Limestone vs Marble: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

In this article, we’ll contrast Limestone and Marble.

Although they’re some of the most famous stones, adding value to many homes, they are very different.

We can evaluate whether one is the superior all-around decision by studying their numerous attributes.

Let’s take a look at Limestone and Marble, the similarities and differences, and how to tell them apart.

Limestone vs Marble: The Facts

What is Limestone?

Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in calcite and aragonite.

It may also contain substantial levels of MgCO3 as too minor minerals such as Feldspar Quartz and clay.

The majority of Limestone’s texture has a coarse feel.

Their actual grain size varies from as tiny as a 100th of a millimeter to noticeable grains.

Small bits of prehistoric creature crusts are often found among the grains.

Limestone is a calcium oxide source used in steel manufacture, mining, paper production, water purification, and product plastic production.

Lime is also widely utilized in the manufacture of glass and agriculture.

Two processes form limestone: (1) biogenic condensation from saltwater, with organisms that secrete lime and foraminifera as the main mechanisms; and (2) mechanical movement and deposition of preceding limestones, which results in clastic deposits.

Separate, chalk, and travertine are all examples of limestone.

What is Marble?

Marble is a stone that is mostly made up of carbonate minerals that get back their crystal form.

These include calcite and dolomite, or in other words, it is a rock that’s metamorphic.

Marble is rarely foliated, except for a handful of situations.

Geologists note that marble pertains to Limestone that has been metamorphosed; however, in stonemasonry, it may also pertain to limestone that is not metamorphosed.

In terms of weight, marble is quite substantial, even more than granite.

At 6.67 pounds per square foot, a slab of marble measuring 30 sq ft weighs roughly 200 pounds.

Varieties of Marble

Marble is available in a variety of colors and qualities, such as the amount of veining and so forth.

In total, you’ll find five basic varieties of marble utilized or valued around the globe.

The five types are Crema Marfil, Emperador, Calacatta, Statuary, and Carrara.

Similarities Between Marble and Limestone

Marble and Limestone have way more differences than they do similarities.

However, here are a few similarities.

They both have Calcium Carbonate in them.

Both are utilized in construction and are available in a variety of colors.

Marble is employed in sculptures and house interiors, whereas limestone is employed as a raw material in various items and the vicinity of fireplaces and walls.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, while marble is a metamorphic rock.

Both rocks have negative reactions to acid.

Differences Between Limestone and Marble

The primary difference between limestone and marble is that limestone is a sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcium carbonate fossils.

In contrast, marble is a metamorphic rock composed primarily of calcium carbonate fossils.

Shells, sand, and muck descend to the bottom of oceans and lakes, where they solidify into limestone over time.

Natural rock formation processes heat and crushes sedimentary limestone grains, forcing them to recompressed become marble.

When you look closely at a a piece material you suspect to be limestone, you may be able to see fossil fragments bound together by a calcite matrix, such as bits of shell.

Limestone is more porous than marble due to small crevices between the fossil fragments.

Marble comprises calcite crystals bonded together like jigsaw puzzle pieces and are typically light in color.

Non-calcite mineral inclusions may appear as colorful streaks in marble.

Limestone and marble both have advantages for homeowners looking for alternate finishes for their walls, floors, and other surfaces.

Though both stones are formulated from calcium carbonate, their look, content, and use are vastly different.

Both Limestone and Marble are millions of years old. However, Limestone is the younger sibling of marble.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed by the solidification of shells, sand, and fossils over millions of years.

When limestone is subjected to extreme heat and pressure underneath the earth’s surface, it can metamorphose into marble, a metamorphic stone.

This process is similar to that of Calcite and Aragonite as the latter becomes Calcite when faced with certain natural conditions and extreme heat.

The heated rock recrystallizes as it is exposed to natural heat and pressure, becoming tougher and gaining density as time goes by.

Mineral deposits provide marble with its unique veining and roughness, as well as adding color.

Limestone and Marble Aesthetics

Limestone and Marble can be readily identified with the naked eye, even though they are of identical origins and composition.

Limestone often comes in earth tones like gray, tan, or brown and has fossil and shell impressions.

From white to black, marble is available in multiple colors, from earth tones to green, blue, red, and pink.

All the mossbacks in the rock are recrystallized and are no longer visible, while minerals may cause veining and color streaks in the marble.

Limestone and Marble Density and Hardness

Granite is at the other extreme of the hardness scale as marble and limestone.

Even though marble is a bit more dense and harder than limestone, both are extremely soft on the Mohs scale, which measures stone hardness.

Marble is between a three and a four on the scale, while limestone is somewhere in the middle.

On the scale, soft stones like talc are approximately a 1, whereas granite is between an eight and a 9, and diamonds are a 10.

Marble is slightly more compact and less porous than limestone, and it is slightly less prone to discoloration, thanks to the heat and pressure it is exposed to beneath the earth’s surface.

Application of Marble and Limestone

Although marble and limestone are available in the same slabs, panels, and tiles as granite, these materials are not suitable for the same uses.

Because of the risk of discoloration and scratches, the National Kitchen and Bath Association advises against using limestone in the kitchen or bath.

The Association also advises against using marble in the kitchen unless carefully sharpened and sealed to prevent stains and damage.

Marble is a popular choice for bathroom floors and walls, as well as fireplace mantle and furniture like tabletops.

Limestone looks great as a wall panel, on the floor or walls of the foyer and around the fireplace.

Acid is to be Avoided

Aside from their common ancestors, for Limestone vs Marble, they have another thing in common: they are both extremely prone to harm when exposed to acidic elements.

For homeowners, this means that even a spilled glass of lemonade or a drop of vinegar on the stone’s surface might leave persistent dull scars.

Only a skilled resurfacing and rehoning of the stone can eliminate the acid etching.

Limestone and Marble Cost

When it comes to Limestone vs Marble, the cost of both stones varies greatly depending on the stone’s color, source, and treatment.

While limestone is less expensive than other forms of stone since it is so commonly available and easy to work with, highly polished limestone or unusual colors can easily cost more than some varieties of marble, according to Coldspring USA.

Overall, both Limestone and Marble serve great purposes, but when it comes to a material that is tough and durable, Marble outshines Limestones.