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Sandstone vs Limestone: Which is Better As a Building Material

14 Apr 2023

Sandstone vs Limestone: Which is Better As a Building Material

Whether you’re looking to build a new home, revamp an outdoor living space or simply enhance your backyard’s aesthetic, choosing the right stone makes all the difference. Amid so many options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which stone is best suited for your specific needs. From durability and strength to beauty and functionality, several factors must be considered before making the final choice. In this blog, we will explore all about Limestone and Sandstone, two of the most popular natural stones extensively used in home building and landscaping. We’ll dig into the benefits and downsides to help you decide the best fit for your project. So, without further ado, let’s explore the world of Sandstone and Limestone!

Let’s start with some groundwork

What is Limestone?

Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is predominantly composed of calcium carbonate. It is formed over a period of millions of years from tiny fossils and shells and is found in an extensive range of colours and textures. Limestone is popularly used for its durability, versatility and magnificent appearance. It is primarily used in flooring, walling, paving, indoor flooring, facades and pool surrounds.

What is Sandstone?

Sandstone, also a sedimentary rock, is primarily composed of sand-sized grain particles such as quartz or feldspar accumulated together by natural mineral binders such as calcium carbonate or iron oxide. This rock is formed from the deposition of sand grains for millions of years. Sandstone is a robust and durable building material that has been used for centuries. It can be found in a vast range of colours and textures. Largely used in building facades, walls and floors, they are also used for creating sculptures and carvings. The mining process for Sandstone involves blasting, cutting and extracting large blocks of the material.

Now that we know about the origin and composition of these stones, we can gauge their benefits and drawbacks over some specific parameters to help conclude which is a better fit for your project needs.

Which one is easier to blend in with your design - Limestone or Sandstone?

When it comes to aesthetic brilliance, it’s a tough call between Limestone and Sandstone. Both these natural beauties offer unmatched elegance to your living spaces and elevate the look of your build. Here are some differences you can consider:

Colours and textures

Limestone is known for its flawless and consistent texture, with colours ranging from neutral whites to medium-dark shades of grey. It has a far more even exterior finish as compared to Sandstone, with fewer grains and texture. Limestone is a popular choice when you’re looking for modern minimalism as it brings a fresh clean look to your project design. It is largely used for patios, courtyards and pool surrounds, and owning to its smooth finish, it is a favourite for indoor applications as well. Choose our Indiana White Limestone, when you want to bring beauty, tranquillity and durability to your space. Or create a timeless look with the rich grey palette of our  Midnight Glow Limestone.

Explore our Limestone range

Sandstone on the contrary is popular for its rugged and textured surface finish. It comes in an array of stunning colours ranging from neutral beiges to warm browns to muted greys. Its organic appearance and natural colour variations make it a valuable choice for rustic and contemporary project designs and plenteous outdoor applications.Himalayan Sandstone with its stunning natural white pattern is a perfect stone to create stunning stairways, courtyards, interior walls and pool surrounds.

Explore our Sandstone range

Durability

When it comes to durability both Limestone and Sandstone are incredibly resilient and can withstand all natural elements gracefully. Limestone with its smooth texture is less porous compared to and can hold up well in moisture.

Sandstone on the other hand has a rough and grainy texture, that makes its surface naturally slip-resistant and a popular choice for pool surrounds. But since it is relatively softer that makes it more prone to denting and scratching especially in indoor applications.

Cost

Limestone is more expensive than Sandstone, due to its density and robustness. Sandstone is comparatively an affordable option, as it is easier to work with and saves time and labour costs as well. This makes it a sought-after choice for large-scale landscape projects.

Which is more suitable for landscaping – Sandstone or Limestone?

Limestone and Sandstone are both amazing choices when it comes to landscaping features such as garden walls, garden paths, garden steppers or boundaries.

Limestone beautifully blends and accentuates garden features with its stunning beauty and durability. It comes in superb colours and finishes, from neutral whites to cool greys, and can be honed for a smooth finish or left in its natural state for a more rustic look. Also, it is resilient to weathering making it a great choice for outdoor use. Our Tandur Grey Limestone in stunning grey shade looks amazing as stepping stones as well as garden pathways.

Sandstone on the other hand lends a flawless look due to its rustic hues and organic textures. It comes in a range of warm earthy tones and creates a lovely natural vibe for your garden area. Another plus with Sandstone is its porous nature, which allows water absorption and makes for an efficient drainage function in your garden.

So, both Limestone and Sandstone are excellent choices for your garden and will add timeless beauty to your landscape design. If you’re after a smooth and elegant look, Limestone is the way to go and if you prefer an organic and all-natural look for your space, Sandstone is a promising choice. You must also consider the style and design of your garden, the foot traffic it receives and how much you’re willing to spend to make the right choice for your space. If you’re still unsure, let’s look at other factors to help you decide.

