Sandstone – Meaning, Uses, Facts, Properties & Color

Sandstone – Meaning, Uses, Facts, Properties & Color

Mar 27, 2023

What is Sandstone?

Sandstone is one of the most common kinds of clastic sedimentary rocks consists of sand-size (0.06 to 2 mm) clasts or grains of minerals and organic matter.

Formation of Sandstone

The formation of sandstone occurs mostly in two phases, sedimentation/accumulation & compaction. Sedimentation of sand particles takes place either through water or air. Compaction occurs with physical pressure and chemical changes. The steps are:

  1. Sedimentation of quartz crystals
  2. Formation of cement & matrix
  3. Formation of pores

Types of Sandstone Components

The first phase forms sand clasts or grains due to the transportation of sand particles from the source. The second phase forms cement or binding material and matrix as filler between the framework grains or clasts. The pore space is a void where no clasts, cement, or matrix matter exists. Let’s know these components of sandstone with some details.

Grains or Clasts in Sandstone

  • Clasts, also known as framework grains. Based on grain size, we can classify clasts into three categories:
    • Fine-grains – 0.06-0.2mm
    • Mid-grains – 0.2-0.6mm
    • Coarse-grains – 0.6-2mm
  • Based on the mineral compositions of the clasts, we can divide them into the following categories:
    • Quartz Grains, which predominantly contain quartz minerals with long survival capacity.
    • Feldspar Grains, which are found as either alkali or Plagioclase feldspar.
    • Lithic Grains, which are maybe from igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary rocks.
    • Accessory mineral includes micas, olivine, pyroxene, and corundum. These are forming a highly dense mass that renders sandstone a mature one.

Cementing Material in Sandstone Structure

  • Cementing means binding. The cementing material in sandstone structure binds clastic framework grains or clusters of grains to gather firmly and becomes responsible for strength, durability, and wear & tears.
  • Cement is the secondary material, which forms after sedimentation or deposition of grains.
  • Based on the predominance of mineral types, we can classify cement in sandstone the following ways.
    • Siliceous Cement– It has silica or quartz particles that give the strongest bonds.
    • Calcareous Cement – It has calcites, and forms in patches leaving gaps open, so it makes sandstone porous.
    • Argillaceous Cement – It has clay particles, and forms softer types of sandstone.
    • Ferruginous Cement – It has ferrous content. So, it also is known as Hematite cement and gives reddish hues.

Matrix of Sandstone

  • It is fine material.
  • It founds within interstitial pore space among the framework grains of sandstone.
  • Arenite sandstones contain very little amount of matrix, so those are clean type.
  • Wackes are consisting of an abundance of the matrix, so those are dirty types of sandstone.

Pore Space in Sandstone

  • Pores are open spaces within the rock mass. It gives porosity or permeability property to the sandstone rocks.
  • Some sandstone types have tightly packed pores while some have loose binding between the clusters.
  • The occurrence of pores defines the porous nature of sandstone.

Classification of Sandstone

Framework Grain-based Classification

According to Dott’s classification scheme, which is considering the mineralogy of framework grains of the sandstone and percentages of clay matrix in between the grains. It has focused on quartz, feldspar, and lithic grains.

Thus, we can find the following types of sandstone rocks, mainly in nature.


It has less than 15% of the clay matrix between the framework grains. It can further classify as:

  • Quartz Arenites: With more than 90% of quartz or siliceous grains.
  • Feldspar Arenites: With less than 90% of Quartz grains.
  • Lithic Arenites: With a high content of lithic fragments.


It has more than 15% of the clay matrix between the grains. It can further classify as:

  • Quartz Wackes: With 90% of quartz. Its occurrence is uncommon.
  • Feldspar Wackes: With at least 25% of feldspar.
  • Lithic Wackes: With at least 25% of lithic grains.


It has more than 25% of feldspar. Here, the grains are rounded in ailing manner & less sorted.


It is a heterogeneous mixture of quartz grain, feldspar grains, and lithic fragments & surrounded by a fine-grained clay matrix.

In industry, geological terms are less understood and used the following cement-content or minerals-based classification popularly

Cement-based Classification

It is cement-based mineralogy. So, the mineral content of the cementing material matters more in these types of classification mostly used in the industry by professionals.

It is:

  • Siliceous – It contains a high percentage of silica or quartz particles.
  • Calcareous – It has a high level of calcites in the cementing material.
  • Argillaceous – It consists of clay particles in abundance.
  • Ferruginous – It is rich in ferrous content.

Properties of Sandstone

I am going to narrate some basic yet scientific facts regarding sandstone along with it is physical, chemical, and other application-specific information to compare it while making a selection for your choice of natural stone pavers for your exterior applications at World of Stones, USA.

General Properties:

  • Variable colors and hues are found in sandstone. For instance, Beige, Black, Brown, Cream, Dark Brown, Green, Grey, Light Green, Light to Dark Grey, Pink, Red, White, Yellow, and some are Colorless.
  • Darker hues of Sandstone indicates the presence of organic content like clay in the compositions.
  • Red, brown, yellow, and green colors are thanks to the presence of iron oxides in the clasts, cement, and matrix of Sandstone.
  • It has clastic texture and visible only with a microscope.
  • It is smooth to rough texture, mostly it is gritty to touch, so often hard to work.

It is sturdy, durable, and weather-resistant to apply in various construction applications, including interior and exterior.

