Want a durable, unique floor? You may want to consider limestone. Having been used for centuries, limestone has proved it can stand the test of time - while looking beautiful.
Most people like limestone flooring because it goes with anything. When it's beige and beautiful, you really can't go wrong. But if you're part of the adventurous crowd, there are options for you. Besides coming in numerous cream shades, limestone can be found in grey, green, blue, brown and deep red.
In addition to coming in many colors, limestone's available in many textures. From uniform to highly irregular, limestone can be as impressive or bland as you desire. Limestones featuring an irregular pattern often contain veining, fossils or both.
To truly understand limestone's look, you've got to break it down to its science. Limestone is simply one step away from marble. Both stones are made from the same material: calcium carbonate, which is really shellfish that feel down to the bottom of the ocean and were compressed, according to Ronald Williams, the owner of Impression
, which is one of the best limestone fabricators in America. If limestone had been heated more, it would have been crystallized like marble. But it wasn't. So while limestone looks somewhat like marble, the main difference is limestone has a coarser texture.
Limestone flooring comes in many different styles - from shiny to honed, from rustic to formal. Typically, people stay away from the shiny limestone because it shows scratches much better than honed limestone. If you really want an aged look, the limestone surface can be scratched, brushed or blasted and the edges can be chiseled.
When it comes to patterns, the possibilities are endless. Limestone can come in any shape you can imagine.
"It's hard sometimes for people to understand that we're sitting on big blocks of stone," Williams said. "What is it do you want from that?"
But before you get too excited, there are a few things to keep in mind. Limestone that's been brushed, scratched or blasted to look aged is harder to maintain, according to Williams.
"[Antiqued finishes] open up the pores of the limestone," Williams said. "That's where the dirt gets in, but it's easily washed off. So it's not a major maintenance problem."
Another style option you may want to avoid are pillow edges. A pillow edge is where the edge of a limestone tile is rounded to resemble a pillow. While it may look pretty, it's a minor safety hazard. One wrong step and you can stub your toe, according to Williams. And that's not all too comfortable.
Other than avoiding pillow edges, getting cold feet is the only other concern associated with limestone flooring. But that problem is easily solved by installing radiant heating underneath.
While it may seem hard to believe, limestone flooring is very easy to maintain. Partly due to its lack of shine, limestone's ease of maintenance makes it perfect for highly used rooms where it might occasionally or frequently be scratched. As was mentioned above, having a low sheen makes scratches much less noticeable than on floors with a high polish.
To keep limestone flooring looking flawless, it's best to apply a sealer or impregnator. Those will block off the pores of the limestone, which keeps stains from seeping in. Once the sealer or impregnator is applied, all you have to do is mop the limestone flooring when it gets dirty. Talk about easy.
When it comes to chipping, it's unlikely your limestone flooring will. However, accidents do happen. If you happen to drop something heavy on your limestone flooring, it can be fixed. A piece of limestone the same size as the chip is glued to the limestone flooring using an epoxy with ground limestone in it to conceal the seams, according to Williams.
When installing limestone flooring, be sure to put a membrane between the limestone and the concrete slab. That way if the concrete slab cracks, the limestone won't. And after having beautiful limestone installed, the last thing you want is for it to crack.