Limestone a bad idea for counter?

JAM_SFMarch 21, 2013

I just came back from DaVinci, a local retailer of beautiful marble and other stones. I fell in love with a honed gray "Cote d Azur" limestone I thought would look beautiful with my white shaker cabinets. I had previously thought I would go Ceasarstone, as I want a modern clean look and easy maintenance. However the limestone drew me in and I think it could still look modern and great with the cabs.
The sales person (designer), said all i had to do was seal it and I was good to go. She said the honed surface was better.
I come home and start researching limestone and find out it's soft, porous, etc. etc. I cook, my kids like to cook, I don't want to worry about my counter. Is it true if it's honed and sealed it's easier to maintain? Or should I run from limestone?
Is there another stone that may look similar (med gray) that I haven't considered? I don't like the movement of granite. I like something more subdued and neutral.
I have read through all the posts on marble, granite, but don't see much on limestone.
Thanks so much!

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Limestone is NOT a good idea for a kitchen counter.

I totally get where you are coming from, as it is one of my favourite stones. but think of it this way, it's closer to chalk than to granite (well, that may be disputed by a stone expert,), but in terms of usefulness and sturdiness in a kitchen, that's what you need to picture.

Salesperson is mistaken, Just like the one that told me all I needed to do was put their 'magic' sealer on my marble and it wouldn't etch, good thing I took a sample home, and am being allowed to pick a new slab...granite this time, no marble or limestone, though I really LOVE how they look!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 3:48PM
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Kristen Hallock

We just bought a limestone vanity for our bathroom at Lowes. I had no idea what kind of stone it was when we bought it. Anyways, it stains from water sitting on it. It dries up and looks fine but water leaves marks. We'll keep it for the bathroom, but I wouldnt want my kitchen counters doing this!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 3:53PM
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"Limestone a bad idea for counter?"

In a word - YES. too porous, too soft, easily etched, easily stained.

don't even THINK about using it unless you are prepared to accept scratches, etched area, and stains....

... and, when you stain it a week after install don't call your fabricator, who warned you repeatedly and made you sign off on a material properties sheet, that he "should've sealed it better".

I will never again install limestone countertops without getting final payment the day of install.

K&B designers- please take note of the preceding.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 4:15PM
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I received a limestone sample for my bathroom floor. I was able to destroy it (wasn't sealed though) with some basic bathroom items that could easily drip on it. As beautiful as it is; I'd never get it for a kitchen counter.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 4:16PM
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We put limestone in our master bath 2 years ago and I was not too sure how it would do. But it has been great no stains or water marks or chips and I don't baby it. My DH, who is a geologist, insisted on using it.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 4:36PM
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I just echo the concerns on limestone. OK for floors, not so good for counters, downright bad for kitchens. People have done it, however. I've also heard the pores can allow bacteria to fester.

You should consider:
Pietra del Cardosa: This is a grey sandstone that is very hard, but can etch. It is very uniform, mid toned grey. There are some issues, however, that you can read about here at GW.
Virginia Mist/Jet Mist Granite: They have some slabs at IRG in Brisbane. Some of these don't have as much movement as others. Others have distinct veining. This is probably a couple of tones darker than you are seeking. (Especially if you are favoring Caeserstone Pebble)

I've been told to be careful with quartz with hot pans (but that is true with granite, as well).

