When we are going through the buying process of selecting natural paving stone for our next construction process, we often get stuck in a comparison between Limestone & Sandstone. Both are decent gifts of Mother Nature, and tempting us to beautify our spaces with their natural beauty. To ease our dilemma, World of Stones USA is going to help us by a comparison blog herewith. 

Limestone & Sandstone are both gifts of nature. The natural rock formation process called sedimentation yields both types of rocks with different constituents and properties, albeit in different environments. 

However, the difference between Limestone & Sandstone is acute in several aspects and draws our attention to compare while buying natural stones for our home or any construction project.

Let’s learn with the eagle’s eyes.

What Is Limestone?

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By definition, Limestone (In Wikipedia) is a calcite (Carbonated) rock mainly formed through biological sedimentation processes. General limestone types of rock and marbles are the best examples of it. Travertine is an instance of non-biological/chemical processed limestone type.

You can know more about Limestone formation in details in our previous blog.

What Is Sandstone?

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Sandstone (Wikipedia) is a siliceous type of sedimentary rock. The Sandstone chiefly contains sand-sized (0.06 to 2mm) mineral particles of rock fragments (Clasts) made of quartz and Felspar as significant composition. 

You can get more clues in our previous discussions on Sandstone & Sandstone Paving

Sandstone – Meaning, Uses, Facts, Properties & Color

The difference in Geological Orientation:

Limestone 

Vs.

Sandstone 

Limestone mainly made of Calcites & Aragonites, which are somewhat different crystals from Calcium Carbonates (CaCO3) found commonly in nature.


The primary source of calcites often defines the types of limestone: Biological debris & Non-biological or chemical processes.

  • Underwater environments provide biological sources for calcites like the debris of living organisms, including freshwater and marine animals. 
  • Hot springs, mostly in mountains and caves, provide a milieu for calcite formation & deposition. Travertine, a kind of Limestone category of rocks, is a by-product of such chemical processes. No biological debris takes part in the creation of Travertine rocks. 
 

Sandstone is a siliceous type of rock made of chiefly sand particles like quartz and feldspar. The formation process involves:

  • Sedimentation of quartz crystals,
  • Formation of cement & matrix,
  • Formation of pores within the mass.

Sandstone in Geology often classified based on the dominance of minerals in the clastic framework grains and binding/cement material.

Clastic Framework Grains:

  • Quartz grains.
  • Feldspar grains.
  • Lithic grains. 

Cementing Material:

  • Siliceous cement with silica.
  • Calcareous cement with calcites.
  • Argillaceous cement with clay.
  • Ferruginous cement with ferrous.

The difference in Properties:

Limestone 

Vs.

Sandstone 

  • Hardness: – 2 to 4 Moh’s scale
  • Density: – 1.95 to 2.55 mg/m3 
  • Water absorption: – 3% to 15%
  • Porosity: – 5% to 30%
  • Compressive strength: – 30 to 60 MPa 
  • Flexural strength: – 2 to 10 MPa
  • Colors – mostly gray & tan
  • Textures – mostly plain and consistent 
 
  • Hardness: – 6 to 7 Moh’s scale
  • Density: – 2.0 to 2.35 mg/m3 
  • Water absorption: – 3% to 20%
  • Porosity: – 10% to 35%
  • Compressive strength: – 25 to 100 MPa
  • Flexural strength: – 3 to 10 MPa
  • Colors – mostly brown, red & yellow
  • Textures – mostly varying & abstract. 

The difference in Strength & Durability:

Limestone 

Vs.

Sandstone 

We have seen hardness, density, and strength, like parameters of durability, are inferior to Sandstone. Travertine rocks are high in strength and durability, while marbles are a bit lesser. 

 

We have seen hardness, density, and strength, like parameters of durability, are superior to limestone. Low porous sandstone varieties are weak, while high permeable types are strong & long-lasting. 

The difference in Weather Resistance:

Limestone 

Vs.

Sandstone 

Being a member of calcite rocks, limestone pavers have lower weather resistance than Sandstone but better than other kinds of stones. It is prone to damage in harsh weather conditions.

 

Sandstone has 0.92 kJ/Kg heat capacity. Its low porous varieties are sturdy and withstand well against weather impacts like fading of color & texture when applying as outdoor natural stone pavers.

The difference in Acid Resistance:

Limestone 

Vs.

Sandstone 

Limestone is calcite rock, and calcium compounds are actively reacting with strong acids. Thereby, users of Limestone pavers must take precautions against staining and avoid washing with acidic solutions at all.

 

Sandstone is a siliceous rock, and silica/quartz is almost acid neutral in chemical reactions. However, strong acids can damage Sandstone pavers, but mild hardly. It makes cleaning/washing easy.

The difference in Appearance:

Limestone 

Vs.

Sandstone 

Limestone finds with two principle impurities: silica & alumina with iron. Therefore, oxidation takes place gradually and resulting in classic weathering impacts in look-n-feel. Limestone is soft, consistent, and stable in colors, patterns, and styles. Subtle variations are not much apparent.

 

Sandstone predominated with silica & Magnesium minerals. Sandstone also found in a variety of colors, grains, veins, and patterns to create unique and changing textures. Pits, bumps, and waves are typical on surfaces of Sandstone paving.

The difference in Applications:

Limestone 

Vs.

Sandstone 

Locally available Limestone rocks are suitable to apply in various outdoor projects like patios, decks, paths, steps, and landscaping. However, exotic varieties of limestones, marbles, and travertine are for luxurious inner decorations right from flooring, wall cladding, countertops, fountain, and sculpture.

 

In the ancient era, sandstone rocks were used in the creation of entire buildings. However, in modern days, sandstones chiefly found in outdoor paving projects like a patio, swimming pool, stepping stone, walkways, driveways, outdoor furniture, wall seats, monuments, water features, fire features, and fireplace. 

The difference in Costs:

Limestone 

Vs.

Sandstone 

Locally available limestone rocks are cheaper a lot, but quarried marbles and travertine are nothing but highly costly affairs for homeowners across the globe. Many varieties of marbles are rare and used in only luxurious projects.

 

The cost of sandstone rocks is not much high compared to Marbles and other Limestone varieties. Locally available sandstone varieties are extremely cheaper even compared to other construction materials like Cement-Concrete.

Conclusion:

Are you looking for a way to get cheaper but high-quality limestone and sandstone like natural stone pavers for your next paving project? World of Stones USA harbours heaps of raw and finished dimension stones of both varieties. Let’s discuss first with the online guide team to make the right choice between Limestone & Sandstone in your unique contexts and budget constraints.

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