Limestone Flooring

Thursday September 10, 2009
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Limestone, one of the most common kinds of sedimentary rock, is found all over the world. It was formed by a slow deposition of sediment under sustained pressure for several million years. The vast majority of limestone deposits are of marine origin primarily of plant, animal and other organic matter which was deposited on the ocean beds and compressed under subsequent deposits and the weight of the water itself.

Estimates indicate that limestone accounts for about 10% of all sedimentary rock deposits found on earth. Calcium carbonate is the prime mineral in limestone which is mixed with other mineral impurities. It is these impurities that account for the texture and varieties of color in limestone. A little known fact is that both chalk and marble are diverse examples of limestone. As can be appreciated, there is an enormous difference in appearance and feel between these two stones of similar origin. Chalk is typically white, soft and crumbly as against marble which comes in a wide array of colors and is hard with crystalline grains. Other examples of limestone are dolomite, marl and oolite.

Limestone has been used for centuries in building. It is an integral ingredient of cement manufacture and animal feed. Limestone deposits have harbored many fossilized organisms so are of special interest to paleontologists.

Limestone is renowned for its strength, but is also slip resistant and does not blister when exposed to water. The stone is suitable in different weather conditions and can sustain extremes in temperature. These properties make limestone an excellent flooring choice. Used in flooring, limestone slabs and tiles are the commonest form. Limestone tiles come in many finishes such as rubbed, honed, polished and sand–blasted.

Limestone floor tiles are available in an enormous range of colors that include grays and blacks, yellows, browns blues and greens. In fact a limestone floor color can be found to match almost any theme.

Though limestone floors are durable and wear–resistant, it is not as hard as many other stone floorings. It is not recommended for kitchens where there is a high incidence of spillage which could stain the floor, especially if the spillage is caustic or acidic in nature. It also gets easily scratched by grit and sand, so is not advisable for use in high traffic areas.

Maintenance of limestone flooring is not difficult as only sweeping and mopping is generally necessary. If particularly dirty, the flooring could be cleaned with warm water to which is added the recommended quantity of a ph neutral floor cleaning liquid. At all costs, cleaning agents with a high acidic content, or those containing bleaching agents, should be avoided.

Every few years, an application of limestone floor sealant keeps the flooring in pristine condition. It also acts as a repellant to moisture which is likely to damage the appearance. With the minimum of regular maintenance and reasonable care, a limestone floor can last a lifetime without any compromise in its looks.

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