Limestone Countertops: Are They Right For Your Kitchen?

Look at a slab of limestone, and you'll see a subtly colored stone with charming deposits of fossils. This seems the perfect conversation piece for your kitchen countertop. However, one of the great debates in countertop materials is whether limestone is suitable at all for the kitchen. Limestone is, in fact, suitable. Like marble, though, it does require some extra maintenance.

Composition of Limestone

Limestone is a sedimentary rock. Its distinctive base color comes from calcium carbonite. This is where the subtle veining and shading comes from. Ocean-dwelling organisms, such as oysters and coral, use calcium carbonate, and eventually their bodies become part of the sediment. In this way they add the distinctive fossils to a limestone slab.

Durability of Limestone

Like marble, limestone isn't the most durable of materials. However, it is a hard stone, so it's heat resistant. The big problems with limestone are color and porousness. All limestone is light, and it's also one of the more porous of stones. Those two factors make it more susceptible to staining. Acidic or darkly colored liquids, such as lemon juice or wine, are more prone to stain limestone. The key is to wipe them up immediately.

Care for Limestone

First of all, limestone countertops must be professionally sealed. Contractors should use a sealer that works as an impregnator, meaning it fills the pores in the stone, thus repelling spills. It's also possible to use special sprays periodically to keep the countertop sealed. If you cook a lot, you may want to have the countertops re-sealed professionally on a yearly basis.

For general cleaning, use a soft cloth and a gentle cleanser. Your best bet is a cleanser designed for limestone, though warm water and mild detergent work well, too. If you do get a light stain, Ask the Builder suggests using oxygen bleach. Use the powder in the same way you would for a clothing stain, but watch it carefully.

Because of its porous nature, limestone can also scratch. If you see a scratch, you can use fine steel wool to gently buff it out.

Deciding on Limestone

It would be easy to replicate the chic, subtle shading of limestone with granite or quartz. If, however, you love the fossil deposits, these are only found in limestone. If you're worried about staining and scratching, you could always utilize granite or quartz in the main food preparation area and save limestone for other countertops. However, with proper maintenance, limestone is a suitable material for any kitchen countertop.

Take care of limestone, and you'll have its attractive profile in your kitchen for years. For more information on the types of stone countertops available, contact a company like Artisan Granite & Marble.