When it comes to tiling the floor of any space, natural stones are a big hit. Limestone is a popular choice because of its many advantages.
To begin with, it looks great and is also durable. It is also not without its limitations but we’ll get into the details in a minute. And our aim is to provide you with a short guide to help you make up your mind.
In this article we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Limestone floors for homes along with some details about this natural stone so that you will make an informed decision about this flooring option.
What Is Limestone?
Let’s start by understanding the geology of the rock itself. It is mainly made of calcium carbonate and is a sedimentary rock.
It is formed naturally when corals, algae and shells are crystallized from water. So, typically, it occurs organically when sea animals extract calcium carbonate in warm waters to make bones and shells.
So, are these beings killed to extract limestone? No. It is extracted from the sea bed when oysters and clams die and get accumulated.
Main Pros of Limestone Flooring
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Let’s look at the good news first and discuss some advantages of Limestone floor material:
When you compare it to other natural stones like granite and marble, this is a lot cheaper. And if you are scouting the market for tiles, you will find limestone in a range of prices.
It is tougher to maintain because it gets stained easily and that is one of the reasons it is so affordable. However, many people select this type for various reasons.
Just because it is cheap doesn’t mean it won’t last you a long time. These are not sweatpants that you bought off the street.
If you take good care of the stone (as you should) limestone has the potential to last a really long time because of its mineral composition. This is often described as a soft stone but it has proven to stand the test of time.
Certainly, Limestone is more durable than soft wood flooring options.
If you want a natural stone for the flooring within your budget but also something that looks good, limestone is a good choice. Unlike other natural stones like marble and granite, limestone does not feel sterile.
These tiles add a warm vibe to the room and can come in rainbow colors from beige leaning towards pink to bluish grey, white and ivory which makes them look layered.
If you’re lucky, you might spot the fossil of a marine animal which only adds to their aesthetics. Whether you are looking for a rustic look, an elegant one or a fusion of traditional and contemporary interior styles limestone fits right in.
There is no better feeling than knowing that your renovation or construction materials are not harming the planet. Eco-friendly is another point in favor of limestone.
And if you are a smoker, you’ll be happy to know that this stone is not flammable.
It also complies with environmental regulations because even the commercial slabs do not contain any harmful chemicals. And when it is time to give it up, you can dispose of the stone safely.
We’ve mentioned that limestone is often described to be a soft stone. That can be an asset because it can be cut in different dimensions and be used in many contexts from living rooms to the bathroom.
It works on walls just as well as it does on the floor. You can even use it as a countertop in the kitchen and you won’t regret your choice.
But a sturdy/steady footfall can do a lot of damage. So don’t choose limestone for the floor in your hallway or the kitchen.
Main Cons of Limestone Flooring
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Speaking of damage, nothing is perfect. And that is not a problem as long as you work within its limitations.
Let’s see some main disadvantages of Limestone floors next:
When you compare it with the durability of granite and marble, limestone does not come off as well. It is a reasonable choice when compared to vinyl, porcelain and wood but you need to take good care of it.
Moreover, Limestone is a porous stone and gets stained easily. So, make sure you seal it to keep it looking good in the long run. You need to have in mind the maintenance aspect more often than other types of flooring material.
Professionals suggest to seal the surface periodically to increase its longevity.
The good news is that there are some natural stains on limestone that can hide the stains you have caused. But if you want to keep it looking as good as it can, you are going to have to get some special limestone cleaner product.
If you want to stick to water, make sure you wipe the tiles down regularly. Acidic chemicals are bad news because it is made of calcium carbonate. That applies to some fruits as well. So, you really want to watch what you do on this stone.
It is cheaper when compared to other natural stones but when you look at artificial options like vinyl or ceramic, limestone does not look so cheap. If you’re flooring a commercial space, limestone tiles might not work well for your budget.
Limestone tiles are an interesting idea but the larger tiles are quite heavy and you need to account for that weight with respect to flooring. The heaviness also makes transportation and they tend to chip and crack easily which makes installation a bit tricky.
This is a porous stone and can chip easily compared to other natural stones in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic.
