A Diamond In The Rough: Irish Limestone 
Fortunately, Irish Limestone supply and demand is not like that with diamonds. And it is not controlled by DeBeers with virtual monopoly. It is not found often in residential or commercial flooring applications in the United States, at least not in the New York Metro Region from my experience. The reason is most probably due to the fact that the architects, designers, kitchen and bath people, fabricators, retail stone and tile shops (from Dal Tile and Walker Zanger to Paris Ceramics and other smaller shops), contractors, and homeowners; just do not know that much about this beautiful stone. Myself and others have had their eyes on this stone for a long time now.

Why? because this stone is naturally beautiful, will fit into modern or contemporary design today, feels great on the human skin (Ask the Barefoot Contessa), and maintains and restores very well.

Irish Limestone is a natural material of unique beauty, inherent durability and versatility. It is unlike softer limestone and has a similar density to quality granites. It can b used for flooring, countertops, fireplace mantles and surrounds, as well as in architectural applications in lintels, cladding, monuments, landscape paving stones and outdoor sculptures. Irish Limestone is extremely hard and durable, having been formed more than 325 million years ago as the floor of a coastal sea. The deep water transformed sediments into tough, fine-grained grey-blue limestone with calcite veins and crystalline fossils. The colors are identified as Irish Blue, Grey, and Fossil Limestone, since they range from black to blue to grey and often display well-defined fossils of sea shells, corals and prehistoric sea plants. The fossils and the inclusions of calcite introduce dramatic white or grey markings into the darker matrix of the stone.

HartzStone and some other stone restorations companies have tested this stone on samples and on the job sites. We found that this stone is not difficult to clean or restore. Unlike some of the more porous limestone, Irish Limestone is a dense form of dolomitic material that resists staining. Any etching caused by exposure to acidic liquids is superficial and may be cleaned easily or "buffed out." It is relatively easy to re-condition, restore, and maintain this stone. In fact, as the stone ages or cures, a patina develops to reduce the appearance of many etch spots normally encountered by using limestone.

You can choose to keep the weathered and patina look or have it cleaned and conditioned and sealed more regularly, thus giving it a different look. Testing with various sealers such as Dry Treat, AquaMix, Fila, Miracle, StoneTech, Bellenzoni, Tenax, and other major brand sealers have shown to varying degrees an effective treatment to slow the aging process without altering the stone's beautiful appearance. As Mom would say, stunning. Consumer Reports writes that limestone in general offers the best "stone look without heavy veining." Combined with its neutral color palette, warm honed finish and numerous fossil inclusions, this natural character has long been a popular choice for flooring and countertops in Europe. A fine stone care company in your area can understand and service this stone well for you. All you have to do is explain your situation/lifestyle and discuss the finish and maintenance level you desire. The stone is a joy to work with. So call your architect, your stone source, and your area stone care company. They can help you decide and take care of the stone.

For more information regarding this stone or supply and fabrication details, please contact the source at Irish Natural Stone, Inc., 21 Drydock Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts.

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