What Is Limestone And Its Uses?

When you are looking for an option for your countertop, there are many choices in the marketplace. One type of natural countertop is limestone. This stone has some advantages and disadvantages with its utility, but it is an ideal choice for natural beauty. You just can’t beat the elegance of this stone. If you have some questions about using this stone for your countertops, we have some answers for you.

What Is Limestone?

Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is composed of calcite. That calcite is a calcium carbonate mineral that forms in warm, calm, and shallow marine waters. Since limestone is a biological sedimentary rock, there could be natural debris in the material, such as algae, shells, and coral. In some cases, limestone can be formed during a chemical sedimentary process involving calcium carbonate and precipitation from the ocean or lake water.

Types of Limestone

There are various types of limestone. Some of the most common ones include:

Chalk – This type of limestone forms when there is an accumulation of calcareous shell remains from organisms known as foraminifera. However, this limestone can form from the remains of marine algae. Chalk has a very fine texture, and you can easily crumble or crush it. Its appearance ranges from light gray to white. While chalk was only utilized for blackboards in the past, natural additives can improve this stone’s performance so that it can be used for a variety of purposes.

Coquina – This limestone consists of sand-like fragments of coral debris or calcareous shells. You will typically find coquina along the shores of a beach. As the waves pound against the stone, it introduces locally produced biological grains into the material. In many cases, you can find debris from mollusks, coral, trilobites, gastropods, and invertebrates.

Crystalline Limestone – With heat, chemical, and pressure activity, the limestone’s calcite can start to transform. This process is known as metamorphism. The calcium carbonate begins to recrystallize into a fine-grained calcite crystal. As the stage progresses, those crystals start to increase in size, and they can turn into a type of metamorphic rock known as marble.

Dolomitic Limestone – This type of limestone rock is composed of calcite, which has been altered to dolomite. In magnesium-rich groundwater, the carbonate sediments are modified. The chemical process is known as dolomitization, and it can completely transform the limestone.

Uses of Limestone

With limestone, you have a natural stone that can be used in a variety of ways. In many cases, it can be crushed for railroad ballast, foundation stone, and road base. When it is fired in a kiln, and crushed shale is added, you can create cement.

Since there are several types of limestone, some perform better than others due to their properties. They can often stand up to freezing temperatures and abrasion. In many cases, this stone is cut into slabs and used for construction. You will often see limestone utilized for window sills, facing stones, and floor tiles. Some roofing materials can contain limestone. When crushed into a fine particle, this rock is used as a heat- and weather-resistant coating for asphalt shingles.

The smelting process heats up limestone to remove any impurities. This process is known as slag, and the result produces a product called flux stone. Limestone can also be heated in a kiln with sand, shale, and other materials. It is ground to a powder and mixed with water to form Portland cement.

If you have acidic soil, limestone can be used as a treatment. It can neutralize that acid, and many people spread it in their fields and yards. Limestone is an animal feed filler. Chickens consume calcium carbonate to produce stronger eggshells in a dietary supplement known as “chicken grits.” Some dairy cattle will eat a mixture of this limestone to replace any lost calcium from the milking process.

Pulverized limestone can be grounded into a fine powder known as “rock dust.” In underground mines, that substance reduces coal dust and boosts illumination. Plus, it can improve the air quality for those miners working underground.

Countertops are another place where you can find limestone. The natural stone is very durable, and it comes in a wide variety of colors. Depending on where the limestone was quarried, this natural stone countertop is often resistant to humidity and heat.

Limestone Countertops Pros and Cons

Now that you know that limestone can be used for countertops, it is time to look at the benefits and disadvantages of this natural stone. For starters, limestone has an elegant beauty to it. It can fit into a wide range of design plans. This stone is one of the most popular choices in the world, and you can find it in some of the most iconic buildings, such as the Great Pyramid, Parthenon, and Lincoln Memorial. There is nothing on the marketplace that matches the style of this natural stone.

While there are plenty of benefits, limestone comes with a few disadvantages. If you want a maintenance-free stone, limestone is not the choice for you. You have to be careful about extreme heat and scratches. In some cases, you will have to take extra time to clean and maintain the surface.

Is a Limestone Countertop Right for You?

Limestone is an excellent choice in any home. This natural stone comes in several different colors, and you can find one to match your existing interior design. It is unmatched in beauty, but it does come with a price. You will have to perform some extra maintenance on it to keep this natural stone looking its best. In the kitchen, keep away those hot pans and sharp objects to prevent damage. However, for most people, limestone is the ideal choice for their countertops.

Find Granite Companies Nearby

If you want to bring home the beauty of limestone or any other countertop product, make sure to contact our experienced team at Marble Concepts. We can help you find the perfect countertop material for your home. You can schedule a consultation by calling 215-396-7393.