Understanding Hardscaping 101 – Limestone
As the poet W. H. Auden endeavored to describe his vision of paradise, he penned the following phrase – “What I see is a limestone landscape.” We couldn’t agree more. Or at the very least, a beautiful limestone patio.
Limestone is often one of the materials chosen to be used in a construction project because it is universal and enduring at the same time. In fact, it has been used as part of architectural design for several thousands of years; and has also been used to construct quite a few of earth’s most incredible structures, including the White House, the Houses of Parliament, the Empire State Building, and even the great pyramids in Egypt. So why is there so much attraction to this one particular stone? We think it it has something to do with it’s distinctive all-natural feel and it’s lasting durability.
Could limestone be the best product to use on your next hardscaping project? In this article, we discuss the various factors you need to consider including the different varieties of limestone, available colors, and required upkeep.
What Is Limestone?
Limestone can best be described as a sedimentary stone primarily made up of calcium carbonate (marine fossils) and various quantities of sand, silt, or clay. The various additional materials forming the limestone will be the supply of its wide variety of color options, which range from such neutral colors like gray, beige, or tan, to more bold colors like blue, red, and green.
Because limestone comprises approximately ten percent of all forms of sedimentary rock, you can find mineral build ups of it all around the globe. Limestone quarries have been found within certain regions of the United States of America (particularly in Texas and around the Great Lakes), the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, and India, along with several more countries.
Limestone is considered to be a fantastic material for building outdoor decks and patios because of its softly textured outer layer combined with its reputation for being a durable and lasting stone. It is also a popular choice for outdoor building materials because of its ability to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the year – it is not likely that it will get too cool during the winter, but it also will not get too warm during the hot summer months.
Variations of Limestone Available
You can find several hundred variations of limestone available in various colorations and shades, textural design, and surface finishes, determined by their varying degrees of the number of fossils making them up, the shape and size of the stone, and its level of permeability.
Typically, limestone pavers are composed of a honed surface, but sometimes certain variations might split naturally. Some limestone may be heated at a higher temperature to provide its outer surface with a more even texture. Edges may also be chiseled, carved, tumbled, cracked, or sliced.
Several varieties of limestone could be utilized for constructing a deck or patio, while other forms are better suited for different exterior attributes like walls and trim. This is because certain forms of limestone are far greater when used for constructing a flat surface than other types of limestone are. Your nearby limestone provider will have the ability to educate you on the form of limestone that will be ideal for your specific project.
Limestone Color Variations
Limestone is available in a wide array of color options and variations. You can find limestone in very neutral colors such as light gray, light blue, cream, white, tan, and beige; but you can also find limestone in very bold statement colors such as a darker gray, dark blue, green, and red. The variations in the coloration of the limestone occurs because certain limestones are far more variegated than other forms are. Generally speaking, the softer the coloring of the limestone, the greater the amount of calcium carbonate it is composed of. One factor to consider when selecting the color of your limestone is that the darker the limestone color is, the more likely it is going to fade with time.
What Type of Maintenance Is Needed With Limestone?
Among the list of the many great factors for choosing limestone to construct your deck or patio is the fact that it will not require being sealed and it is very easy to maintain. You can choose to clean it simply by washing it down with water or a mixture of water and an alkaline based cleaner like ammonia or bleach (just remember you cannot mix ammonia and bleach together). However, you should not ever use a cleaner containing an acid like vinegar or lemon juice because the acid can leave an imprint in the limestone. One thing to be aware of is that efflorescence, a common mineral build-up with a powdery-white appearance, can develop on limestone, but can easily be cleaned off by using a scrub brush.