There are many natural stones that are being used to produce high quality tiles that can be utilized for commercial and residential purposes. Limestone, marble, granite and travertine are some examples. Some homeowners prefer the less expensive synthetic materials such as vinyl and porcelain which are also among common options being used nowadays. All these materials vary in texture and have different levels of strength. Their cost also varies depending on the source and manufacturing process. Older constructions were fitted with natural stone tiles however modern designs have incorporated synthetic materials these days.
Limestone is an excellent material that can be used for the decoration of any space. Its products include tiles, pavers, slabs and even mosaic tiles. The limestone rocks have beautiful textures as they are sedimentary rocks by nature. It is made naturally as minerals settle on the earth surface over a long period of time. Limestone has chemical composition of Calcium Carbonate. The texture is therefore developed over time and has pores that can be filled with the help of machines to give a fine look to the final products. They are also recommended for exteriors as they give a beautiful final look.
Limestone was used in construction in Turkey and Italy in ancient times in their traditional architectural masterpieces. However as times changed and new modes of transportation became common, use of Limestone spread to other parts of the globe as well.
Limestone tiles have medium range durability. They are not as long lasting as marble and other hard stones but even then they are reasonable alternatives to synthetic flooring. They are stronger as compared to vinyl, porcelain or wooden floors. When used with care and proper maintenance, Limestone tiles can stay in good shape for quite a long time period. They have a rich appearance and proper installation and care can ensure a longer life. Now let us gain a detailed insight into the benefits and issues in usage of Limestone tiles. The study of material itself and its reactivity to other chemicals is very important before selecting the specific type of floor tiles. This article aims to provide the necessary information on the use of Limestone tiles.
What is Limestone?
Limestone is a sedimentary rock mainly composed of Calcium Carbonate. It is an organic sedimentary rock which means that it is formed by the accumulation of coral, shell and algae or by direct crystallization from water. Mostly limestone is formed when marine animals such as clams, mussels and oysters in warm waters extract calcium carbonate from water to make shells and bones. When these animals die the shells and bones fall to the sea bed and accumulate there forming limestone.
Limestone is found in many locations all over the world which includes the Caribbean Sea, the Indian Ocean, islands around the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. In these locations an abundant amount of corals, Shellfish and algae produce huge amount of calcium carbonate which completely blankets the platform.
Limestone tiles come in lighter shades mostly. These subtle colors are more liked by the customers as they blend easily into the complete design of the kitchen and washroom. Ivory and Beige are the most popular color shades being used everywhere in the world. They give a soothing and open look to the kitchens. However some people like darker tones in their homes and kitchens. For those customers Limestone tiles offer dark reddish and brown colors as well.
The colors in Limestone tiles are abundantly available in the market. Whenever a tile needs to be replaced, there is as such no problem in doing so. The tile shades are so common in other kinds of tiles too. So it is not a big deal if a mix and match is required to give an exquisite look to the interior space.
It is quite easy to get Limestone tiles in a number of sizes. The stone can be cut into the desired shape and size with the help of specialized cutters. This is one of the big reasons why Limestone tiles are so popular. Customers always wish to have a convenient solution for their interiors. In addition to this they do not want to compromise on look and design idea for their home.
Limestone is so favorable material that in case of any damage, the tile can be changed very quickly. The tile replacement is not a big issue. Color matching is widely available in the market. You just have to get a new piece and fit in the place of broken tile. When compared with other types of tiles in the market, the price of Limestone tiles is usually lower. They have special glues to ensure smooth setting on the floors or walls. These glues are the only factor that raises the overall cost of Limestone tile. Even then the synthetic or wood tiles are noted to have higher rates among the available options. The final appearance of Limestone is no less than these high priced alternatives. So when you are conscious for price, Limestone is the best choice.
Finish Types of Limestone Tiles
Limestone tiles undergo different procedures to be ready for use in interiors for homes or other buildings. They are mostly polished to refine them before fixing. Market trends keep on changing with time and as a result the type of tile in high demand also varies from time to time. These days matte finish is also in fashion, so the shiny looking tiles are not the only type in great demand.
The Limestone tiles have the below mentioned finish types that can be used for channeling different aesthetics:
- Polished Limestone: The Limestone tiles have natural pores as the limestone itself is porous material. These pores are reduced through specific filling. After this the tiles are polished and ready for use. They become more reflective as the surface becomes bright and shining. The polishing also increases the slipperiness of the tiles. The polished Limestone tiles are most common in use for both floors as well as walls.