That is why it is not a preferred choice for hallways and commercial kitchens. If you want to save it from damage, you must seal and treat the tiles regularly.
Limestone Bathroom Tiles Pros and Cons
Here are some benefits and drawbacks of using limestone on your bathroom tile floors.
Affordability: If you want to use natural stone in your bathroom, limestone is one of the more affordable choices. It is far less expensive than marble or granite, but still has the beauty and unique details that give natural stone an advantage over artificial flooring.
Appearance: Another pro of installing limestone bathroom tiles is their beauty. Limestone is a gorgeous, light stone that can provide an airy, natural look in your bathroom, really opening up the space.
Variety: Even if you are just looking at limestone, there are so many varieties within this stone that you won’t feel as if you are limiting yourself. You can choose from many different colors, finishes, and patterns.
Fragility: Although limestone is less expensive than other natural stones such as marble, it is also more fragile. While it can usually withstand the limited traffic that comes with bathroom installations, you’ll still need to be careful when installing heavy elements.
High Maintenance: Limestone is also more difficult to install and maintain than other services. You will probably need to hire professionals to install your flooring, while other tiles are easier to manage for an experienced amateur DIYer. Limestone also needs regular maintenance to avoid staining and you need to be very careful when cleaning it to avoid scratching the surface.
Limestone Flooring Cost
The price of limestone tiles depends on the thickness, quality, color, and even the finish of the tile. Most are in the $3 to $10 range per individual tile. The cost of covering your entire bathroom will depend on the surface area that you are working with.
However, limestone flooring comes with additional installation costs because you almost certainly will have to hire a professional.
Even if you try to install it yourself, the extra costs of the materials, including a wet saw, could cost you as much as hiring a professional. Most professional flooring installers charge $6 to $17 per square foot.
How Do You Maintain a Limestone Floor?
After installing a limestone floor, sealing will help prevent staining and moisture damage. Reapply sealant every five to seven years to renew the protection.
You need to regularly clean and maintain a limestone floor because it is more prone to staining than other materials. Wipe up any spills, particularly makeup, before they have a chance to stain.
When cleaning a limestone floor, use a soft broom to sweep up dust and grime that could scratch the surface.
Some guides recommend using a vacuum, but vacuums could scratch the floor if you’re not careful. Wipe down the surface with a mop, but be sure to wring out excess water.
What Do You Clean a Limestone Floor with?
To get rid of dust and hard debris, use a soft broom or vacuum. Some guides recommend sweeping daily to avoid scratching the tile, which could happen if people accidentally step on grime particles and drag them.
You should also clean your limestone regularly with wet cleaning materials. Use a soft floor cloth or mop as rougher materials could scratch the surface.
Create a gentle mixture of water and a pH-balanced cleanser. Harsh chemicals and acidic liquids could damage the floor. There are even special cleaning solutions made just for limestone flooring if you want to be particularly careful.
Finally, when cleaning limestone, be sure that there is never too much water on the surface. Wring out the mop thoroughly before using it and dry the limestone using a soft cloth afterward. Standing water could stain the limestone.
Is Limestone Flooring Slippery When Wet?
Different types of limestone flooring have different levels of slipperiness. Shiny polished limestone tiles are very slippery since the polish fills in the tile’s porosity. Other types of limestone, such as honed limestone and travertine, are less slippery.
Any bathroom surface will become slippery when wet, so just be sure to exercise caution. Put down bath mats or towels to prevent too much water from getting on the surface and wipe down any spills after someone takes a bath. Water should never be left on your limestone tiles anyway as it could cause staining.
The Bottom Line
There are many natural stones in the market. But none of them can give you the looks and the longevity like limestone in this price range. Yes, it takes a little work to install and maintain the stone but almost everything does.
If you are not a habitual cleaner maybe this is not the stone for you. But if you’re a fully grown adult with weekend cleaning rituals, you might quite enjoy the beauty and the work that comes with having a floor full of limestone tiles.
Experts say that one of the best ways to balance the pros and cons of this stone is to pick a low-traffic spot and tile it with limestone. You’ll enjoy the aesthetics without worrying about staining.
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