Sandstone is a form of sedimentary rock found in areas around the world. The most common places to find sandstone are on the beds of rivers, lakes and oceans. Sandstone is used as a construction material or as a component in the production of some products.
Sandstone is formed over many years beneath the surface of oceans, lakes and rivers when small particles of rock, sand and dirt collect at the bottom of the body of water and are covered by other layers of dirt and sand to eventually compact into hard layers of sandstone rock. The qualities of sandstone rock change with the types of minerals that come together to form the rock, with the most common mineral found in sandstone being quartz. Other minerals found in sandstone include granite. The grains of sand commonly forming sandstone are held together with cementing agents, including calcite, clays, calcium carbonate, iron oxide and gypsum. In areas with cementing agents of a soft nature, such as clay and gypsum, the sandstone produced tends to also be soft in nature.
One of the most common uses of sandstone rock is for the production of building materials and architectural features. The strength of the majority of forms of sandstone means the rock is often used in flooring and paving of outdoor areas and commercial buildings. The rock can also be cut and polished to produce ornamental features, such as gravestones, book ends, clocks and fireplaces. Sandstone is also a common material used in the building of load bearing walls and in the chemical production industry the rock is used for flooring and walls because of the acid and alkaline resistance of the material.
When combined with other materials sandstone rock is used in the production of a wide variety of products, including glassware. Sandstone is used in the production of plate glass products and all types of glassware. Sandstone is crushed and combined with concrete or asphalt for use as fill for dykes and jetties.
Sandstone is resistant to saline air so the rock is often used as cladding for the exterior of buildings and garden and landscaping products in coastal areas. Ornamental products created from sandstone include garden arches, garden furniture, and arts and crafts.