Limestone is a popular flooring material thanks to its durability and visual appeal. This natural stone offers incredible variety, because its colors vary according to where it forms: creamy whites, light to dark grays, golden browns, and soft pinks. No matter what your décor, you find limestone tile flooring to match.
When installed correctly and maintained properly, limestone flooring lasts for a lifetime. In addition, installation is typically less expensive than many other natural tiles. However, it does require proper care to ensure it lasts forever and looks great. Here, we describe the pros and cons of limestone tiles, as well as proper maintenance to extend the life of your flooring.
Advantages of Limestone Tiles
- Cost: If you love the look of natural stone flooring but not the cost, limestone may be exactly what you’re looking for. Installation costs are significantly lower than those for marble and granite, giving you the natural aesthetic of stone tiles but at a lower price.
- Durability: The high mineral content of limestone makes these tiles extremely durable. In fact, proper maintenance and installation (including sealing) ensures your limestone flooring lasts a lifetime.
- Natural look: Many people love natural flooring tiles because they offer a warm, rustic aesthetic you can’t get with any other kind of flooring. The look of limestone is particularly popular and is part of why it’s been used in construction for centuries. You find limestone in a wide variety of color, with beautiful natural marbling and shading that make every floor unique.
- Versatility: Thanks to the relative softness of limestone, it’s easy to cut and shape, allowing you a great level of flexibility as to size. Mix and match sizes to create interesting mosaics and other designs. Limestone’s color variations also offer a great deal of versatility in creating the perfect floor for any room, any décor.
Disadvantages of Limestone Tiles
There are two main disadvantages of limestone flooring: its relative softness and maintenance needs.
Compared to other natural stone tiles, limestone is very soft. While this is great when it comes to design, that softness also makes limestone tiles more vulnerable chipping and other damage, particularly in high traffic areas. These tiles need to be sealed upon installation, as well as regularly throughout the life of the flooring.
Sealing is also an important part of maintenance. Limestone is a porous material, so it is prone to staining without sealant. Regular cleaning and maintenance are key components of ensuring these tiles last a lifetime.
Cleaning and Maintenance
As with all flooring, proper cleaning and maintenance ensure your floors look great and that you get to enjoy them for years to come.
Remove Debris Regularly
You have three main options to remove debris: sweeping, dry mopping, and vacuuming. Allowing debris to sit may cause scratching, so do this regularly. A broom or dry mop work very well, but you may prefer to vacuum, which is great for removing debris from crevices in the tile. If you do vacuum, protect the tiles’ surface by turning off the spinning brush.
Mop or Wet Clean
To wet clean your limestone tiles, you only need warm water and a mild, non-acidic soap. You may also choose a limestone cleanser. Ask your installer which brands are best. To clean, simply mop or wipe the surface with your cleaning supplies. Then, allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing, so it can break down the dirt and debris.
After cleaning your tiles, you need to rinse them to remove any soapy residue, which dulls the appearance of limestone. Simply fill a bucket with warm water and mop the floor.
Even when you’re diligent about wiping away messes quickly, your tile may still become stained. When that happens, you can use either a stain-removal product designed for limestone or make your own. All you need is three-quarters of a cup of flour and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Mix the two together until it forms a paste-like consistency. Then, apply it to the stain and allow it to dry. It may take up to 48 hours for the paste to dry. Once it dries, wipe it away with warm water.
Sealing Limestone Tiles
Even though your installation should have included sealing, over time that protective coating breaks down and needs to be reapplied. Use the highest quality sealant you can to help protect your investment. Your sealant protects the tiles against staining and the wear and tear common to all flooring.
How do you know when it’s time to reapply your sealant? A simple test is to deposit a few drops of water onto a tile and then wait five minutes. If you see a dark spot, or the tile appears to absorb the water, you need to reseal it.
Steaming Limestone Tiles
This is an optional cleaning method that some people prefer because the heat generated by a steamer works well to break up stains and debris, particularly those that stubbornly resist other cleaning methods.
Get Started Today
All things considered, limestone tiles offer incredible beauty at a reasonable price. They require a bit more maintenance than harder stone tiles, but, with the right sealant, you can use them in any area of your home, including the kitchen and bath.
If you’re ready to learn more about limestone tile flooring, schedule an appointment to visit our showroom. One of our natural stone tile experts is happy to answer any questions you have. Call 480-568-6500 or online at Contact Ocotillo Flooring.