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 5:07PM
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My inspiration kitchen had a limestone counter, but I heeded advice against it and went with a Caesarstone limestone-esque quartz (Champagne Limestone). No, it doesn't really look like limestone, but the shade got me in the ballpark, it's simple and it looks great with my other choices. I'm so happy I went with durability/ease of maintenance in the end.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Hmm. I would do some more research if you really want limestone counters before you rule them out. I'm pretty sure Ina Garten has limestone counters in at least one of her kitchens. I have limestone floors in my kitchen and bathrooms. I thought about doing limestone kitchen counters but ended up doing honed marble. The sealer is excellent and I have no stains (used the same sealer on the floor). With a limestone counter you'd likely get etching like with honed marble, make sure you are okay with that.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:57PM
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Wouldn't all the stains, chips, and etches just be a beautiful patina that shows how loved and lived in your kitchen is?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 10:11PM
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Thanks everyone for the wonderful information. I think for me the quartz or a less hard to maintain stone would be a better fit. I will check out the Pietra del Cardosa and granites at IRG. I also want to check out the Pental quartz, I see that they carry it. I was considering Pebble Caesarstone, so it's a very mid toned gray, not dark. I just am not super excited about it, I wanted something a little warmer, but not brown. I'm hoping I can find a color in the Qstone or Pental line. If anyone knows of grays in those lines let me know!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 10:22PM
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Molly Phillips

I don't know if you'd like this, but I just had LG Viatera Natural Limestone installed (today, actually, so still processing that it is DONE).

We're not finished with the kitchen so pardon the drawers that aren't adjusted correctly, etc, but here it is taken with a camera phone.

(p.s. we paid $50/sq ft for 3 cm at HD)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 10:40PM
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After seeing limestone in a friend's kitchen, I was interested. But she said she has them professionally cleaned and resealed every year. I have enough trouble keeping up with oil changes and annual check up for us and the pets! That said, I did put limestone counters in 4 of our bathrooms. While I'm still glad I didn't put them in the kitchen (I love our antique pine), I love them in the bathrooms.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 10:55PM
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Yup, agreed with all of the above. Reahelen, you are actually perfectly correct that limestone is closer to chalk than to granite. Geologically speaking, that's true. Both limestone and chalk are formed on the ocean floor from the accumulated remains of marine microorganisms with calcite shells. Chalk is one of the many cousins in the limestone family of rocks.

Limestone will etch in ways similar to marble. Where it loses out to marble though, is porosity. Limestone retains all the pore spaces from its original formation. Limestone becomes marble when metamorphosed (exposed to heat and pressure) and during that process marble gets most of the pore spaces squeezed out of it. So marble is denser - the mineral grains are more closely packed together. So this makes marble a bit more durable than limestone.

I think limestone is a wonderful material with a great look, but I wouldn't put it in my kitchen either.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Love to dream, your counter looks great and I love your cabinets. So this product is a quartz that mimics limestone? I will take a look.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 11:56PM
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if you are truly looking for a more durable material, seek out the granite (like Virginia Mist) or the various quartz colors -- if you are looking for more limestone colors and patterning, then I think every single quartz manufacturer makes a version, in all the various shades of limestone, from cream to deep grey/bluestone. I was warned away from the PdC at the slabyard, due to its staining and etching issues (it is very hard and scratched glass quite easily-- the karin_mt glass test).

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 12:37AM
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Molly Phillips

@JAM_SF, it's called natural limestone and as the pp said, I'm sure other quartz companies have a similar look....I just liked the price and wasn't specifically looking for a limestone lookalike. When I first found that particular quartz, I googled 'natural limestone' and a houzz kitchen came up that was beautiful. I think that houzz kitchen was truly limestone but it looked very close to the sample I had. Quartz has more polish than true limestone, I'm sure (with all of that sand in the real stuff!) but this counter is calm and pleasing to the eye and the maintenance won't be an issue. There is no way I'd be able to keep up with high maintenance kitchen counter - my white cabinets are going to be tough enough to stay on top of! :)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Have you looked into soapstone? Great color & great surface for kitchen counters.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:01PM
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I am going to take a visit to IRG today and look at all of these ideas! Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:03PM
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I've had limestone counters in my kitchen for 4 years and I love them. The only issue I've had is with some etching - leaving lemon juice on the counter overnight will leave a white mark.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Ella, would love to see a pic of your counters, particularly showing 4 years of wear. I think it's especially helpful to find out how materials hold up, everything looks nice brand new!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 5:05PM
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