Which is easier to install – Limestone or Sandstone?

If you’re considering using Limestone or Sandstone for your next landscaping project, you may be wondering which out of the two is easier to install. After all, successful installation is vital, and the entire look of the project rests on it. Moreover, the durability and the life span of the stone also depend on it. So, while each of these materials has its unique benefits and challenges, the ease of the installation process depends on your specific project design and space.

Limestone is a denser stone with a more uniform surface finish, which makes it slightly challenging to cut and shape the stone to fit specific measurements. Sandstone, on the other hand, is relatively softer with an uneven texture and natural colour variations. Its amazing colour variations give it a stunning look, and its density makes it easier to work with the stone. It is easy to cut and shape it to fit specific measurements. Due to this reason, Sandstone may require less time and effort to install.

When it comes to installation tips for both Limestone and Sandstone, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure you have the right tools and equipment for the job to avoid any challenges. Secondly, it's important to work gently and carefully, as both Limestone and Sandstone can crack or chip if handled too roughly.

Lastly, make sure you plan your installation well in advance, considering the size and shape of your design space, as well as the size and shape of the stone. With careful planning and adept execution, installing both Limestone and Sandstone will seem like a breeze.

Which is easier to maintain – Limestone or Sandstone?

Let’s explore some features of both these natural stones to find out the care and maintenance requirements of each.

Limestone

It is less porous and therefore less likely for water and other liquids to seep into its surface. To keep the stone looking beautiful, certain easy maintenance steps need to be followed:

  • Sealing: Limestone should be regularly sealed to avoid stains and damage. A quality sealer should be used, and the stone must be sealed every two years or earlier if it is installed in an area that receives heavy moisture or foot traffic.
  • Cleaning: Limestone needs regular cleaning with a gentle pH-neutral cleaner and a soft brush. Never use harsh cleaners and heavy scrubbers as they can damage the surface layer of the stone over time and lose its sheen.
  • Avoid acids: Limestone is sensitive to acidic cleaners like vinegar and other citrus substances, so take care to avoid spilling these on your Limestone. And in case of spillages, remember to clean the surface immediately.

Sandstone

It is a heavier and more porous stone than Limestone. Here are some tips for maintaining the life of your Sandstone:

  • Sealing: Sandstone also requires regular sealing to prevent staining and damage from water and other liquids. A high-quality sealant works best and should be used during installation and every few years to maintain the appearance of the stone.
  • Cleaning: Your Sandstone pavers need a simple cleaning routine with mild soap and a soft-bristled brush.
  • Avoid Acids: Sandstone doesn’t react to mild acids but never use harsh chemicals to clean the stone as they can strip their natural texture over time.

So, both Limestone and Sandstone require easy and regular care to keep them looking their best. However, Sandstone is a tad less sensitive to acids making it easier to maintain than Limestone.

Which natural stone is more sustainable - Limestone or Sandstone?

Both Limestone and Sandstone are natural building materials that have been used over centuries. When it comes to environmental friendliness, here are a few factors to consider:

  • Long-lasting: Natural Stones are durable and resilient and they last for a long time. This means they need fewer replacements and minimum maintenance, reducing the overall impact on the environment.
  • Recyclability: Both Limestone and Sandstone can be recycled and repurposed. Limestone is considered slightly easier to recycle due to its natural chemical composition.
  • Energy Efficiency: Limestone is more energy-efficient than Sandstone. It is typically mined in large, open pits minus the heavy machinery. Sandstone is quarried using drilling and blasting methods, which require more energy. Additionally, the transportation of Limestone is generally more efficient due to its density, requiring fewer vehicles to transport the same amount of material as Sandstone.
  • Carbon footprint: Limestone naturally absorbs carbon dioxide during its formation process. When used during construction or renovation, it continues to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, making it a carbon sink. In contrast, Sandstone has a relatively lower carbon content and does not have the same carbon-absorbing properties as Limestone.

In terms of sustainability, Limestone has a relatively lower carbon footprint and generally consumes less energy during production and transportation, while Sandstone on the other hand has a lower carbon content and can be sustainably sourced with responsible quarrying practices.

Final Takeaway!

Whether you're looking to build a new home or spruce up your existing landscaping, understanding the pros and cons of the material to be used will help you make the best long-term decision for your build. Sandstone and Limestone are popular choices for building materials and have unique qualities that can add character and style to your living spaces. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your personal aesthetic preferences as well as the specific needs of your project. Whether you choose Sandstone or Limestone, you can be confident in the durability and beauty it will bring to your living space.

Still, got questions or want to look at samples to make your decision? Don’t worry! At Stone Centre, we have Australia’s largest selection of Limestone and Sandstone pavers. Get in touch today to request a sample or speak to our stone experts.

*Disclaimer: All information and advice given above in the blog are to the best of our knowledge. Please reconfirm at your end before execution.

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