Limestone is popularly used for flooring at residential and commercial premises. It is typically subtle and adds a touch of elegance to the ambience. Limestone tiles are known for their durability and versatility. The tiles are available in various shapes, sizes, and colours and can easily complement the décor. Moreover, they are antifungal and antibacterial.
Limestone is a common sedimentary rock. Pure limestone is normally white or close to white. The presence of clay, sand, iron oxide, and other impurities result in a colour variation.
Picking up the right set of qualitative tiles enhances the look of the room. We have listed down a few of the factors that determine the quality of limestone tiles.
Porosity and Absorption
Porosity determines the existence of pores that are permeable by water. Absorption depicts the rate at which a tile absorbs the liquids. A tile may crack up owing to a high existence of moisture content. A lower capacity to absorb water depicts more strength and durability. The density of a tile is determined by its ability to absorb liquids.
Depending on the absorption rate, a tile is put to the interior or exterior use. Stains and cracks find their way easily, where the absorption rate is high. On the other hand, less absorption repels stains in case of slippage of any liquids. A sealant is typically used to fill the pores to make a tile stain-resistant and maintain it in good condition.
Hardness indicates durability. Hard tiles are less likely to crack or wear due to a heavy footfall. Considering Mohs hardness scale rates, the stone’s hardness is rated from 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Diamond is the hardest and is thus placed on number 10.
The hardness is usually determined on the basis of the stone’s ability to scratch and being scratched by another stone. Mohs scale of relative mineral hardness makes it easier to understand the hardness on a comparative basis.
Stones are usually bifurcated into three grades, namely 1, 2, and 3. 1 indicates premium quality, followed by 2 and 3. The grading system varies from retailer to retailer, and hence it becomes essential to understand the mechanism adopted. It is vital to comprehend the logic behind the grades assigned.
A retailer gives grades after considering various parameters like size, shape, and thickness. A grade is indicative of the stone quality and also helps in a comparative analysis.
Static Coefficient of Friction
The static coefficient of friction (SCOF) indicates how slippery a tile is. Placing slippery tiles in wet areas can lead to accidents. Thus the static coefficient helps in determining what tile will be suitable in and around the wet areas. A minimum score of 0.5 is recommended for obtaining a slip-resistant tile.
Texturing a tile can result in an improvement in the natural SCOF score. The SCOF shall be checked when the tile is wet and not dry. You can place a tile with a higher coefficient comfortably around pools and bathrooms.
A strength test assesses the fitness of stone for a specific application. It is used to determine a stone’s resilience to crushing and bending. Strong tiles give more durability. Strength takes into consideration both compressive as well as flexural.
A compressive test determines the toughness of a tile subject to compression. On the other hand, flexural tests are a determinant of the bending strength. The strength indicators thus depict the sustainability of the tile.
Resistance to abrasion represents the surface ability of the limestone tiles to resist wear and tear caused by rubbing or friction. A tile with lower abrasion resistance is subject to changes in its anti-skid attributes owing to the friction caused by the small pieces of sand, stone, and other particles stuck to human footwear.
Evaluating the abrasion resistance is essential for anticipating the effect of traffic on the surface of the tile.
Durability is influenced by the inherent strength, existence of pores, and absorption rate of the tile. It is usually determined in Australia by evaluating the resistance to a salt attack. This test includes soaking the specimen into a salt solution, followed by drying in the oven.
Upon completing soaking and drying, the matter lost is weighed and noted as a proportion of the initial weight. Tiles with higher durability are prone to wear and tear during the ordinary course.
The quality of limestone tiles can thus be gauged through the parameters mentioned above. Good quality tiles not only give an elegant appearance but also are long-lasting and easy to maintain.