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Limestone conveys calmness and serenity. Mystique and romance. A very soft, sensuous, and elegant natural stone. Yet, neutral and versatile. It combines subtleness and sophistication. It’s consistent in color adding warmth to the modern and contemporary home.

Limestone is ideal for today’s more casual and comfortable environments. The soft beiges and tans are suitable for bathrooms, fireplaces, counters and floors, although they are appropriate for exterior applications as well. In locations that are susceptible to freezing temperatures, travertine is normally used for interior wall cladding and decoration only.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is formed at the bottom of lakes and seas, as organic matters settle to the bottom. As more and more layers build up over thousands and millions of years, adding more and more weight, the heat and pressure cause chemical reactions to take place to harden the sediments into solid stone that consists mainly of calcium that was deposited by the remains of marine animals. Colors may range from creamy whites and yellows to browns and blacks that impart warmth and subtlety to any structure.


Abrasion Resistance

Most limestones have low abrasion resistance, although hardness and density can vary from stone to stone. Some limestones are very soft and should not be cut on. Things such as coins, keys, and knives will scratch the stone’s surface. Other limestones are very dense and hard, and can be finished to a polished or a glossy shiny surface. Softer stones can not be polished to this high gloss finish.


Most limestones have high absorption ratings. They are porous and will readily absorb liquids. The porosity will vary depending on the type of limestone. Examine the back of the stone. If the surface appears open or sponge like, this is a sign that the stone has a high rate of absorption. It is porous and will show stains easier. Once a stain is absorbed, it will be much harder to remove. All limestone should be sealed after application.

Acid Sensitivity

All limestones will acid etch when exposed to acidic foods such as lemons or tomatoes. In general, light-colored limestone is difficult to maintain in flooring applications with heavier traffic, gray limestone tends to effloresce in wet areas, and black limestone tends to show more scratching.


  • Do not use limestone for kitchen countertop applications.
  • Always seal limestone prior to grouting or use.
  • Always check the absorption rating.
  • Always check the abrasion resistance rating. For limestone with a lower abrasion resistance rating, use walk-off mats at entrances and expect the material to patina rapidly.
  • Always use a grout that is similar in color to the stone to avoid a picture-frame effect.
  • To better understand which limestones may be used in wet areas, refer to the Usage Guide.
  • Always use a neutral detergent to clean limestone.
  • If maintenance is an issue, choose a limestone with a lower absorption rating and higher abrasion resistance.
  • To reduce the appearance of staining, always wipe up spills immediately. Oil and highly pigmented liquids can penetrate and stain the stone and may need poultice to remove the stain.



  • Interior Flooring
  • Interior Tops
  • Interior Wall Application
  • Tub Surround
  • Exterior Pavers
  • Exterior Cladding
  • Monuments & Statues


Think about the surface finish you want for your stone. It will impact your look and feel. The harder types of limestone are capable of a high gloss polished finish, but softer limestone does not polish well.

  • Polished
  • Honed
  • Brushed
  • Tumbled

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Please note that the information on this page is a general summary of industry-accepted standards and tips regarding natural stone considerations, applications and care. We have compiled this information to help you in your stone selection and care. MGSI is not involved in geological testing and has no formal proof of the information presented in the article and relies on industry wide information and standards. MGSI will not be responsible for any direct or indirect claims and damages, resulting from the improper application and/or interpretation of this information. Please note that natural stone varies substantially. Ask your stone specialist what works best for your project

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