Building with Limestone: An Abundant and Versatile Material
Limestone is used for many different things. It is strong and resilient, making it a favorite building material, but it’s also easy to shape and mould, which is why it has always been a material used to build statues and sculptures. Limestone has been used in construction since basically the beginning of time; even The Great Sphynx in Egypt is made from limestone, as is the Empire State Building which was previously one of the tallest buildings on the planet. Nowadays, limestone has a lot of conventional construction uses in walls, flooring, tiling, paneling, and more. So, what is it about limestone that makes it such a great construction material?
Famous Limestone Uses
Clearly, the Ancient Egyptians knew how great limestone was for construction; not only did they use it to build The Great Sphynx, but limestone was one of the key materials used in constructing the famous Pyramids too. It wasn’t just the Egyptians that were clued up about limestone; The Ancient Greeks were also big fans, using it to build their world-famous temple, the Parthenon.
Ancient Greek architecture is well known for its inclusion of limestone columns and features, a lot of which are still recreated in architectural designs today. Bringing us closer to the present day and to home, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, and many other major public buildings throughout the United Kingdom are made from limestone. Clearly, this construction material is one that is here to stay.
The structural nature of limestone gives it such versatility when it comes to construction. It can be shaped literally however you want. If you’re using limestone for walls, you can have slabs, rounded stones, blocks, bricks, you name it. If you want something a little more decorative and intricate, limestone is a great choice.
The off-white coloring also means it matches pretty much every building style going, but there are color variations giving you red, pink, gold, brown or black if white is not to your liking.
Even though limestone is soft enough to create different designs and shapes, it is also one of the most durable building materials. It is strong, dense, and likely to still be standing generations down the line. This is because the structure of limestone has a small number of pores, meaning it is harder to break, can withstand all weather conditions and any slight natural corrosion that may occur will not have an effect on the strength of the stone.
In construction, you want to be using the highest quality products at the most affordable price. Limestone ticks all those boxes. As it is such an abundant material, limestone is also a super affordable construction material. But it isn’t only the quantity of limestone that we have access to that makes it so affordable.
Limestone is an easy material to work with and simple to install. Because of this, the installation process is usually quick, simple, and cheap. As it isn’t a heavy stone, transportation costs are also lower and any of your limestone features won’t require as much structural support to hold them up compared with other building materials. Limestone scores tens across the board for being cost-effective.
Have you ever wondered why whenever you enter a cathedral or church, no matter where you are in the world and what the temperature is outside, it always feels cold? It could be a scorching 45 degrees outside and you would still find respite from the blazing heat inside a cathedral. This is because they are generally built from limestone.
One of the unique properties of limestone that occurs due to its density is the fact that is it a great heat conductor. When used for building, the stones absorb all the heat from the outside, but it doesn’t let it pass through, meaning the inside stays nice and cool. This is one of the reasons why the material is so widely used in hot countries in the Middle East and Southern Europe, where the weather stays pleasant all year round.
Often, if you look at a house, holiday home, or rental property in Malta, for example, you will see they are all built using limestone, so you can enjoy the sun and heat outside when you choose, but know that you will always sleep easy in the cool indoors.
The properties of limestone make it strong and durable, yet easy to shape and mould. It is versatile and abundant, so there is no surprise that it has been a favored construction material for a very long time.