Chemical Properties:

  • Sandstone has various mineral content, such as Calcite, Clay, Clay Minerals, Feldspar, Micas, Quartz, and so on.
  • The chemical compound content of Sandstone is Aluminum Oxide, CaO, Iron (III) Oxide, Potassium Oxide, MgO, Sodium Oxide, Silicon Dioxide, and so on.
  • Biological, Chemical, & Mechanical Weathering are common in sandstone.
  • Different types of erosions have exhibited in sandstone, including Chemical Erosion, Coastal Erosion, Glacier Erosion, Sea Erosion, Water Erosion, & Wind Erosion.

Physical Properties

  • It has a hardness of 6 to 7, and conchoidal fractures are present.
  • It has coarse to fine grain size.
  • Sandstone is a highly porous natural stone.
  • It has 95.00 N/mm2 compressive strength.
  • It has 2.6 toughness and 2.2 to 2.8 specific gravity.
  • The density of Sandstone is between 2.2 to 2.8 g/cm3 
  • Its specific heat capacity is 0.92 kJ/Kg K, and it is heat, impact, and pressure resistant.
  • It is slight water, scratch, wind, and acid-resistant, but not stain resistant.
  • Its appearance is rough thanks to high porosity, and it also makes it highly water and liquid permeable. Therefore, it is good in exterior applications in the construction.

Sandstone Deposits

  • Its deposits found in Asian countries like China, India, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Thailand, & Uzbekistan.
  • In Africa, South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, & South Africa.
  • In Europe, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, & United Kingdom.
  • In America, the USA, Canada, and Brazil.
  • In Australia, New South Wales & New Zealand.
  • The formation of sandstone found mainly in the terrestrial milieu and marine milieu.

Terrestrial Environments (Both Land & Freshwater)

  •     Rivers (levees, point bars, channel sands)
  •     Alluvial fans
  •     Glacial outwash
  •     Lakes
  •     Deserts (dunes and ergs)

Marine Environments

  •     Deltas
  •     Beach and shoreface sands
  •     Tidal flats
  •     Offshore bars and sand waves
  •     Storm deposits (tempestites)
  •     Turbidities (submarine channels and fans)

Uses of Sandstone

Sandstone used in the construction of buildings for residential, commercial, and public places for centuries in history. World of Stones, USA is providing details where you can apply sandstone for your interior and exterior designs.

Interior Applications

The strength and durability of sandstone are high that renders it the best for various interior applications.

Sandstone Interior Flooring & Wall Cladding

Thanks to its anti-skid property, strength, and durability, sandstone is ideal for interior flooring. Sandstone is available in different colors and hues with natural textures and pattern. Therefore, it is creating a soothing ambiance when applied on paving wall cladding other minor applications.

Sandstone as Bathroom Tiles

High porosity is an advantage for sandstone to create a distinct texture and bring natural beauty along with anti-sleep property while using it in wet places like bathroom floors and walls around.

Sandstone as Countertop

With proper finishing, coating, and sealing like surface treatment, sandstone proves an ideal material for different types of countertops. Kitchen countertops, cabinet countertop, and so on are areas where we can apply sandstone. It has different textures, including wooden, that seamlessly befitting with wooden furniture and splashing walls.

Sandstone in Interior Decoration

Sandstone veneer is a good choice when you are looking for classic and rustic look-n-feel. Sandstone provides an awesome opportunity to decorate your interior to create dazzling impacts in your living room.

Exterior Applications

Sandstone is ideal for exterior applications for paving, pool deck, retaining wall, exterior wall cladding, landscape patio, and path designs.

Sandstone as Exterior Wall Cladding

It is a classic colonial home wall cladding with sandstone tiles. Standard random pattern with rectangular veneer tiles of sandstone cool the eyes and mind both.

Sandstone in Outdoor Patio

A vibrant impact comes with sandstone when applied on the patio paving. Under the open sky and Sun, it warmth the users when looking for exterior living space during colder days.

Sandstone in Pool Deck

Anti-skid and water-resistant properties of sandstone establish it as an ideal choice for swimming pool deck. It has a variety of textures to make the right choice for your exterior to interior themes.

Sandstone in Stair Steps & Retaining Wall

Whitish hues with a pinkish tint and brownish pattern seem cloying when a combination occurs between stair steps and retaining wall in your landscape design. Whole sandstone cubes as stacking stones create a classic look for retaining wall.

Sandstone in Path or Walkway

Brown sandstones in greenery grab the eyes when big slabs are laid down as a walkway/path in your backyard. One-sided border with sandstone bricks adds beauty in the landscape.

Sandstone as Stepping Stones

Now, stepping stone becomes an instrument of creativity. Sandstone slabs among the pavers provide a beautiful design.

Sandstone in Sculpture

Thanks to heightening porosity in sandstone, it is the relatively soft and ideal material to carve different shapes and designs. You can find tons of examples across the globe where excellent figurine, sculpture, pottery, art & craft pieces, and artifacts are mesmerizing people for centuries.

Industrial Applications of Sandstone

The industrial applications of sandstone in the construction industry are:

  • Cement Manufacture
  • Construction Aggregate
  • Road Aggregate
  • Production of Glass and Ceramics
  • The raw material for the manufacture of mortar


Now, you have almost complete knowledge regarding sandstone, its facts, properties, and usages. Now, it is time to implement your construction ideas with sandstone material, and you are in dire need to have a reliable natural stone supplier in your vicinity.

It is World of Stones, Maryland, in the USA in your vicinity to provide you an untapped treasure of sandstone varieties. You can get different colors, hues, patterns, and styles for your interior as well as exterior natural stone application projects. It is a place to get the best services at competitive rates.


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