Limestone in Modern Construction and Renovations: How Important is it for Contractors?
- Caroline S. Logan
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The origins of limestone use go back by thousands of years to a time when Mayans and Egyptians were using it in their own ancient, but incredible architecture. Until now, limestone continues to be an extremely important raw material that is used nearly everywhere. From roads, embankments and runways, to strengthening of foundations for a new construction, the use of limestone is extensive across multiple areas of modern construction.
The Most Important Use of Limestone: Soil Stabilization
Any soil base that has been reinforced with lime stabilization will always be more resistant to erosion. After the limestone stabilization process is complete, the soil at the site becomes capable of handling heavy construction vehicles on it, in addition to being resistive against soil plasticity and swelling for decades. In fact, if the limestone quarry is capable of supplying appropriately graded, high-quality aggregates, they are regularly being used for restoring shorelines as well.
Hydrated Lime Acts as a Strengthening Agent for Asphalt Constructions
Hydrated limestone additives are so beneficial in making asphalt a much better, stronger material for construction, that its use with asphalt is fast becoming a standard. Going through the following provides us with a better idea regarding what to expect:
- It intensifies the binder’s strength for packing in the aggregates closer and tighter together
- The harder, stronger asphalt as a result of the above process lasts a lot longer than asphalt that hasn’t been lime-treated
- Stripping, pavement rutting, cracks and depressions (a result of heavy vehicle pressure) are minimal and take decades to show up
- Lime-reinforced asphalt constructions are much easier to repair
Use of Limestone in Portland Cement
Portland cement primarily has two materials in it – chalk and clay. But when we add limestone as a hot mix material, the results are not dissimilar to what we just discussed about asphalt. The cement mix becomes stronger, more durable, doesn’t crack so easily, and actually adds aesthetic value as well.
Limestone in Interior and Exterior Décor
Limestone is a beautiful, porous and resistive natural stone to work with in décor. The slabs, tiles and bricks are used for creating beautiful floors, constructing decorative structures, as well as for covering up external walls to provide long term protection against the abrasive effects of rain, heat and snow.
Although limestone is white or off-white in color naturally, that is not a limitation. Limestone blocks are also found in almost any color you may need them in, with red, gold yellow, cream and pink being the most popular choices. Black limestone can look absolutely gorgeous, but only if the surrounding décor can complement it properly.
The demand for limestone in its various forms reached 2 million tons last year, and contractors continued to be the biggest consumers for the products. Therefore, lime is not just an important material for construction that contractors often find useful, but it’s an essential raw material that every contractor needs reliable access to.