Variations in Natural Limestone — The Imperfectly Perfect Choice

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It’s been said that “perfection is a flaw.” When it comes to selecting a stone product for your building or landscape project, this is more true than ever. Despite millions being spent by the pre-cast stone industry to create products that resemble natural stone, it inevitably results in a “perfect” cookie-cutter appearance and characteristics that can easily be identified as artificial or fake.

In nature, however, no two pieces of stone are alike. Whether for a building’s structural, architectural or landscaping application, the inherent variations in limestone result in a unique look that can’t be rivaled by man-made products. Read on to discover how and why natural limestone will make the biggest and boldest statement for your next commercial or residential project.

Natural Variations

What some may consider imperfections are actually highly desirable as it relates to limestone. You can expect natural variations in color and texture which add personality to each piece. Irregular markings, veins, lines and crystallizations add to the elegance and charm. Subtle differences in hues from one piece to the next only serve to enhance the stone’s natural beauty and that of the application it’s being used for. Depending on where the stone is harvested, colors and textures can vary widely — from subtle shading to bold, contrasting tones — even within the same quarry. This is why it’s important to view samples and larger scale applications when possible.

Limestone’s Composition

Formed over millions of years, limestone is a sedimentary rock made up of various minerals and deposits and is free of chemicals, aggregates and dyes, so it’s composition will not break down or fade over time. It’s not uncommon to find ancient marine fossils or other preserved elements embedded within the stone, giving each piece a history all its own.

There are different types of limestone and varying qualities. Dolomitic limestone — the type harvested from the Niagara escarpment in Wisconsin, for example — is less porous than many other limestones and, thus, more durable and stain resistant. This is due in part to sand, clay and silt being more commonly found in regular limestone as impurities, but aren’t quite as common in dolomitic limestone. Type III limestone, as rated by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), is of the highest quality and can be used for any application.

A Natural Patina

Over time, any stone, including both natural and manmade options, will develop a patina. This should be expected. The question is whether that patina will enhance the appearance of the material — like that of a treasured family heirloom — or if it will mar its appearance and require high maintenance in an effort to remove unsightly staining and deterioration of the surface.

Because of limestone’s dense porosity, it slowly forms a natural and beautiful patina over time as would be expected in nature. While any stone still requires some maintenance to remove debris, limestone is less susceptible to staining and residue buildup. Unfortunately, most cast stone accumulates mold and mildew easily due to its highly porosity and composition, and frequent deep cleaning to remove these deposits can leave the surface pitted and discolored due to the use of harsh chemicals.

Stone Craftsmen & Artisans

Not to be overlooked in the selection of stone products is the ability to cut and form the stone into custom sizes to meet your demanding specifications. Modern technology helps to produce stone for modern, contemporary, classic, rustic, and elegant designs because it can be shaped to fit your exact design style. Unlike man-made materials that are mass-produced in limited sizes and shapes, natural limestone can be sawed, chiseled, ground, polished and detailed for projects of every size by experienced craftsmen who can help bring your design to life.

To achieve a one-of-a-kind appearance requires one-of-a-kind materials. Those qualities aren’t found in pre-cast or man-made products. Be sure to select a natural limestone product that provides the beauty and enduring traits that will enhance your next building or landscape project for generations to come.

Reach out to our expert craftsmen at Eden-Valders Stone to help you transform your next building or landscape project into something truly extraordinary.

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