Figure 1 - Limestone Tile
Limestone tiles are an excellent choice for the diy home handyman looking for that special home improvement.
Available in a variety of shades of light brown, beige, and yellow very few natural stones provide the elegance and rich appearance of limestone.
The most common surface finish for limestone is matt, making it an excellent choice where moisture may be present, as the matt finish provides for a non-slip surface.
Installing limestone tile is no different than installing any other natural stone product such as granite or marble. A thin set mortar should be used and the joints between tiles should be filled with grout. As limestone is a permeable natural stone – water can penetrate it. Therefore, it is important that the limestone tile and the grout be sealed with a very high quality, penetrating sealer to avoid having the tile permanently stained due to spills or other grime.
Limestone lends itself well to creating complex geometric patterns, as it is available in a variety of square and rectangular sizes in thicknesses of 3/16 to 1/4 of an inch thick. It is easy to cut, much easier than granite or marble, but still requires the use of a wet saw with a diamond-impregnated blade. When cut, limestone has a relatively smooth edge, which can be easily filed or honed to a smooth finish.
As with granite and marble it is important when purchasing your limestone tiles to pay attention to the lot numbers. Any specific lot number means that the individual limestone tiles were cut from the same block of limestone and should provide a color and grain match. Always remember that one of the things that makes any natural stone floor rich and unique is that no two pieces of natural stone are exactly the same in color or grain.
Because of the grain and color differences, it is important that you always buy extra tiles, as any specific lot number may not be available a few days after your original purchase. If you are installing a basic grid pattern, it is recommended that you purchase at least 10% more tile than the basic square footage calculation of the room or area to be tiled would indicate.
For a diamond pattern the recommendation is 20% more than the square footage calculation. There are two reasons for buying an additional 20% more tiles if creating a diamond pattern:
- The first is that there is more waste material when cutting the tiles into diamond shapes around the perimeter of the area being tiled.
- The second is that you are more likely to make errors and have tiles crack when cutting them in a half diamond and small triangles to finish the edges.
Of course nothing is every perfect. With all the positive attributes of limestone there is one negative. Limestone is a very porous material and even if heavily sealed with a penetrating sealer it should not be used in kitchens or full bathrooms – bathrooms with showers or tubs. This is because bacteria can grow within the pores of the tile.
Building codes in many areas prohibit the use of limestone tile in restaurant kitchens.
Natural limestone tile is an excellent choice for hallways, foyers, and dining rooms. Its elegance will last for generations, enhance any home, and its neutral colors will compliment most any choice of décor.