Studded with fossils on an often matte background, limestone has an elegant, old world look and feel that enhances any setting. While limestone is made of the same materials that later become the stone known as marble, it has a marked difference in its looks, use, and care.
Limestone is a sedimentary stone, usually formed in a shell bed. Like marble, it’s made up mostly of calcite. Unlike marble, it has not been subjected to heat and pressure, so it remains softer than marble, often with fewer minerals present in its makeup.
What limestone does have is the presence of the many different shells and fossils that were present in the beds it formed in. Some stones, like Café Pinta, are extremely studded with fossils, while other stones may only have the occasional fossil or shell showing.
Unlike marble, limestone rarely contains any veins, nor does it come in a wide range of colors. Typically, limestone comes in shades of cream, tan, gray, and brown although some variation may occur. While the stone will vary from piece to piece, the variation is often less extreme than some other stones.
Most limestone is given either a honed or a tumbled finish, simply because it is often too soft to take a high polish. Those limestones that can take a high polish are often a little harder and more durable than limestones that are unable to be polished.
Because limestone is so much softer than marble, it stains, scratches, and etches more easily. This means limestone does not do as well in very wet or high traffic areas.
The exception to this is often French limestone. French limestone is formed slightly differently than limestones found in other parts of the world. It has a visibly textured surface that can be honed smooth to the touch, and usually holds up to traffic much better than other limestone types.
With its subtle color palette and beautiful finish, limestone brings a lot of character to any design. Use it on the floors or walls of your home to instantly infuse them with charm.