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Limestone Siding | Limestone Home Siding | Limestone House Siding

What About Limestone Siding?

When pondering siding options, one reliable choice for many homeowners is stone. Stone is the ultimate in low maintenance, high performance, and longevity. Stone is gorgeous and virtually impervious to everything Mother Nature can throw at it. The oldest buildings in the world that are still standing are made from stone, after all and they still look great.

Stone is also a chameleon it can look elegant and stately, contemporary and modern, or even rustic. On the other hand, stone siding isn't exactly inexpensive! However, you know you won't have to sand, paint, stain, or replace it for…well, let's just say you won't have to worry about it in your lifetime.

The most common choices in natural stone siding are slate, sandstone, limestone, and granite. Limestone is a popular material in architecture because it is a plentiful resource, and readily available (you won't have to import it). It's also durable, withstanding exposure very well, and yet can be cut and shaped relatively easily, whether into simple blocks or more complex shapes.

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The Science Behind Limestone

Limestone is formed in the ocean (but also in lakes and rivers, and sometimes even on land) and is composed mostly of animal shells. It's a type of sedimentary rock (formed in layers) that is called non-clastic: This means that it is not made from other rocks or rock particles (sandstone is clastic because it is made from grains of sand), but rather from an organic or chemical process. Over time, as layer after layer forms, pressure causes the lower layers to solidify (lithify) into rock.

Non-clastic rocks, in other words, can be made through chemical precipitation and crystallization, or by the slow compression and consolidation of dead organic matter (such as those animal shells). Of all the non-clastic sedimentary rocks, limestone is the most abundant.

To be even more specific, limestone is made from sediment and the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate). Calcium carbonate can be precipitated from ocean water, or created by creatures (such as coral and algae) that secrete lime.

Variations

How limestone is created by precipitation, algae, or coral, for instance is what accounts for all the different types of limestone. Limestone is typically white, but the introduction of other materials during the lithification process can produce different hues. Iron oxide, sand, clay, organic remains and other items can result in limestone that is brown, yellow, or red. If carbon is present, it can produce limestone that is blue, black, or grey.

Texture is another important and distinctive feature. Limestone textures can range from coarse to very fine. Depending on the way it is formed, limestone can be dense, crystalline, clastic, or granular. Small cavities may form during the process, and crystals of calcite, quartz, dolomite or barite may settle there. Dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate) can also make limestone harder and stronger.

Another type of sedimentary rock called chert, which is rich in silica and may contain small fossils, can aggregate within the limestone. Chert nodules in limestone layers are actually quite common.

Limestone deposits can vary in size, but they are usually very thick. When organic acids interact with underground limestone deposits, the result can be the formation of caverns. Tourist destinations such as the Carlsbad Caverns, Luray Caverns, and Mammoth Cave are just a few examples.

Color Variety

Limestone offers builders and homeowners a broad palette of rich, earthy hues. In fact, limestone has one of the most diverse and unique ranges of color found in nature. Its browns run the gamut from espresso to latte, and its yellows from cream to wheat to honey. It can be found in pure white, or in lightly tinted white in various shades, from beige to bone to ecru. It is also available in pink, rose, peach, speckled black, multiple shades of grey, a variety of blues, and even fossil green.

Breadth

Limestone is versatile. It can be used to introduce a sense of history and grandeur and reflect European sensibilities in design, but its broad color variety also lends itself to dramatically different architectural styles as well. It can be modern, postmodern, urbane, relaxed, commercial, residential, urban, suburban, stately, or even bucolic the stylistic possibilities are limitless. Limestone is highly adaptable, and therefore a popular choice for contractors, designers, and homeowners.

Test of Time

History shows that limestone is durable and incredibly long-lasting. For that reason, it has been a common building material for centuries. Around the world, limestone has been used to grace churches, city halls, courthouses, temples, castles, museums, mansions, and monuments, and those buildings are still standing today. Perhaps the most famous structures built with limestone are the pyramids of Egypt an amazing testament to the resilience of limestone.

Why Limestone?

There are countless reasons to choose limestone. It has many benefits, chief among them its strength. Stone has always been, and still is, the most durable building material available.

Of course, the one drawback to limestone siding is not minor: its cost. Stone siding is expensive, and therefore limestone siding may not be an option for many homeowners. However, for those able to consider utilizing this beautiful natural stone, limestone offers numerous advantages.

First and foremost, it'll last for many generations and require no maintenance a gift for you and your heirs. Limestone siding is truly a sound investment that pays off in perpetuity: The initial cost may be high, but the return on investment is through the roof.

Limestone siding is timeless a classic beauty. In terms of fashion, limestone siding is a choice that will never go out of style. Limestone structures in vogue thousands of years ago remain icons of style and beauty today. Much of that distinct style comes from the unique qualities of limestone, such as the inimitable texture and color of each individual stone each one a piece of art millions of years in the making. Every speck, streak, and hue change reflects an event in history and tells the story of its creation. Complementing its broad color selection, limestone also offers a variety of finish options: It can be honed, polished, split face, bush hammered, rubbed, or sandblasted.

In addition to its beauty and longevity, medium density limestone, per ASTM standards, has a compressive strength of 4,000 psi and a maximum absorption rate of 7.5%. It can be rough sawn, yet rates a 10 on the scale for minimum hardness and abrasion resistance.

Lastly, limestone is a natural resource. It's plentiful, and can be quarried locally, making it cheaper (no import or major transport costs) and reducing its carbon footprint (less fuel used in transport). It is also virtually indestructible, and will not succumb to pests or weather extremes (earthquakes are about the only natural phenomena to pose a threat). The beauty, versatility, and performance of limestone make it a solid siding choice for discerning homeowners.

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