Information on Limestone & Sandstone

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Information on Limestone & Sandstone
Sandstone and limestone have many uses in your home and garden. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Limestone and sandstone are sedimentary rocks. These types of rocks form in oceans, rivers, lakes and desert settings. Both of these rocks are present around the world and have many uses such as building materials for homes and gardens. While these rocks are both sedimentary and do have some similarities, the difference in their physical and chemical characteristic gives them specific properties and uses.

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What Is Limestone?

Limestone is a fine-grained rock that forms through calcium carbonate precipitation in quiet ocean settings, usually with deep and calm water. You can find limestone in colours of white, pink, red, grey and black. Fossils are common in limestone because the quiet environment allows the calcium carbonate to precipitate around the plant or animal parts without significant disturbance. There are many types of limestone. Some varieties of limestone, such as coquina, consist of mostly animal parts, such as shells, that are glued together by calcium carbonate.

Limestone Uses

Limestone is useful around your home and garden because it forms attractive tiles and building stones. The many colours and varieties of limestone and the included fossils give these building materials a attractive and interesting appearance. You can use blocks and gravels made of limestone to build structures, retaining walls, garden pathways and as landscape mulch. Crushed limestone is useful in the garden to raise the soil pH before you plant. Limestone's biggest limitation is that it will dissolve in acid over time so it may pit from rain.

What Is Sandstone?

Sandstone forms when quartz sand grains cement together through pressure or with precipitated calcium carbonate or quartz in rivers, deserts, oceans or lakes. While most sandstone consists largely of quartz, feldspar and other minerals may also be present. Sandstones are often white or yellow but can be other colours based on the accessory minerals. Red sandstone is the result of iron oxide in the rock. Sandstone has a medium-grained texture and may hold water, oil or natural gas below ground in its pore spaces.

Sandstone Uses

In your home, sandstone bricks and tiles are sturdy building materials for walls and floors. Sandstone pavers are also attractive in the garden as retaining walls, pathways and edging. Sandstone gravel is attractive in landscape beds as well. Large blocks of sandstone can add texture and interest to a garden area. Since sandstone is mostly quartz, it is rather resilient in an outdoor environment and does not corrode easily.

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