- Honed Limestone: They are filled but the polishing is kept lighter. The finished look is matte but the grace is still present. Honed Limestone tiles are quite popular as the trend for matte finish has increased in modern construction. Their maintenance becomes easy as there is no polish and tile color remains even all the time. When maintained well, honed Limestone tiles also give a soothing look and feel. They are also not slippery and therefore safe in use for everyone.
- Tumbled Limestone: This type has edges and corners in slight round shape. Other stones are used with Limestone to tumble them and give round corners. The finished look is like some old and vintage stone. This type of finishing is suitable for outdoor installation but can be complemented in design for creating a new kitchen or room style as well. For customers who like traditional old styles, tumbled Limestone can be a good decision.
- Brushed Limestone: They are the most simple and subtle colored tiles. The tiles are brushed with wire brushes and may not be tumbled. The final look is completely matte. Their usage is mostly out-door as the finishing is not done in detail.
Limestone Tile Patterns
Limestone tiles can be installed in a variety of patterns depending on the choice of the homeowner. Details of some patterns are given below.
- Regular Pattern Floor: The regular pattern is most common type of pattern used in modern bedroom, kitchen and even bathroom designs. Popular colors that are opted for this pattern are shades of gray, cream and other lighter shades. It gives the whole design scheme a uniform look and makes the floor and the room look bigger.
- Spiral Pattern Floor: Spiral pattern is mostly used in modern style interiors of kitchens and homes. It adds to the design of the interior with a trendy look. This pattern can be added to any area that requires a design boost such as the kitchen backsplash or a wall accent. The pattern is an additional feature in the design makes the environment livelier.
- Herringbone Pattern Floor: This pattern is more suitable for walls. It also forms a modern style and enhances the design of the overall interior. The pattern can be complemented with similar design on other portions of the kitchen such as cabinets etc.
- French Pattern Floor: There are French pattern limestone floors that give a look of countryside homes with a very chic vibe. They are also used in exterior of homes such as the entrance. French pattern or the Versailles pattern can be used with or without the polished finish depending on the aesthetic requirement. Polishing makes the tile slightly slippery.
- Antique Pattern Floor: Antique pattern is quite close to the French/ Versailles pattern in appearance. The traditional countryside uses this pattern for their rustic styled and designed homes. It gives off a soothing and comfortable look and adds value to the overall design.
Limestone Design Ideas
Project Flooring with Limestone Tiles:
The floor is a significant part of the home interior as it requires beauty as well as convenience at the same time. The floor design and style can be kept in line with the rest of the interior design of the house or otherwise can be chosen in slight variation to give a new look and feel to a specific room. For this reason tile selection is the key to the whole design and layout of the room. Tile material, texture and size are major factors to be kept in mind before making a final decision.
The floor of a house and complete interior has to be designed in such a way that it looks comfortable and stylish at the same time. Also the space shall be utilized very effectively so that day to day activities do not get disturbed. These tiles need to be properly installed with their surface smooth but not slippery. Everything is supposed to be blended into a complete package that attracts visitors.
Project Walls and Backsplashes with Limestone Tiles: You can make lovely wall accents and backsplashes using limestone tile. The simplicity of this tile’s appearance radiates elegance and class which is perfect for any design.
As stated earlier, Limestone is a beautiful and durable stone that is excellent for use as kitchen tiles, bathroom tiles and living room tiles. Some of the pros and cons of limestone tiles are as follows. These points shall help you to make a final choice of tiles in home.
Pros of Limestone Tiles:
- Cost: The expenses involved in the installation of limestone tiles are a lot cheaper than other natural stone such as marble and granite. Due to this reason limestone flooring is a great option for anyone who cannot afford granite and marble but still want the natural and rustic appeal of natural stone.
- Durability: Limestone has high mineral composition which makes floor tiles extremely durable. This natural stone has proven to stand the test of time. Limestone tiles will last a lifetime if properly sealed and maintained which is why its popularity has increased for use in bathroom tiles.
- Natural Aesthetics: Limestone flooring can give your home a beautiful and pristine natural look. Limestone has been in use for centuries in homes and castles due to its stunning rustic appeal which cannot be matched by any other old stone. Also limestone is also available in a variety of different colors and shades giving you the ability to choose a style of your choice.
