Sandstone and limestone are two popular and trendy natural stones that can be used as a kitchen or bathroom countertops. There are pros and cons to using each one of these two options, as sandstone and limestone have many dissimilarities and many common features as well. So it’s a matter of deciding which one is the right material to use depending on your case.
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock made mainly from silica, while limestone is a sedimentary rock that is mainly made from calcium carbonate (Calcite). This mineralogical composition is enough to provide each one different properties and behaviors when interacting with high temperature, moisture, weathering and all the high traffic that is expected on every countertop and flooring.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the different dissimilarities between sandstone and limestone when it comes to using them as a countertop or flooring, to help you make your decisions.
The composition difference define the properties and the reaction of each stone to moisture, heat, scratches and stains. So you need to be aware of the composition of each material to be able to predict the how sustainable and durable it well be.
Sandstone is a purely natural stone that comes directly from stone quarries and is then cut into thin slabs, polished, and fabricated into countertops. The main composition of sandstone is sand debris that are composed of silica, which is a very hard natural substance.
Limestone countertops are natural stone products that contain a large percentage calcium carbonate so-called Calcite and may also include other minerals. They are slabs of quarried stone that are treated and polished to be ready to install in kitchen countertops.
The main advantage that limestone has over sandstone is that every limestone slab is slightly different in mineral pattern, color and fossil content, meaning that your countertop will be unique. sandstone countertops, are more uniform in appearance, though many colors and unique patterns are available, including forms that do not resemble sandstone at all.
Sandstone countertops colors are neutral, ranging from yellow, gold, to brown and beige. The overall color is combined with linear stripes (stratifications) that contains different minerals with different colors that add a unique appearance. What is specific to sandstone countertops is that from a close look, you can see individual pieces of minerals jointed one to another providing an added value to your kitchen countertop.
It is important to report that sandstone comes in three different finishes: Leathered, Honed and Polished sandstone countertops.
Limestone countertops come mainly in white, but also grey, beige and sometimes black colors. The overall color can be combined with veins of different colors adding a more natural and artistic appearance to the countertop. Limestone countertops contains generally fossils of specimens that lived a long time ago (sometimes millions of years ago!), adding a huge and unique value to each limestone countertop.
There is a decided advantage here to limestone over sandstone, though both materials are very durable. Sandstone is a relatively porous stone that requires sealing upon installation, then periodic sealing on an regular basis. Limestone, on the other hand, is less porous that sandstone making it more resistant to stains, but it need to be sealed as well.
Furthermore, the composition of limestone make it very sensitive to acids and harsh chemicals. If you spill vinegar, lemon juice or any cleaner with hash chemicals, your limestone countertop will starts to dissolve and damages. In contrary, sandstone countertops are acid-proof and you can use any cleaner on them safely.
The high porosity of sandstone make of it a very vulnerable material to stains, if the sealant is not performing very well. The pores network can drive coffee and wine spills inside of your countertop causing very hard stains that can’t be removed. So sealing is a highly recommended for sandstone countertops.
When it comes to heat resistance, sandstone and limestone countertops are very resistant to heat, so no worry about putting a hot pan directly on them, as it will cause no harm.
On the other hand, limestone and sandstone are not the best when it comes to scratch resistance, this is because the nature and the mineralogical composition od such materials. So avoid using limestone and sandstone countertops as your cutting board, and always use a dedicated cutting board to cut your food.
Limestone and sandstone countertops are slightly cheaper than other materials such as granite and quartz.
Limestone countertops can cost you 70$ per square foot for a domestic limestone, whereas for imported more unique limestone countertops you will pay as high as 200$ per square foot.
For sandstone countertops, the price ranges from 80$ per square foot to 180$ per square foot. Depending on the quality and textures.
The wide ranges of variability of price, give you the opportunity as a consumer to choose the right one for you depending on your budget and requirements. Regarding the high durability and the unique appearances of limestone and sandstone countertops, they offer a great deal of quality price ratio that should be considered.
Here we present some of the frequently asked questions about sandstone vs. limestone:
Which Is Stronger Limestone or Sandstone?
Considering their formation process, sandstone is considered to be much more stronger than limestone, as it will guarantee more resistance to strong impacts and more resistance to break, chip or scratch.
Limestone and sandstone are both sedimentary rocks but they’re formed differently. Sandstone is made onshore, by pressured sand debris, while limestone is formed during precipitation of calcium and carbonate lake and and marine environments.
Is Limestone or Sandstone More Expensive?
Limestone and sandstone costs are in a similar range between 70$ per square foot to 200$ per square foot, but you might find more unique limestone slabs that are much more expensive, depending on the patterns, and the fossil content.
Is Limestone or Sandstone More Porous?
Actually it depends on the type of sandstone and limestone, but generally, sandstone countertops are more porous than limestone countertops.
Does Limestone Scratch Easily?
Absolutely yes! The main component of limestone which is Calcite is a soft mineral that can get scratched easily by your knife of spoon, so you need to keep sharp material away from it, and avoid cutting directly on limestone countertop.
Is Sandstone Easy to Maintain?
Sandstone countertops are very low maintenance surfaces that can last for a long time. The mineralogical components of such material make it one of the harder natural stones, which can least 30 years even in high traffic kitchens.
Is Limestone Easy to Clean?
Limestone countertops are easy to clean when using proper cleaners and tools. Using hash chemicals-based cleaners, vinegar, or acetone with damage your limestone countertop.
How Often Should You Seal Sandstone?
It depends on the status of your sealing, but it’s recommended to seal your sandstone countertop every 12 months.