Limestone is a natural stone that is resistant to the effects of many external factors. In this regard, the stone is popular in interior and exterior decoration. Limestone is a sedimentary rock, and consists mainly of quartz, but also there are clay inclusions, impurities of silicon and phosphate, sand particles, and inclusions in the form of remnants of microorganisms in its structure. Conventionally, limestone is formed in the marine environment (more rarely – in freshwater) and may also occur as a result of deformation of other limestones.
Limestone and its features
Among the main features of the limestone one can note its durability, strength and ductility. Items of any shape can be produced from it, and at the same time they maintain their exterior for many years. Thus, due to its natural composition, limestone has excellent antiseptic properties. Therefore, it doesn’t infest parasites and harmful microorganisms. As a rule, in natural environment limestone is formed in light colors: the entire range of beige and white, yellow and light yellow, light gray, pink limestone is rarer. Stone tolerates temperatures below zero. One can also note its ease of fabrication: limestone is easily sawn, split and cut – in any direction. It can also be handworked, applying the lathe. The fact that the stone can be calcined is rather important ass well. The result is decorations, such as for example the ones with carving or of openwork or relief forms, as well as mosaic. Note that there should be no contact of limestone with acids.
Limestone and its types
There are several kinds of limestone, which differ mainly in their structure. For example, there is the so-called marbled type of limestone, which is something between the actual limestone and marble. Its peculiarity is that it has a crystalline structure, it possesses sufficient strength to be used in the creation of sculptures and also in construction. Limestone with fine-grained or dense structure is Especially strong. Veneesr, which are used for external cladding of houses, are produced of it, and it is also used in the interior decoration. These limestones are very durable. The Egyptian pyramids, in the outer coating of which there is a thick layer of dense limestone, are the evidence of it. The structure of this type is mainly composed of fragments of shells of marine fauna. It may include small grains of calcite as well.
Porous limestone, it is also called “loose” limestone, differs from the dense one so that the degree of granularity of the structure is different. Porous limestones are represented by several types. Oolitic limestone is the most interesting of them. These are the units, which consist of a great number of balls, each of them contains a grain of sand, or a fragment of shell, or another “foreign body”. Pisolitic limestones have a similar structure, but the balls are larger. Coquina familiar to us, which is composed of many tiny fragments of shells, also refers to the porous limestone. Coquina is most often used as a decorative material, and modern processing methods allow the stone to be polished, resulting in a unique material. Tiles, which can also be provided for finishing fireplaces, is made of limestone. Note that the experts say that it is perhaps the only material that is absolutely not subject to the accumulation of radiation. Travertine has the same porous structure. It is known that this term is applied to the designation of aged marble, but it is also called a breed (attributable to the porous limestone), which is formed after sedimentation of calcite (from the water, mainly from carbon sources). If we are talking about a very porous limestone, it is called calcareous tufa, which is also used in construction and decoration. Another variety of limestone – marl, a quarter or half of which consists of clay particles. Limestone is used for exterior and interior wall cladding. In particular, this can be implemented in precious stone design projects. Limestone is well combined with ceramics, glass, wood, artistic forging, light metals and other non-aggressive modern materials. Using this stone it is possible to create ethnic style in the interior, as well as classical interiors, but without the flashy luxury. This stone is suitable for the implementation of refined and harmonious design ideas, including some modern styles – for example, minimalism, or the Asian direction.
The usage of limestone
Traditionally, such decorative items as columns, stairs or steps (interior or exterior), cornices, skirting boards, railing and arches, small architectural forms are made of limestone. Any item can be designed for interior or for landscaping. In addition, although whilre primary processing limestone dissolves in water, it can be used as the lining material for walls, floors, openings of windows or doors, and in the areas with high moisture conditions (bathrooms, kitchens, and others) as well.
In addition to the exterior sheathing, in exterior limestone is also used in landscape design. Natural harmonious environment with the introduction of the nobility is the “nature” of this material. In particular, one can see the garden paths paved with limestone, fountains or ponds decorated with it, patios and fences. Moreover, imestone is very well suited for rock gardens design: it promotes the creation of a natural circulation of air and moisture, and influences greatly the composition of the soil under the plant.
Speaking directly about the construction, cement or concrete, gravel, rock wool, portland cement can often contain limestone. Besides, lime powder is good for creating a variety of mixes. Rubble with limestone is rather popular as well. It is also present in lime or other modern compositions and mixtures used for whitewash or daub of buildings. Note that limestone is used in industry. For example, in road construction, while installing protective structures in coastal zones, in the paint and the pulp and paper industry. Note that limestone is used in the glass industry, for creating thermally stable and chemically resistant glass types. Another interesting field of application of this stone is its usage in the polishing of non-ferrous metal items or mother-of-pearl.