Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed in water primarily from Calcium Carbonate (Calcite). Many of the commonly used varieties were formed by the deposits of the hard remains of former organisms such as corals and shells. Calcite is a relatively soft mineral and careful selection will be required when it is chosen for flooring. Variations in the types and quantities of shell and other remains and the nature of the material provide a huge range in the types of Limestone available.
Limestone has a timeless quality. It has been used in buildings for several thousand years yet still lends itself to modern usage and design. Limestones are used extensively in both new building and restoration in flooring, cladding and on decorations.
Limestone is very common in Architecture, particularly in major cities and towns as it stands up well to exposure and it is perfect for intricate shaping and moulding. This stone is eminently suitable for producing masonry of excellence in all aspects of plain and detailed work.
Its presence in Churches and Cathedrals with their intricate sculptures boasts the skill of the mason and adds interest and enrichment to building facades. It is also used in numerous public and private buildings which provide outstanding examples of its durability. In its pure form it is white but chemical impurities running through its structure will attract other colours.
Iron Oxide will create brown, red or honey tones and Carbon/Butane will invite blue, black or grey. The colours of limestones range from almost white to warm honey. The erratic nature of these colours makes each piece unique. The textures range from fine even grained through smooth fossil bearing types to the coarse open textured Portland. Some take a polish and can be used as marble.
Among the better known limestones of the Jurassic age are those of Purbeck, Ancaster and Bath, whereas Portland stone is a characteristic feature of London Architecture. Imported Limestones, most notably from Europe are equally admired.