- Flexibility: Another feature of limestone is that it is extremely versatile stone. Limestone is a soft stone as compared to other natural stones meaning it can be cut into the size of your choice so whether it is small size floor tiles or a mosaic design made of really small chunks of limestone all of this is achievable because of the softness of limestone.
- Conservation of Environment: With an increasing awareness of preserving the natural environment of our planet earth, there has been a great debate of using natural materials versus synthetic products. Use of limestone complies with the standards of environment friendly materials. Its manufacturing process is simple and short as compared to synthetic tiles. Synthetic tiles also consume more fuel and produce larger waste whereas limestone doesn’t need extensive finishing process in factory. This conserves energy and makes environment pollution free.
- Safety: Limestone tiles do not even catch fire as the material is non-flammable. Therefore safety is also a very important reason that makes Limestone one of the common choices. This is a major plus point especially for kitchens where danger of fire is always present. The synthetic tiles may break after absorbing heat.
Cons of Limestone Tiles:
- Maintenance: Limestone has to be regularly maintained otherwise they run the risk of being damaged. Limestone is porous so it has to be sealed as well in order to protect it from stains. Softer limestone requires even higher maintenance which can be expensive in the long run.
- Soft: As mentioned earlier limestone is quite soft as compared to other natural stones meaning they can be easily damaged or chipped in areas with high traffic or foot activity such as commercial kitchens. In order to reduce damage or scratches the tiles should be sealed regularly.
- Heavy in weight: Limestone is a heavy natural stone and thus the tiles are also heavy in weight. They need special care in handling and installation because of the extra weight. Also transportation becomes a little difficult for the same reason. However this weight does not affect its usefulness. They are a common option in most of the interior designs.
Cleaning and Maintenance of Limestone Tiles:
Regular cleaning of Limestone tiles ensures longer life and better condition. The natural texture of the rock helps hiding any permanent stains if present. A little care in usage and cleaning can guarantee their original look. Cleaning liquids for limestone tiles are a good solution for this purpose. Otherwise water is enough for regular wiping. A little care is enough to retain tiles and save them from spots. Since limestone is mainly composed of calcium carbonate you need to be aware that acidic substances can cause significant damage even food as innocuous as fruit juice. Here are some of the methods for cleaning limestone.
- Wet Cleaning: Take a bucket of warm water and mix a couple of soap in it. Mop the limestone floor with the mixture in a gentle way. Take your time as breakdown of filth on the surface takes time.
- Using poultice to remove stains:Acidic spills on limestone can cause deep stains and removing such stains usually requires poultice to draw the stain out of the stone. Poultice is made by taking three fourth cup of flour and add hydrogen peroxide until a paste is made. Apply the paste on the stain and let it dry, drying may take 24 to 48 hours. Once dried remove the paste with a scrapper.
How to set and maintain Limestone Tiles:
How to set Limestone Tiles
Limestone tiles are prepared through two methods. First method uses sand while the other requires concrete base. In the first method which is also known as dry-set method, the tiles are laid on sand and glued with the adhesive material to get a final shape. In the second method, mortar is used with concrete to give a finished look to the tiles.
Sealing Limestone tiles
While using Limestone tiles, one important thing to be kept in mind is that they are reactive to acids. So in order to keep them safe from erosion and dirty spots, special care should be taken. If you keep good cleaning agents and maintain the tiles on a regular basis, they remain in good condition. They have natural texture which also hides small damages.
Tile sealers help promote the durability and resilience, they also protect the tiles in high traffic areas from wear and tear. Sealers prevent acidic from soaking into the surface giving you enough time to clean the surface with a simple broom. Granite sealers are the most widely used for protection against acidic substances. Limestone color can fade overtime sealers prevent the color of the pavers from fading. They also protect the surface from stains such as oil and grease.
Sealing limestone tiles does not provide permanent protection, overtime the sealers wear off and have to be re-applied periodically, usually in the time span of two years.
The exquisite and rustic look of limestone can bring elegance to any home environment. With their everlasting look limestone is now trending in interior home design. Cheaper than other natural stone, limestone tiles are a practical option for those who want a natural stone feel in their homes.
Limestone tiles are therefore a good option when looking for kitchen or washroom designs. Their use has become very wide over time. People have shifted to Limestone instead of other expensive stones to furnish their interior spaces. They get good value for the money they spend.