noticeable. You’ll need to watch out for acidic foods like lemon juice, tomatoes, and black tea.
Since limestone is porous it does require sealing once a year. Sealing limestone helps prevent staining.
Like all materials, limestone has its pros and cons. Limestone is easily discolored, scratched, and etched. If you’re ultra concerned about keeping your material pristine, limestone may not be the best choice for you. If, on the other hand, you want to create an airy "beachy" retreat within your own home and are more laid back about the long term appearance of the stone, the natural soothing colors and characteristics of limestone are ideal.